How the New Condominium Manager Licensing Requirements Impact Your Community
New Condominium Manager Licensing Requirements
For more information, check out the recording from our recent webinar; Condominium Property Management: Know the Facts on New Licensing Requirements.
As a board member of your condominium corporation, you are probably aware that on December 1, 2021, the new licensing requirements for condominium managers came into effect. While this is an important change to the condominium management industry, what exactly does it mean for you as a board member and how will this impact your community?
While there is a lot to unpack with these new requirements, this mainly impacts those working in the condominium management industry, however, as a board you are working closely with condominium managers. Together you are working to make your community the best it can be, so it’s important you understand these requirements and the benefits they will bring you.
Getting to Know the New Requirement & Timeline
To put it simply, all condominium managers must now hold a license. To get that license, condominium managers must meet eligibility and educational standards and once received, they must maintain good standing. This is overseen by the Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) who now governs condominium management professionals.
The possibility of regulating the condominium management industry was being discussed as far back as the late 1990’s and a lot of work had been done over the years to get us to this point. However, everything really started to move ahead over the course of the last year.
In October 2021, the license application process was opened to all condominium management applicants and by December 1, those eligible received a conditional license. Over the next year, those license holders will work to remove those conditions through educational courses and obtain the necessary credits to challenge a series of provincial exams. Once successfully completed, condominium managers will hold their professional designation as of December 1, 2022.
Who is RECA?
RECA has been responsible for the regulation of the real estate industry in Alberta since 1996 and condominium management was added effective December 1, 2021. Committed to the public interest by promoting the integrity of the industry and protecting consumers, they are widely acknowledged as one of the leading real estate regulators in North America. With RECA now overseeing the licensing of all condominium managers, they hope to become a valuable resource to boards and unit owners for information regarding standards and practices as they pertain to condominium management licensing.
The Benefits of Condominium Management Licensing for Boards and Communities
The introduction of mandatory condominium management licensing has produced several benefits that fit into two distinct categories for board members and the communities they serve:
It raises the professionalism in the condominium management industry
It provides consumer protection
Let’s take a closer look at each of these benefits.
Licensing builds a structure and sets standards of practice that all condominium managers must meet. In order to receive their designation, condominium managers must now meet specific eligibility requirements as well as standards of education on legislation, bylaws, day to day operations, finances, and budgeting. Continued education means condominium managers will remain on top of important changes and trends within the industry.
While you as a board member make the decisions on behalf of your community, you are entering into a contract with a condominium management company and trusting them to act as your agent. These set standards for all condominium managers mean that you as a board member can instill confidence that you’ve put the management of your community into very capable hands.
As a board member, unit owner or tenant, you are the consumer this licensing protects. With this requirement, RECA ensures all brokers and condominium managers are dutifully fulfilling the obligations in your agreements. RECA’s Trust Assurance & Practice Review Program will apply to condominium managers to improve trust accounting, record keeping and administrative procedures, with RECA regularly reviewing how brokerages manage finances.
Should a condominium board have concerns that their agreements are not being fulfilled, they can issue a complaint to RECA who will then conduct a review process. RECA is also responsible for investigating and prosecuting persons who are not licensed but are carrying out activity that requires a license. Unlicensed practice is taken very seriously, and significant penalties are imposed including large monetary fines.
How to Determine if your Condominium Manager is Licensed
There are a couple of ways to determine if your condominium manager is licensed. Of course, the easiest way is to ask. However, if you’re having trouble getting a straight answer, RECA has a licensee search tool available on the home page of their website. Through this tool you can search by person or brokerage to determine if they are licensed and in good standing. This is also a helpful tool if you are looking for a new condominium management company.
Should you find yourself locked into an agreement with a condominium manager that is not licensed, that agreement is no longer valid. With the license now being mandatory, if the condominium manager is not meeting that requirement and refusing to do so, they are no longer fulfilling that agreement and a complaint should be made with RECA.
How FirstService Residential Has Responded
While FirstService Residential has always been licensed through RECA as a broker, we are now also 100% compliant with the new licensing requirements and all our condominium managers currently hold their conditional license. We’ve always considered ongoing education important to our condominium managers continued success. We will support them as they work through the courses to have the conditions on their licenses removed over the next year. To do that, we have allowed a four-hour study timeslot each Friday from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. This study time is complemented by an additional hour-and-a-half of collaborative learning. While this study time means our managers are unavailable during this time, our customer care centre is on-call to answer any inquiries.
In-housing training is just one of the many ways we help take our communities from good to great, because we understand the relationship between training and exceptional service. To learn more about how we support our condominium managers download our guide.