By Jan Bergemann 
President, Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Published October 12, 2013


I really wonder why the State of Florida is still licensing community association managers. We see changes to the laws regulating CAMs [FS 468.431 - 438 -- Part VIII], but the enforcement of these rules by the DBPR is totally lacking.


Why is the State of Florida requiring CAMs to be licensed if working without a license isn't punished accordingly?


Not only has the DBPR decided to hide any complaints filed against community association managers from public view -- even the worst offenders have more or less a clean slate if you check the DBPR website -- the folks in charge decided as well to bring offenders in "compliance" instead of punishing them for violating the law.


Over the years many folks -- pretending to be licensed CAMs -- got caught red-handed, meaning not having a license at all or even having applied for one. For many years they claimed to be CAMs, worked as such and got paid a lot more than they ever deserved because the boards paying them just believed that these folks had a license as required. Admittedly, the board should have done due diligence and checked the license before employing this person.


Here is the latest -- plainly ridiculous -- case that made the folks from the DBPR Division of Professions (CAM Licensing) look like they are getting paid for not doing their job. And when called upon it I was told that complaints against non-licensed managers should be filed with law enforcement, not with the DBPR, since working without a license is a crime in Florida. The DBPR is just trying to bring everybody in "compliance" -- what obviously means that people who get caught working without a license are just being offered to get a license -- and everything is hunky-dory!


Here is the latest case that shows that CAM licensing is just a sad joke:

On September 24, 2012 suspicious homeowners of the Willoughby Golf Club in Stuart did some research and found that their General Manager Michelle Reilly worked without a license. An investigation by the DBPR showed her license expired in September of 2008 and she never bothered to renew her license. But the fact that she a had a license and let it lapse four years earlier shows that she was well aware that a license was required. With other words: She knowingly violated the laws!


If you read the INVESTIGATIVE REPORT it becomes obvious that REILLY worked in a position that required her to be licensed as a community association manager. Her "excuses" clearly didn't hold water. And as a response to the complaint she quickly renewed her license -- and the DBPR closed the case. I was told that the DBPR did send Reilly a "cease and desist" letter. I bet that really made her "regret" not renewing her license four years earlier? (Just kidding!)


But the biggest insult was mailed to the homeowners who bothered to file this complaint against their unlicensed CAM. In a LETTER dated August 8, 2013, the homeowners were informed by the DBPR that the case was closed because there was no finding of probable cause: "Please be advised the above-referenced case has been reviewed by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation and closed without a finding of probable cause to believe the above-named Subject violated the provisions of Chapter 468, Part VIll, Florida Statutes, and/or the rules promulgated pursuant thereto."


With other words: The fact that Michelle Reilly didn't have a valid CAM license at the date when the complaint was filed -- and that she didn't have a valid license for four years prior to that date -- didn't count for anything. What a joke!

It's supposedly a "crime" to work without a license, but the government agency regulating the profession of community association managers does absolutely nothing to make sure that people don't even get the idea of working without a license. They claim: Law enforcement should take care of that!

That leaves the question: Why are they getting paid? Just to collect the licensing fees and write form letters telling violators to please "don't violate the laws again?" Or tell complainants that their complaint was without merit and that the case was closed despite the fact that the person really didn't have a valid license at the date the complaint was filed?


As I said years ago: This agency should be renamed into DBPP (Department of Business and Professional PROTECTION) because instead of regulating the profession they actually protect its members and bring them in "compliance" when they clearly violate Florida laws. 


Maybe Florida shouldn't license this profession, because then consumers wouldn't rely on the fact that these professionals are having a license and must be knowledgeable. 


As you have seen in this case -- this is just a Fairy Tale consumers shouldn't rely upon. As long as this department is not taking their job seriously, owners should be aware that filing a complaint with the Division of Profession is just a total waste of time.


If you find a person working as a CAM without a license, go to your local law enforcement agency and file a criminal report. The licensing enforcement by the DBPR is just a joke!