HB 13-1277, requiring HOA property managers (PMs) to be licensed by July 1, 2015 has fell victim to special interests. As implemented, the law has turned into more of a fees collection, license testing and issuance business, and a promotional tool to sell educational courses than addressing abusive industry practices and providing consumer protection. The law fails to explicitly require any PM to follow State HOA laws and the governing documents of the HOA managed. It doesn’t require a PM who observes unlawful practices to pursue corrective action. Licensing was intended to address abusive and unjustified fees charged by PMs through “full disclosure”. DORA has defined as acceptable “full disclosure” to be a one line statement on home closing documents or a one liner buried in an HOA contract. PMs will not be required to explain or justify fees or to issue a billing statement detailing charges. Home owners, however, will continue to be required to pay fees no questions asked. A further failing of this law is the resulting financial burden on the smallest of HOA PMs that has already resulted in business owners deciding to quit the business leaving such services unavailable to many smaller and rural HOAs. As written and implemented, licensing will change little it was intended to correct and continue that which special interests did not want changed.
Footnote: even before the licensing law was fully implemented the Community Association Institute (CAI), whose members are the impetus for licensing, had private meetings with leadership in DORA and with legislators to craft a Bill to revise the licensing requirements. Not one thing in this proposed Bill addresses the deficiencies in ethics and rules, operating standards, disclosure of fees, or helping small HOA managers. It does include special exclusions for property manager licensing in some supervisory and executive positions (the very folks at the epicenter of industry abuse will now be immune from even the little accountability in the licensing law).