Update from the Real Estate Council of Alberta
As of December 1, 2021, condominium managers will require a licence with the Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) to continue managing condominiums.
In October, individuals who wish to become licensed in condominium management can begin the licensing process. As condo managers and board members, you likely have questions: Who’s RECA? What is the difference between condo management and property management? What are the steps to getting licensed? How will the licensing of condominium managers impact condominium boards and owners? Read on for your answers!
RECA, Alberta’s real estate regulator
For condo managers, board members, and condo owners who have not encountered RECA before, we administer the Real Estate Act of Alberta as the governing body for Alberta’s residential real estate broker, commercial real estate broker, property manager, condominium manager, and mortgage broker licensees. RECA’s mandate is to:
- protect consumers
- provide services to facilitate the business of licensees
- protect against, investigate, detect, and suppress fraud as it relates to the business of licensees
As of December 1st, all individuals and companies that provide condominium management services in Alberta, whether they are already licensed with RECA in another capacity or not, must operate under the standards and criteria set to meet RECA’s mandate.
Condo management vs. property management
Under the Real Estate Act, condominium management is a separate activity and a separate industry from property management. Why? It’s all about relationships.
Condominium managers enter relationships with condominium boards and perform condominium management activities on behalf of their client boards. Condominium management is about helping the condominium corporation to manage itself. Whereas property managers enter relationships with landlords and renters, negotiating leases, holding rental security deposits, and performing leasing related activities for their landlord or renter clients. Property management is about the disposition or acquisition of an interest in real estate through some type of lease.
A condominium management brokerage licence is required to provide condominium manager services, and a real estate brokerage licence is required to provide property management services. If individuals and companies would like to practice both condominium management and property management, they must do so under separate brokerages. But don’t worry, that doesn’t mean two addresses or full sets of staff are needed. The same corporation can operate a condominium management brokerage and a real estate brokerage performing property management services. These brokerages MUST have their own licensed broker, but can otherwise share ownership, office space, and some administrative support staff.
License classes are based on levels of education and responsibility. There are three condominium manager licence classes: condominium manager broker, condominium manager associate broker, and condominium manager associate. These classes function similarly to corresponding real estate classes, where:
- a broker is the individual in charge of a brokerage. There can only be one broker per brokerage
- an associate broker is an individual who has all the qualifications to be a broker, but is not in charge of a brokerage. They must be registered with a brokerage in order to offer condominium manager services on behalf of that brokerage
- an associate is an individual who offers condominium manager services on behalf of a brokerage, and must be registered with that brokerage. There can be multiple associates and associate brokers registered to a brokerage.
Brokerages themselves must also be licensed.
Getting your licence
Licensing begins with an eligibility process prior to making a licensing application. RECA opened the eligibility process on August 3, 2021, and expects to start processing licence applications on October 12, 2021. This way the condominium management industry can complete their applications for licensing well before December 1.
Condominium manager brokerages and their brokers will have to be processed and approved for licensing before individual condominium manager associates and associate brokers can complete their licensing applications. RECA strongly recommends prospective brokers to start the process as soon as it opens to avoid delays.
Submitting your eligibility application
The first step to getting your Condominium Manager Licence is to submit an application for eligibility.
The eligibility criteria vary, depending on whether you currently hold a licence with RECA, how much experience you have in the condo management industry, and if you currently oversee a condo management company.
All eligibility applications are submitted through myRECA, RECA’s online licensing system. To begin the eligibility process, visit reca.ca and select Condominium Manager Licensing from the Licensees & Learners menu.
Obtaining a conditional licence OR completing pre-licensing education
Only those who meet the eligibility criteria AND have at least 75 days of experience providing condominium management services will be eligible to apply for a conditional licence beginning on October 12, 2021.
The licence is conditional on successfully completing the pre-licensing education exams for condominium management by November 30, 2022.
If you have less than 75 days of experience and your eligibility application is approved, you will need to successfully complete the pre-licensing education program for condominium management before you can apply for your licence.
There will be three condominium management courses provided by third-party course providers (not by RECA): Fundamentals of Condominium Management, Practice of Condominium Management, and the Condominium Manager Broker Program. The courses you have to take, or challenge the exams for, will depend on your current licence status with RECA, your experience, and whether or not you oversee a condominium manager firm.
Successful completion of the education requirement is a grade of at least 70% on each of the course exams.
RECA forecasts course providers offering pre-licensing courses for condominium management to open for registration by December 1, 2021. If your eligibility application is approved, you will receive an email from RECA when course registration is available. Learn more at reca.ca.
Firms applying to become licensed as condominium manager brokerages will have to pay a licence fee but will not be charged the application review fee. The brokerage license fee is $450.
Brokerages and individuals currently licensed by RECA who wish to terminate their existing licence and become licensed in condominium management will be allowed to do so at no extra cost on December 1, 2021.
For a new individual applying to become an associate or associate broker, the licence fee is $475.
We’re here to help
Whether you’re currently licensed with RECA or not, some may find navigating this process challenging. RECA has a number of resources available on reca.ca to help. Simply select Condo Manager Licensing under the Licensees & Learners menu for information, including step-by-step guides and tutorials.
If you have questions about the condo manager licensing process, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.