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Code of Ethics

Community Association Institute’s Professional Code of Ethics, which states that each manager in the company shall:

Comply with all standards established by CAI and the state(s) in which the manager practices;

Disclose in writing to the client any actual, potential or perceived conflict of interest;

Participate in continuing professional education;

Not provide inaccurate or misleading information to a prospective or current client;

Refuse any compensation from parties who act or may act on behalf of the client;

See that the client’s funds are held in separate accounts, are not misappropriated, and are returned to the client at the end of the manager’s engagement; and

Recognize that all records, files, and books are the property of the client

Oregon Washington Community Association Managers Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice

STATEMENT OF PURPOSE. Oregon Washington Community Association Managers (OWCAM) is an organization comprised of Manager Members (companies and individuals) that provide professional management services and Affiliate Members that provide legal, accounting, maintenance and other services to community associations in the states of Oregon and Washington.

OWCAM fosters a professional standard of service to clients, continuing education for members, public confidence in the honesty, professionalism and ability of its members to serve community associations, and a review and disciplinary process for members that do not meet the high professional standards prescribed by the organization.

OWCAM encourages Manager Members to recommend to their clients the use of service providers that support

OWCAM’s Code of Ethics & Standards of Practice reflecting positively on their business judgment and integrity.

Manager Members 

Community associations that use services of OWCAM Manager Members may expect professional and ethical services. However, management companies and managers are subject to the actions and decisions of the board of directors, and therefore do not have “full authority” to conduct their clients’ business causing some standards to vary in each community. OWCAM Manager Member Companies and Individuals subscribe to the following Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice:

1. PERSONNEL SUPERVISION Supervise personnel engaged in performing client business.

2. PERSONNEL TRAINING Provide professional education and training.

3. PROFESSIONAL COMPETENCY Accept only those engagements which can be performed with professional competence.

4. DEFINE SERVICES Clearly define services and pricing information to clients, principally via the management contract.

5. LAW & PRACTICE: The Manager Member shall:

Not engage in the unlicensed practice of law but advise clients when prudent to retain legal counsel.

Make reasonable efforts to be informed about community association laws. Recommend, when appropriate, review of contracts, association rules, enforcement procedures, policies, association documents, building investigations and services by appropriate professionals.

Appropriately utilize the client’s governing documents in the administration of association business.

Recommend that a client utilize written rules and enforcement policies that are consistent with federal, state and local laws, the association’s governing documents and common practice. Recommend that policies be distributed to the membership prior to implementation.

6. CLIENT PRIVACY Maintain privacy of client records, including not sharing membership lists without permission of the board or its designated representative(s).

7. CLIENT FUNDS Maintain and supervise client funds in separate bank and investment accounts in the name of each client. Provide timely financial reports to the board with a frequency directed by the board and/or the management contract. Financial reports are to contain information on bank accounts, reserve funds, income and expenses. Recommend to the board the use of periodic financial review or audit of association financial records by a Certified Public Accountant.

8. BUDGETING Provide guidance and assistance to clients in developing operating and reserve budgets that meet the terms and conditions of the association documents and state statutes. Encourage the association to develop, fund and review annually a maintenance and capital reserve plan that meets the future needs of the organization.

9. RESERVE INVESTMENTS Encourage the board to establish a policy relating to the investment of reserve funds, including the use of professional investment guidance, and use institutions and instruments that provide for a reasonable level of security.

10. PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE Encourage the board to adopt a preventive maintenance program that helps to preserve property values.

11. FIDUCIARY DUTIES Exercise fiduciary responsibilities to clients through good business judgment, confidentiality, honest and fair dealings plus disclosure of potential conflict of interest. Do not accept referral fees, commissions and economic gains that may constitute a conflict of interest.

12. COMMUNICATION PROGRAM Recommend to the board a quality communications program.

13. POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS Encourage the board to adopt policies for managing rules, maintenance, and other service activities of the association.

14. COLLECTION POLICY Recommend to the board a collection policy that is consistent with the governing documents, local, state and federal laws, and common practice.

15. PROFESSIONAL ASSISTANCE Clarify to the board that the Manager Member does not provide certain types of professional assistance, such as legal, accounting, engineering, architectural, insurance analysis and other areas where the member does not have proper certification and abilities. It is appropriate for the member to share professional management experience that may be helpful to the board.

16. EDUCATION Encourage the board to seek continuing education in community association management and practices.

17. SPECIFICATIONS & BID PROPOSALS Provide guidance to clients in setting standards and procedures for developing specifications and bids. Recommend using professional consultants where appropriate.

18. INSURANCE Recommend that the board become familiar with the insurance requirements as outlined in their association documents and to periodically review the association’s insurance needs with the insurance agent.

19. RECORD KEEPING Maintain the association’s records of business activities and actions. Provide reasonable access to clients for reviewing association records. Promptly transfer association records toits designated agent upon termination of the management contract.

20. PROFESSIONAL COURTESY Extend professional courtesy to clients and the association or other community association managers and representatives. Refrain from making derogatory comments about others. Encourage fair practices among all who are engaged in community management.

21. DECEPTIVE MARKETING Refrain from making false or misleading statements in the marketing of services.

Affiliate Members

OWCAM Affiliate Members subscribe to the following Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice:

PERSONNEL SUPERVISION. Supervise personnel in the performance of their duties.

SERVICE & MATERIALS. Provide quality services and materials to clients.

TRAINING & EDUCATION. Provide employee training and education.

PROFESSIONAL COMPETENCY. Demonstrate professional competency by accepting only those engagements that the organization can reasonably expect to perform with competence.

DEFINE SERVICES. Clearly define to clients by written agreement or contract costs, services and materials.

COMMUNICATIONS. Maintain good client communications.

FIDUCIARY DUTY. Exercise fiduciary responsibilities to clients by exercising good business judgment, confidentiality, honest and fair dealings plus disclosure of potential conflict of interest. Do not accept or give commissions, fees or gratuities to others in the course of business and disclose to client financial arrangements that benefit third parties where it may be harmful to the client. Refrain from making false or misleading statements in the conduct of business.

PROFESSIONAL COURTESY. Extend professional courtesy to clients and other members in similar businesses, recognizing the need to preserve and encourage fair and equitable practices and competition with other OWCAM members and their clients.

Enforcement & Sanctions for Non-Compliance

OWCAM members are subject to sanctions for violations of the Code of Ethics as follows:

Upon receipt of a written complaint by the OWCAM Board from either a community association board or an OWCAM member describing non-compliance by a member, the so accused member shall review the complaint and respond in writing to the OWCAM Board or its designated committee within 20 business days. Complaints and requests are to be by the association board of directors (contracting party) and not individual owners.

The OWCAM Board of Directors, or its designated committee, will review the complaint and the member’s response to determine whether the matter merits a hearing with potential sanctions by OWCAM.

If the OWCAM Board determines that a hearing is merited, it shall be scheduled within 20 business days. Both complainant and member have the right to be present at a closed hearing. The Board or its designated committee shall make a ruling on the matter, including any sanctions that may be applied. Deliberation of the matter and a decision may
or may not occur during the hearing, with the opportunity for further review. OWCAM reserves the right to meet in private with one or more of the parties.

When an OWCAM committee serves as the hearing body, either party may appeal the decision to the OWCAM Board of Directors, whereby the Board will hold an appeal hearing to reconsider the matter within 20 business days from the date on which the request is received. Upon reconsideration, the Board may support or reject the original ruling including the application of sanctions, if any.

In the event the complainant or member disagrees with the appeal decision, the matter may be submitted to professional binding arbitration mutually acceptable to both parties. The arbitrator’s decision is final. Payment of arbitration costs are to be shared by the parties or as recommended by the arbitrator.

Disciplinary action may be applied in one or more of the following areas, with the OWCAM Board having the discretion to apply other types of sanctions as appropriate to the given situation:

  • Censure.
  • Temporary suspension of voting rights.
  • Temporary removal of member from the board or a committee.
  • Suspension of membership temporarily or permanently.