Students often ask, “Can I get a Florida community association manager (CAM) license if I have a criminal record?”  Students often want to ask their school or their instructor if the DBPR will approve them.  The only way to answer that is for the student (applicant) to submit the application and answer all questions truthfully, go through the process, and find out for him or herself.  The ultimate decision is made by the DBPR, after careful consideration of all information.  Therefore, there is no way that GCPS, staff or instructor can provide a definitive answer. While the answer to this is a little complicated, often a candidate with a criminal record is able to qualify for a CAM license.

The Florida CAM application, Section III – Background, on the CAM application, asks questions to determine “good moral character.” Included are questions asking if an applicant has ever been “convicted or found guilty of, or entered a plea of nolo contendere or guilty to, regardless of adjudication, a crime in any jurisdiction, or are you currently under criminal investigation? This question applies to any criminal violation of the laws of any municipality, county, state or nation, including felony, misdemeanor and traffic offenses (but not parking, speeding, inspection, or traffic signal violations), without regard to whether you were placed on probation, had adjudication withheld, were paroled, or pardoned.” Further, if an applicant believes his or her records has been sealed or expunged, (s)he must verify it was, in fact sealed or expunged, before (s)he answer “No.”

What does this include? A DUI, probably drinking under age, petty theft such as stealing those candy bars when you were 17, bouncing those checks after you lost your job, and any other misdemeanor or felony.

Similarly, Section III of the CAM application asks:

  • If an applicant has been a defendant in civil litigation in Florida or in any other state, province, district, territory, possession or nation alleging negligence, fraudulent or dishonest dealing, foreclosure, bankruptcy, or breach of fiduciary duty related to CAMs, or if any such case or investigation is pending
  • If an application for registration, certification, or licensure in Florida or in any other state, province, district, territory, possession or nation denied, or if a proceeding or investigation to deny such an application is pending
  • If any professional license, registration, certification or permit to practice any regulated profession, occupation, vocation, or business been revoked, annulled, suspended, relinquished, surrendered, or otherwise disciplined including probation, fine, or reprimand in a disciplinary proceeding in Florida or in any other state, province, district, territory, possession or nation, or if any such proceeding or investigation is pending

The DBPR forwards your application to the FBI and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), which investigates every answer you have responded. Therefore, it makes no sense whatsoever to lie on the application – you will be caught. Fess up and put down the truth. The DBPR staff will analyze the application, along with the fingerprint report (ie: criminal record), and will determine whether the applicant is eligible or not eligible for licensure.  If the DBPR finds that an applicant has lied about any of these items, the DBPR most likely will deny the application, and the applicant may not have the option to reapply.

Some additional information that may help you determine if you should apply to become a CAM: if you answer yes to any of the background questions, the DBPR will require that you provide information regarding the case, the disposition, penalty, etc. Specifically, if you have a criminal record, you must supply the DBPR with the following documentation:

  • For arrests, the police arrest affidavit or arrest report or similar document (need not be a certified true copy)
  • The charges (must be a certified true copy)
  • Plea, Judgment and sentence (must be a certified true copy)
  • Order of entry into pre-trial intervention, and, where applicable, the order of termination of pre-trial intervention showing dismissal of charges (all must be certified true copies)

If the only reason you do not meet the requirements of good moral character is because you committed a second-degree misdemeanor, The DBPR will consider you to have good moral character.  However, if there are other reasons why you did not meet the requirements, the DBPR will consider the second-degree misdemeanor along with other factors in determining your good moral character.

If you have committed a first-degree misdemeanor or a felony, and your civil rights have been restored, this alone shall not preclude a finding of good moral character unless the crime is directly related to the professional responsibilities of a CAM. Crimes that are deemed to be directly related to the profession of a CAM include, for example, fraud, theft, burglary, bribery, arson, dealing in stolen property forgery, uttering a forged instrument, sexual battery, lewd conduct, child or adult abuse, murder, manslaughter, assault, battery, and perjury.

Whether an applicant has exhibited a pattern of unlawful behavior that indicates the applicant has little regard for the law, the rules of society, or the rights of others are considered as part of good moral character.

The DBPR will consider all unlawful acts in determining whether an applicant has exhibited a pattern of unlawful behavior even though any one of the unlawful acts by itself might not be directly related to the professional responsibilities of a CAM.

It is an applicant’s repeated flaunting of or ignoring the law that evinces a lack of moral character needed to perform the duties and assume the responsibilities of a CAM, not the particular relationship of any one of the violations to the professional responsibilities of community association management.

The DBPR may disqualify an applicant from applying for a license by reason of F.S. 775.16, pertaining to the conviction of certain offenses involving controlled substances, as follows:

  • In addition to any other penalty provided by law, a person who has been convicted of sale of or trafficking in, or conspiracy to sell or traffic in, a controlled substance under chapter 893, if such offense is a felony, or who has been convicted of an offense under the laws of any state or country which, if committed in this state, would constitute the felony of selling or trafficking in, or conspiracy to sell or traffic in, a controlled substance under F.S 893 (Drug Prevention and Control), is:
  • Disqualified from applying for a license, permit, or certificate required by any agency of the state to practice, pursue, or engage in any occupation, trade, vocation, profession, or business, unless:
  • The person has completed all sentences of imprisonment or supervisory sanctions imposed by the court, by the Parole Commission, or by law;
  • The person has complied with the conditions of subparagraphs 1 and 2, which shall be monitored by the Department of Corrections while the person is under any supervisory sanction. If the person fails to comply with provisions of these subparagraphs by either failing to maintain treatment or by testing positive for drug use, the department shall notify the licensing, permitting, or certifying agency, which may refuse to reissue or reinstate such license, permit, or certification. The licensee, permittee, or certificate holder under supervision may:
    • Seek evaluation and enrollment in, and once enrolled maintain enrollment in until completion, a drug treatment and rehabilitation program which is approved or regulated by the Department of Children and Family Services, unless it is deemed by the program that the person does not have a substance abuse problem. The treatment and rehabilitation program may be specified by:
      • The court, in the case of court-ordered supervisory sanctions;
      • The Parole Commission, in the case of parole, control release, or conditional release; or
      • The Department of Corrections, in the case of imprisonment or any other supervision required by law.
    • Submit to periodic urine drug testing pursuant to procedures prescribed by the Department of Corrections. If the person is indigent, the costs shall be paid by the Department of Corrections; or
  • The person has successfully completed an appropriate program under the Correctional Education Program.

Written evidence that the DBPR will consider in determining the applicant’s good moral character (for an applicant convicted of a crime/unlawful conduct) shall include:

  • A statement from the applicant explaining the applicant’s criminal/unlawful conduct and the reason the applicant believes the DBPR should issue a license
  • Evidence as to the length of time since the conduct occurred or the age of the applicant at the time the conduct occurred
  • Evidence of successful rehabilitation
  • Recommendations from parole or probation employees who have supervised the applicant
  • Recommendations from the prosecuting attorney or sentencing judge
  • Character references from individual other than immediate family members, who have known the applicant for three years or longer
  • Police reports or transcripts which reveal the underlying facts of the crime
  • Evidence that the conduct was an isolated occurrence contrary to the applicant’s normal pattern of behavior
  • Evidence of community or civil activities with which the applicant has been associated

If the DBPR finds the applicant not to be of good moral character, the applicant can appeal by submitting additional information:

  • The applicant’s written explanation
  • The length of time since the conduct occurred and/or the applicant’s age when the conduct occurred
  • Evidence of successful rehabilitation
  • Recommendations from parole or probation employees who have supervised the applicant
  • Recommendations from the prosecuting attorney or sentencing judge
  • Character references from individuals, other than immediate family members, who have known the applicant for 3 years or longer
  • Evidence that the conduct was an isolated occurrence contrary to the applicant’s normal pattern of behavior.
  • Evidence of community or civil activities with which the applicant is associated

In conclusion, if the violations are relatively minor, there are few violations, and a significant passage of time has taken place since the last violation, the applicant will likely be approved to continue with the CAM licensure process. If the violations are more serious in nature, there are multiple, or recent violations, then the DBPR will most likely deny the applicant the opportunity to continue the application process.

Note: Effective October 1, 2009, Section 455.227(1)(t), Florida Statutes, requires that any licensee (including a CAM) must report to the RCCAM and/or DBPR within 30 days after a licensee is convicted or found guilty of, or entered a plea of nolo contendere (no contest) or guilty to, regardless of adjudication, a crime in any jurisdiction. If you previously reported a criminal conviction or plea to DBPR, you do not need to report it again.