The Community Associations Institute (CAI)
is an influential trade association
A trade association, also known as an industry trade group, business association or sector association, is an organization founded and funded by businesses that operate in a specific industry...
and special interest group
Advocacy groups use various forms of advocacy to influence public opinion and/or policy; they have played and continue to play an important part in the development of political and social systems...
, dominated by lawyers and property managers, that petitions for legislative beneficence for its members.
It is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia
Alexandria is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of 2009, the city had a total population of 139,966. Located along the Western bank of the Potomac River, Alexandria is approximately six miles south of downtown Washington, D.C.Like the rest of northern Virginia, as well as...
and has nearly 60 chapters in the United States.
Since CAI was founded in 1973, the people that build and service common interest developments (CIDs) have been a significant force in interest group politics in many states. According to Evan McKenzie, these people have been able to shape legislative and judicial
In law, case law is the set of reported judicial decisions of selected appellate courts and other courts of first instance which make new interpretations of the law and, therefore, can be cited as precedents in a process known as stare decisis...
policy making, prevent meaningful regulation of CID activity, and keep the discourse on such matters largely private.
In the absence of meaningful legislative regulation or oversight, the idea of residential private government took the shape advocated originally by developers through the Urban Land Institute
The Urban Land Institute, or ULI, is a non-profit research and education organization with offices in Washington, D.C., Hong Kong, and London...
and the Federal Housing Administration
The Federal Housing Administration is a United States government agency created as part of the National Housing Act of 1934. It insured loans made by banks and other private lenders for home building and home buying...
, and later by lawyers and property managers through CAI.
"One result," Professor McKenzie argues, "is the institutionalization of a heavy–handed managerial focus in CID governance."
CAI is responsible for the National Board of Certification for Community Association Managers (NBC-CAM) program that was established in 1995.
CAI has played a vital role in manager licensing laws in states around the country. Notably, Illinois developed a licensing law which was enacted in 2009.