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Subject: Who governs South Carolina HOA laws Does the state?
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JanieF
(South Carolina)

Posts:9


02/21/2008 11:41 AM  
I would like for someone to tell me what department in the state of SC handles, oversees HOA laws that are basic to all HOA's (not the HOA's covenents and restrictions) but the overall overseeing of HOAs. We were told that it is the Attorney General but cannot find anything to support this.
DonnaS
(Tennessee)

Posts:5671


02/21/2008 12:02 PM  

Janie,
Go to the S.C Code of Regulations and search many of the codes. I gave it a quick search and did not see a single H.O.A. listing but it will be within some other section.
Usually the Attorney General is strictly for enforcement when a legal matter gets as high up within the State for an enforcement issue.
RogerB
(Colorado)

Posts:4876


02/21/2008 1:27 PM  
Janie, I am not familiar with SC HOA laws but in general the state legislature developes and approves bills in the the House and Senate; if the Governor signs it becomes law. It is up to the HOA to become aware of the state laws related to HOAs. Your HOA attorney or Managing Agent can update you on these.

Meanwhile, if you are asking who enforces those laws that is seldom done by the state attorney general. It usually has to be done through the courts.
RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


02/21/2008 2:07 PM  
Janie,
Search SC or my name on the search feature on this site. I have posted what I found out about the oversight of HOA's and Condo's in SC.

SC has a Statute for Condo's. Called the Horizontal Property Act. Go to state site and search this Act.

As far as HOA's are concerned. You will find nothing you can hang your hat on. HOA and all gated communities are considered by the Attorney General to be self governing. You still can us corporation law but there is little assistance from the state. It is not near as progressive as, say, Florida.
But, looking at the big picture, this give the HOA's wide lattitude to set rules and regulations. That means tha each HOA is unique in the rules and how they are enforced. HOA's do have Master Deeds, covenants, by-laws, etc, but there is no cookie cutter forms. As in conndo's the Developer turns over the operations of the HOA when certain conditions are met. The original Documents were written and paid for by the developer and he sure didn't pay to have anything put in them that is going to hurt him. So, when the Hoa get the documents, they are already behind the curve and the growing pains starts to adapt the documents to the HOA.
What you have going for you is your documents and your ability to change your documents. You will find procedures in your covenants to do this, and since the HOA sevelopes over time your documents have to be changed to meet new challanges. Generally, any illegal acts or criminal acts are handles by the specific state criminal department. All civil problems goe to an appointed judge for adjudication. Just like a city or town does. Sometime the HOA may come under city or town laws. You have to know all this.
I pushed this subject all the way up to the Governors Office and back to the Attornet General. They will not give you a written explanation nor will they answer specific legal questions.

They tell you to get a lawyer, and it was the lawyers that wrote all the HOA documents. Go figure.

So make lemonade from lemons and lear to function as a small city or town. You are still a tax payer and local officials will listen to you, and if someone is doing a criminal deed they will prosecute. Think about the big picture and play the system like a harp, just as cities and towns do. The Hoa and Condo Board have a lot of power to uphold the law, they can fine, they can lien property, they can restrict usage of common areas and they can enforce the coveants, but the state will not do it for them.

That is why if you want to go to court, much better to do what is right and required and have someone sue you and go to court with your supporting documents. The HOa and condos really have all the power to make your life miserable if you don't want to pay your fees or damage the property amd us the house as a dope factory or jus to ignore the rules.
I would be double surprised to find you can not find all the enforcement power you need in your documents. It is normal that when you buy in a condo or HOA you automaticall give the association the right to lien your property. I know our condo does and also our Big Brother POA.

And Roger is right.
RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


02/21/2008 2:28 PM  
I would add that sometimes your problems are not with the state but with your BOd or CM. If they shirk their written responsibilities all suffer. Our condo is small (65 units), we have a private manager. The POA is large and has a Professional Accredited Manager. Our professional manager is top notch. Our manager is experienced, effective and has too much power by necessity because we have very few full time residents and the BOD has been historically absente pwners.

Good luck.
FrankT6
(South Carolina)

Posts:3


03/23/2012 7:15 AM  
My wife and I recently purchased a house in an HOA on its 3rd generation. We didn't hear anything or receive any of the HOA rules or regulations. Our first notice of life from the HOA was a notice that they forgot to send us our vouchers to pay our due's and were waiving the late fee but we needed to pay them. We send a nice note requesting the HOA rules and regulations and haven't heard back, its been 3 weeks.

How can I get the HOA rules and regulations from my HOA when they won't return my calls or acknowledge my existence other than to get money from me, which I have no idea what it goes towards!

Any advice on this would be great.

Regards,

Frank
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:4779


03/23/2012 9:20 AM  
The CC&R's are PUBLIC documents and Your responsibility to go to the courthouse to find a copy. They are in the records department there. Since they are PUBLIC documents they are considered accessible to everybody and nobody's responsibility to provide. The HOA doesn't have to provide you a copy. They can even charge you to give you a copy. Your in a HOA no matter if you want to recognize it or not. It's best to pay up...

Former HOA President
FrankT6
(South Carolina)

Posts:3


03/23/2012 9:49 AM  
Well that would have been splendid news for someone to have told us when we moved in. As first time homeowners and no previous knowledge of HOA rules and regs how were we supposed to know we had to trollop down to the courthouse and get them? A courteous response to our letter to inform us that we could receive them there would have been plenty enough information from our HOA but even that courtesy was denied.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:9001


03/23/2012 11:11 AM  
Frank,

Not being told about the Association is between you and the seller and/or the Realtors involved. Typically the title company should have told you about deed restrictions when they searched the title. It's even possible you were informed by some paper you signed at closing but no one told you verbally. Not being told is not an issue between you and the Association.

I'd suggest going back and checking your closing paperwork to see if it's in there. If not, then contact your Realtor and ask why you weren't informed.


As for paying the Assessments, Mellisa is correct, you need to pay them. Failure to pay could result in more hassle then you think. Worst case, they can lien your home and then foreclose on the lien. I'd recommend paying the assessments and then do your research.

Have you talked to your neighbors about the HOA?


I concur that the Association should have provided a response to your letter.
Your Association, like all other HOAs, are typically ran by volunteers who were elected to the board by the membership. As with all volunteer positions, the work produced is only as good as the capability, time availability and dedication of the individual who is willing to volunteer. Perhaps you could volunteer your time and correct some of these issues you are discovering.

Is your development still being built? If it is, it's possible that the Association is still under control of the builder (called the Declarant) and not the membership. If this is the case, things should become better when the membership becomes involved.

Tim

FrankT6
(South Carolina)

Posts:3


03/23/2012 11:27 AM  
I never said I wasn't going to pay the dues, in fact we did pay them promptly and paid for the year in advance.

The development is still under construction so you are probably correct about the builder still being in control. Since we are still fairly new to the development and got married soon after moving in we haven't had much time to really fraternize more than a few neighbors but I will take your advice and see what they say about the matter.

Thanks for the responses!
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:3990


03/23/2012 11:40 AM  
Frank

Welcome.

Did you buy a new home? I know both times I have in SC (Mount Pleasant and Lexington), I was given (signed for) a copy of the CC&R's, Bylaws, and Rules and Regulations when I signed a "lot reservation" and made a deposit.

Also where is SC?

Thanks

JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:3990


03/23/2012 2:02 PM  
Janie

SC has no specific regulations/laws for HOA's. Condo buildings yes, but not HOA's. They did try to implement some HOA Regulations but last time I knew of, it had died in a committee as of 03/2011.

Now that does not mean an HOA does not have its own CC&R's, Bylaws, Rules and Regulations. Our HOA has all 3 and they are filed with the State of SC.

What makes you ask the question?

Thanks




JohnB26


Posts:0


03/23/2012 3:16 PM  
SC has no 'HOA law' governing detacged homes

your document hierarchy:

+ CCRs ('run with the land') filed w/ registrar of deeds (your county)
+ SC not-for-profit corporate law
+ Articles of Incorporation (inc. to protect members from individual person liability)filed w/ secretary of state
+ (corporate) By-laws (may or may not be filed)
+ HOA/BOD rules and regulations (which can NOT conflict w/ any above listed document

CAVEAT EMPTOR
JanieF
(South Carolina)

Posts:9


04/19/2012 6:16 PM  
Thanks for all the replies @John the reason I asked and still do ask is that the HOA whenever it is questioned about anything says they can't do anything as it is against the SC law governing HOA. Such as sending a renter a letter to restrain his dog. In our CC&R it clearly states that dogs must be on a leash or restrained in the yard, yet a pitbull owned by renters is allowed to roam and terrorize the neighborhood. Animal control is no help as the dog goes home by the time they get here. I suggested the HOA tell the renter to keep the dog at home but they say they can't due to SC law governing HOAs.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:9001


04/19/2012 7:17 PM  
Posted By JanieF on 04/19/2012 6:16 PM
I suggested the HOA tell the renter to keep the dog at home but they say they can't due to SC law governing HOAs.




Janie,

If the renter breaks the covenants or rules, the board may take action against the owner (as the owner is responsible for the actions of their tenants/guests) and hope that the owner will bring the issue up with the tenant. Depending on your Associations fining structure, this may or may not influence the owner.

My Association will send violation letters to the owner but copy the renter. This way, the renter knows that the landlord is aware of the issue and it may help remedy the issue.


In general, the CC&Rs (deed restrictions) are considered a civil contract between all owners that the deed restrictions are attached. Associations are formed to maintain and/or operate the common area. Per the CC&Rs, the Association is also given the authority (in addition to the owners) to enforce the covenants, restrictions and conditions of the deed restrictions (contract). Typically, Associations are incorporated as nonprofit corporations as this provides them certain advantages. As a corporation they must comply with corporate laws in addition to any HOA/COA laws.

As you know there are civil laws and criminal laws. Criminal laws are usually enforced by the State. Civil laws are usually enforced by the individuals involved through the court system. Since contracts, hoa/coa laws and corporate laws are considered civil laws, there is typically limited governmental authorities to "oversee" or enforce those laws.

Sure the State corporation commission may fine you for not filing the annual report on time. The IRS will certainly go after the Association for failing to file taxes. The District Attorney will prosecute if criminal laws are broken (example embezzlement). However if the Association doesn't comply with the Bylaws or a civil law, it's up to the membership to hold the Board accountable. The easiest way would be to recall the board or not reelect them to the Board. The more expensive option is to go through the court system.

This is why it's imperative that the members remain active in the development and actually take an interest in how the Association is governed. If apathy sets in (and, unfortunately it does), it's that much more difficult to change things when issues are discovered.

Hope this helps,

Tim
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