Homeowner’s Associations and Their Powers
If you are a South Carolina homeowner, you and your home may be under the supervision of a homeowner’s association, or HOA. In such a situation, it’s critical to understand the purpose of an HOA, along with the powers that the organization can hold over homeowners and their property.
What is a Homeowner’s Association?
When you purchase a home in a planned development, the subdivision will often be controlled by a homeowner’s association, which is an organization that creates and enforces rules for the properties and property owners within the subdivision. If you purchase a property located within the control of an HOA, you will automatically become a member of the homeowner’s association upon the purchase of your home.
Homeowner’s associations usually collect fees, or “dues,” from homeowners either monthly or annually. HOA fees are often used to pay for services like pest control, maintenance and upkeep for amenities such as swimming pools and tennis courts, and landscaping for the development’s common areas. These dues are not optional, and failure to pay the dues can lead to severe penalties.
The Power of a South Carolina Homeowner’s Association
While an HOA may sound like nothing more than an organization that keeps the grass cut in a subdivision, homeowner’s associations in South Carolina actually have a great deal of power. The authority of an HOA is laid out in a set of rules called bylaws, which govern the homeowner’s association and its members. It is extremely important to obtain a copy of your association’s bylaws, as this document controls the operation of the HOA, and dictate matters such as:
- How often the homeowner’s association holds meetings;
- What officers of the board of directors can and cannot do; and
- How members can vote for new board members.
The power of an HOA does not stop at collecting dues from homeowners—if the association has implemented Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs), the association is also able to control what you can and cannot do with your property. CC&Rs can control aspects of your home such as:
- What color you may paint your home;
- What fence you can put up around your home;
- How many pets you are allowed to have in the property, along with what breeds;
- How many cars are allowed to park in front of your home; and
- What buildings you may build on your property.
Failure to abide by the rules of the homeowner’s association can lead to costly consequences such as fines or an inability to use amenities such as the association’s pool. In some cases, an HOA may even place a lien on your property, which can impact your ability to sell the property at a later date.
Facing Pushback from an HOA? We Can Help
If you are experiencing issues with a homeowner’s association in South Carolina, the real estate attorneys at the Boger Law Firm are dedicated to making sure that you aren’t taken advantage of by your HOA. To schedule a consultation to speak with a member of our legal team, fill out an online contact form or call (803) 252-2880 today.