New law on homeowners associations is in effect

New law on homeowners associations is in effect

A new law regulating homeowners associations became effective last May when Governor Henry McMaster signed it.

A key provision of that law takes effect January 10.  It requires HOA’s to record with the county Register of Deeds office all bylaws, declarations, or master deeds, or any amendments to them.

Here is a quick run down of what else the law does:

  • Rules and regulations are enforceable as soon as they are passed but must be available to the association members through dissemination or posting in a manner defined in the bill (conspicuous place or online). In order to keep enforcing any new rules, they must be recorded with the county Register of Deeds on or before January 10 of the following year.
  • If the HOA is not incorporated under S.C. Nonprofit Corporation Act, the HOA must provide 2-days notice of a proposed action to increase the budget.
  • The Magistrates Court now has jurisdiction over HOA monetary disputes.
  • Requires the Department of Consumer Affairs to collect certain information from citizens who call about HOAs and to furnish the General Assembly a report of that information annually. Consumer Affairs has no other authority over HOAs.
  • Requires the owner who is selling property to disclose if it is a part of an HOA.

If members have any questions about this legislation and how it might affect an HOA that you manage, your question can be submitted to the Gallivan White & Boyd Legal Hotline.

Homeowner’s associations are viewed unfavorably according to a national poll

In a national poll conducted in July by Paul Fallon of Fallon Research, there are as many U.S. voters who view homeowners associations unfavorably (41 percent) as favorably (41 percent).

They are most favorably viewed by groups such as Republicans (44% favorable); voters in the western U.S. (47%); men (48%); 18 to 29 year-olds (50%) and senior citizens (44%), as well as those in higher income strata. In contrast, they are most unfavorably viewed by groups such as political independents (49% unfavorable); voters in the central U.S. and Great Lakes region (47%); 30 to 49
year-olds (49%); and Tea Party sympathizers and supporters (49%), who, by their nature, may be wary of any types of quasi-governmental entities.

Despite a deep cleavage that exists between favorable and unfavorable views American voters have
of homeowners’ associations, there seems to be a considerably more uniform set of impressions
about their deliberations and decision making. Overall, only 8% of voters say that they have a lot of confidence in homeowners’ associations to make good decisions and reasonable policies. Curiously, even among voters that have very favorable views of homeowners’ associations, just 32% said that they have a lot of confidence, and for those with merely somewhat favorable views, only 8% have a lot of confidence. This indicates that the credibility of homeowners’ associations is greatly limited, so having them as allies to tout the wisdom or virtues of proposed policies or initiatives may hurt a cause more than it helps.

While the collective views and preferences of homeowners’ associations should not be overlooked – because policy makers and elected officials won’t – and securing their endorsements can counterbalance highly-localized opposition, they will do little to persuade broader electorates, such as those in city or countywide policy debates or elections. It appears that much like affable elected officials with low approval ratings, homeowners’ associations may be liked more than they are trusted.

Paul Fallon is a public opinion researcher, political pollster and advisor for campaigns, levy committees, local government agencies, transit organizations, school districts, interest groups, home building and REALTOR® trade associations and public and private utilities. He specializes in land-use policy research, education and transit, as well public funding ballot issues and referendums. He has worked on issues and campaigns in more than 36 different states throughout the country, ranging from Florida to California.  The Home Builders Association of Greenville has been a client of Fallon Research.