To the South Carolina legislature: Give us a law to protect homeowners in developing communities.
Enact this fair and simple law that will protect thousands of homeowners in this state. It’s the right thing to do!
Petition by Jo Ann Koffman Mike Truland Judy Slade Co-founders - ChangeTheBoard.Org Indian Land, South Carolina
As homeowners in a community of older residents in Indian Land, South Carolina, we find it unnerving, even a little frightening, that this state has no laws to protect us from a developer’s negligence, mismanagement, and abuse.
As of August 1, 2014, our developer has completed and sold 85% of the total homes in our community to owners like ourselves.
We homeowners pay over $6 million a year in dues to our Homeowners Association, (HOA). Yet, for 8 years, we have had no say whatsoever in how our community is run or how our money has been spent. That’s because 100% of the control of our community is in the hands of the developer of our community.
Unfortunately, Our Community has Been Mismanaged
The Board of Directors of our HOA has consisted of a group of the developer's employees who set our annual budget and the dues we pay each month to our HOA. Owners have had ZERO input to the matter. Sadly, during that time, the developer, the developer-appointed Board of Directors, and the developer-controlled property manager have continuously botched our resources. Here are examples:
Mismatched deeds and plats
Late and erroneous budgets
Overcharges to some homeowners by tens of thousands of dollars over eight years
Environmental actions by the Army Corp of Engineers against our development
And in some cases, our Board bought their way out of their muddles with the money we homeowners paid in HOA dues.
As Homeowners, We Have Been at the Mercy of Our Developer
The HOA Board of Directors has consisted of five of the developer's employees. Extensive research of our HOA records and empirical evidence shows the indefensible results of the management style continuously used by the developer and the developer-controlled Board over the preceding eight years:
Refusal to interact in any way with owners
Refusal to allow owners to attend Board meetings
Failure to publish schedules and minutes of Board meetings
Refusal to accept mail regarding crucial HOA issues
Believe it or not, all this is currently legal in South Carolina.
Unlike 31 or more states, South Carolina has effectively NO laws regulating and protecting homeowners of detached homes from developer-controlled HOAs. And we now know the problems of negligence, mismanagement, and abuse are evident not only in our community, but in other communities in South Carolina.
That must change.
Proposed Solution: A Fair and Simple Law, Asking No More Than Laws That Currently Exist in 31 Other States
South Carolina must have a law to protect homeowners in developing communities—a short, simple law that gives elected homeowners a seat on the HOA Board of Directors in proportion to the owners’ financial investment in the community.
Such a law would then give homeowners the opportunity to perform the due diligence needed to wisely manage our HOA and competently fulfill the legal duties required by dedicated fiduciaries of a community.
Only then will homeowners be assured that their homes are safe and their finances wisely protected. So unlike 31 other states that currently have laws to protect their homeowners, in South Carolina a developer can mismanage a community, collect their profits, move on to their next project, and leave homeowners to clean up the mess. And until our proposed law is passed, it's all legal. Many of our homeowners cannot withstand a surge in our monthly dues. We must have the ability to look after ourselves. Click here to see the law.