State Senator Greg Hembree will try again at bill to regulate HOAs

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW)- In September of 2015, the General Assembly established a 13 person committee to review laws, policies, practices and procedures regarding homeowners associations in the state.

Specifically, the committee looked into issues like education for homeowners and board members, time period for developer control of an association and need for a comprehensive uniform planned community act.

This comes after several bills to regulate HOAs were filed in Columbia and never made any progress. That included one by Senator Greg Hembree of North Myrtle Beach. He says now that some of the bigger issues are out-of-the-way, it may be a good time to take another look at Homeowners Associations.

“We’ve gotten some of the big rocks out-of-the-way. I think it gives us space and time to swing back around over this next two years and work on this HOA issue again. Hopefully make some progress. There are a lot of good ideas out there and a lot of work done and some really good ideas and some bills in really good shape that need to be thoroughly vetted and I think hopefully we’ll have some time to do that next year,” Hembree said.

Hembree says over the years, he’s received hundreds of calls for various disputes and current law doesn’t allow homeowners a lot of options to take action.

“Currently the only option is to go to Circuit Court. It’s expensive. It’s time-consuming and it’s unnecessary. So we were going to grant the Magistrate’s Court jurisdiction because those are sort of the people’s courts,” Hembree said.

Wallace Wetter lives in the Hidden Woods HOA. He previously served on the board and agrees with legislation that would provide more regulations among HOAs and its board members.

“We should have things across the board to be fair and right to all the people and HOAs need to have some authority to get things done but not go overboard. And not to manipulate those rules to their interpretation. They need to be defined,” Wetter said.

One of the points of contention in previously filed bill was the need for board members to have some sort of education or licensing.

“You can’t get people to serve on a homeowner’s board anyway and if you make it mandatory then you’re going to run off the few that were willing to do it before. So we made it permissive and just basics.,” Hembree said.

Hembree told News13 he plans to pre-file his bill again in December and hopes it can now make progress.

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