Senator Hembree pre-files bill to regulate SC Homeowners Associations

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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – South Carolina Senator, Greg Hembree, pre-filed a bill to require more regulation of Homeowners Associations in the state.

Hembree said he’s received complaints about a lack of education for HOA board members as well as huge fees to take HOA disputes to court.

“Homeowners Associations are virtually unregulated in South Carolina,” said Hembree. “All over the country there are as many ideas about how to regulate these things as there are states.”

Hembree said the bill hopes to address the major complaints he hears about HOA’s.

The first is a lack of education.

“The people on the boards sometimes just don’t know anything about what they’re doing,” said Hembree.”They’re volunteers. They’re well-meaning but they just don’t know what’s involved with being on the board of an HOA.”

The bill would make the Real Estate Commission develop a free, online, four-hour course designed to be a “Homeowners Association 101” training course.

Hembree said another issue people discussed was not getting a copy of their rules and regulations prior to signing a contract.

“So they signed the contract to buy something they really didn’t know what they were getting,” he added.

The bill would require the seller to provide access to the covenants and restrictions prior to signing a contract.

The third part of the bill would make most disputes with HOA’s go to magistrates court instead of circuit court.

“These are sort of the people’s courts. They’re inexpensive,” said Hembree. “You can’t afford to go to circuit court and spend tens of thousands of dollars.”

Hembree said in the past bills dealing with HOA’s have gotten sidetracked with some other issues but hopes sticking to these three will help.

“I think we’ve got a good chance of making some progress,” he added.