S.C. association laws differ from N.C.’s

newsQ: Does South Carolina have similar laws as North Carolina when it comes to HOAs?

Mike Hunter is handing this question to Cynthia Jones, an associate who is licensed to practice in both North and South Carolina. Her practice focuses on representation of homeowners associations and real estate developers. Her answer:

As discussed in previous articles, in North Carolina, the Planned Community Act applies to single-family and townhome communities, and the Condominium Act applies to condominiums. The Nonprofit Corporations Act applies to the corporations that are established to run the associations.

South Carolina does have some laws that apply to homeowners associations, but it depends on the type of association. The Horizontal Property Act (easily found in an online search) only applies to condominiums. This Act sets forth a minimum standard by which these properties must operate and provides a legal basis for assessments, liens and foreclosure.

It discusses the requirements for the establishment of the community, liability for assessments, insurance provisions and the use of common elements.

Unlike North Carolina, where a Declaration of Condominium is recorded to establish a condominium, in South Carolina, it’s established by the master deed.

Requirements for what must be contained in the master deed are set forth in the Act.

Difference on fines

One main difference between the two states is that in North Carolina there is a legal basis for fining an owner for violations of the covenants.

In South Carolina, unless the provision for fines is contained in the master deed or Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions for the community, there is no authority for assessing fines against an owner.

The only remedy set forth in the Act is a civil action to enforce the covenants, which is often lengthy and expensive.

Another key point: There is no legislation in South Carolina that regulates or controls HOAs composed of single-family homes. (Although a version of the Planned Community Act has been introduced to the legislature for consideration).

So when it comes to single-family HOAs, rights and obligations for both homeowners and boards must be set forth in the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions for that particular community.

The S.C. Nonprofit Corporation Act of 1994 applies to nonprofit associations established under S.C. law. This Nonprofit Act dictates the responsibilities and obligations of the association, and the officers and directors of the association have the duty to meet these standards.

Charlotte attorney Michael Hunter represents community and condominium associations for the firm of Horack Talley.

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“Ask The Experts” Articles have been Reprinted with permission from the Charlotte Observer

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