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HOA – You’re Safe Now

If you think you dislike your HOA, then you have not met this guy.  Recently a dad, who goes by the first name Dave, posted a letter that condemned his neighbor’s tattling, according to a snapshot uploaded to Reddit’s “Facepalm” forum.  Sporting a plastic sheet cover and two green tacks that were hammered into the offending tree, the open letter confronts the anonymous neighbor who reportedly tipped off the HOA.

“Dear Anonymous Passerby,” the letter begins. “Don’t worry, you’re safe now! Your act of casual cruelty was successful. The complaint you lodged with the HOA was heard. They had me take down the small tree fort that I built on this location with my sons during the pandemic.”

Dave adds: “No longer will its presence offend your walk past my house. Please enjoy your stroll free from the sound of my children’s play and laughter. They are safely back inside now, watching television I’m sure. Enjoy the unobstructed view of my backyard. I will try to keep it up to code.”

More than 101,000 people have upvoted the Reddit post since its original upload on Monday, June 14.  The truth is that nobody likes complaining about HOA’s more than those that choose to live in an HOA.  Choosing to be an HOA member is not a choice once you purchase a home in a community, the choice is whether to purchase a home in an HOA community.

Whether or not you agree with the rules in the bylaws, you are bound by them whether you knew about them or not.  The law goes:

“Covenants requiring property owners to pay fees for improvements, maintenance or other services to a homeowners association run with the land.” Harbison Cmty. Ass’n, Inc. v. Mueller, 319 S.C. 99, 102, 459 S.E.2d 860, 862 (Ct. App. 1995)

Basically it says that it does not matter what you individually know or don’t know, if you own the land then you are obligated to know the rules.  With that being said, the HOA must apply the laws fairly and equally, in a non-discriminatory manner.  They can not be bullies and pick on individual members of a community.

The truth is that South Carolina has very few laws to limit the ability of an HOA board’s authority to infringe on private property ownership.  Much of the law comes from the SC Nonprofit Act, which is not specifically tailored to HOA’s.  Most HOA Board members do not go through training or education programs to learn about community management, and there is very little regulation to protect members.

If you should feel that you need protecting from your HOA’s behavior or if you feel your HOA needs proper legal guidance, please give us a call at Goldfinch Winslow: 843-357-9301.  The key to a good HOA is a knowledgeable/transparent board, management, and membership.

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