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Common Questions about HOA fees

October 08, 2019

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Most new home communities have homeowners’ associations. These governing organizations are set up by the developer or builder and are designed to protect and administer the community.
Associations are headed by a Board of Directors and these elected or appointed individuals are tasked with enforcing the neighborhood’s governing documents. These documents are recorded in the deeds office and are attached to property sold in the community. They specify the care, upkeep, and protection of community owned assets such as open space, parks, trails, recreational facilities and all the amenities that the neighborhood provides to residents for their enjoyment.
HOAs may, depending on the community, review architecture of homes to be built in a community and landscape additions such as fences and exterior materials changes or adjustments. They have the power to collect monies to be used for the care of assets and to apply fines or penalties to those who are delinquent in their payments. They create annual budgets to specify how funds collected are allocated. They may also reserve funds for the replacement of community amenities which reach the end of their useful life.
[For more on HOAs, read our article Paying Your HOA Dues or What are the Ownership differences between single-family homes, townhomes, and condominiums]
In South Carolina homeowners’ associations are governed by the South Carolina Homeowners Association Act.
The state statute requires that an HOA, “pay assessments for a share of real estate taxes, insurance premiums, maintenance, or improvement of, or services or other expenses related to, common elements and other real estate described in that declaration.”

Q:  What are HOA fees? 

A:  Simply stated, HOA fees sometimes called assessments are funds you, as a homeowner, pay to the association and which are administered by the board of directors for the upkeep of the community. There are regular and special assessments. Regular ones are those budgeted either monthly or annually. Special assessments are those voted by the board or community for express purposes.


Q:  What are they used for?

A:  Funds are used to pay for upkeep or future maintenance of community assets. They are also used to pay professionals to administer finances or compensate professional property managers hired to act as staff on behalf of the HOA.


Q:  Who is responsible for the HOA?

A: South Carolina law specifies that there is a board of directors which has fiduciary responsibility for community, administration of covenants and ongoing maintenance of the neighborhood.


Q:  Who determines the HOA fee?

A:  Fees are determined based on the budget approved by the board and community homeowners. The budget allocates resources based on what it costs to take care of the community.


Q:  Are there new homes without HOA fees?

A:  There are some older communities without HOA fees, but these are fairly rare these days. The Vast majority of planned unit development communities or master planned communities are administered by a homeowner’s association.


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