SOUTH CAROLINA – S.C. grapples with HOA complaints
COLUMBIA — Neighborhood Nazi. Condo Commando. Bullies. The dictatorship.
Those were some of the terms property owners and officials used to describe bad actors in South Carolina’s thousands of community associations on Thursday, as lawmakers debate how to regulate them. “It has become my worst nightmare,” said Nadine Zacharie of Edgefield County’s Lake Trenton. She used to live in Augusta’s historic Hill section, but has spent the last 10 years in Lake Trenton, calling it “10 years of roughshod bullying.” Some problems come down to fairness, she said, arguing that she shouldn’t have to pay the same fees for her single lot as residents who own several lots. Other issues involve the community’s bizarre bylaws, she said, pointing to a fight between neighbors overfeeding birds that resulted in an amendment prohibiting it. “We’ve had people trespassing onto other people’s property to take pictures of them feeding a bird, and end up with a misdemeanor,” said Zacharie.
Communities on the coast have their problems, too. Maraide Sullivan, who owns a condominium on Johns Island with her husband, testified Thursday that homeowners need greater protections. She serves on her community association board, but said others refuse to follow the bylaws, Robert’s Rules of Order and basic transparency practices. A few years ago, the community received a $5 million settlement to repair construction defects, but Sullivan said certain actions “didn’t pass the smell test.” Read more: