Foreclosure Laws for HOAs in South Carolina
If you’re a resident of South Carolina, the concept of a homeowners’ association (HOA) is probably not an uncommon term. The main purpose of having an HOA or COA (condo owner association) is to make sure that the expenses for the community are paid for and that everyone has nice things in common. In addition to paying for these services, each homeowner also pays an annual maintenance fee or assessment. The amount of HOAs in South Carolina varies depending on the individual costs for your specific community; this can include a community pool, clubhouse, common area, or other amenities.
Belonging to an HOA means that you more than likely are responsible for payments towards dues, annual fees, and special assessments.
What Are Special Assessments?
When dealing with an HOA, homeowners can become responsible for the look and maintenance of their development. A special assessment is usually levied when an HOA or COA needs money to pay for an unforeseen expense, such as unexpected repairs or improvements. These assessments are added to your monthly housing costs. Some of these special assessments can include:
- Unexpected storm damage
- Road repairs or replacements
- Amenities replacements or repairs (pool, clubhouse, fitness center, etc.)
- Security maintenance for cameras or speedometers
What Happens If You Don’t Pay Your Assessments?
In South Carolina, an HOA or COA can foreclose on your home if you fail to pay your assessments. This foreclosure can proceed regardless of whether you are up to date on your mortgage payments. Because these two things are separate in the eyes of the real estate world, paying your HOA fees is equivalent to paying a private business for their services.
However, this is usually not the first step. If a homeowner does not pay their assessments, HOAs in South Carolina will usually react by revoking privileges, extending fines, liens, or even civil suits in order to try and get that money.
The foreclosing of a home or condo by an HOA/COA is very similar to a foreclosure against a mortgage. Once the HOA/COA has levied a lien on your property, it can foreclose upon it much in the same manner as a bank would through judicial sale.
What You Should Do If Your HOA Is Foreclosing on Your Home?
Once a homeowner is behind on payments, the situation can quickly become desperate. In some cases, HOAs in South Carolina can still institute a fine on top of a foreclosure. These fines can include late fees and interest charges. If it reaches foreclosure or civil suits, they can even require the homeowner to pay for the HOA attorney fees.
Homeowners’ associations and condominium associations have the power to place a lien on your property if you owe them money. However, there are certain steps they must take before that can happen.
Potential HOA foreclosure defenses include:
- The board’s accounting is incorrect
- The assessment was not issued in accordance with the governing documents. Therefore, there is no debt payable on this account.
- The HOA isn’t in accordance with state laws or didn’t record the lien correctly, making it void.
- Your specific community doesn’t allow special assessments or foreclosures to protect the homeowners
- Payments were made, but not tracked properly or misused by the board
No matter how you got into this situation, if your HOA is attempting to place a foreclosure on your home, speak to an attorney about the issue. A seasoned attorney can help you understand the laws in South Carolina, identify potential options for resolution, and protect your interests.
Grand Strand Law Group Can Help
If you find yourself entangled in a situation with your HOA threatening foreclosure on your property, Grand Strand Law Group is here to help through this legal terrain. With a seasoned team of dedicated attorneys well-versed in real estate law, we specialize in shielding homeowners from the perils of foreclosure. Grand Strand Law Group employs a comprehensive approach, diligently reviewing the nuances of your case, scrutinizing HOA agreements, and crafting a strategic defense tailored to your specific situation.
We understand that buying and selling a home can be an exciting venture, and Grand Strand Law Group is here to make the process as smooth as possible. We are here to help you every step of the way. Give us a call at 843.492.5422 and learn about how we can help with your foreclosure situation.