Homeowners Associations (HOAs) can only do what state law allows (South Carolina Homeowners Association Act) and what their governing documents allow. Governing documents include declarations, master deeds, bylaws, covenants, conditions, and restrictions.
If there are issues or concerns with an HOA, consumers should first try talking with the HOA Board of Directors. Consumers should check the governing documents to see if a formal dispute process is included. If a consumer is unhappy with decisions of the association, its board, or other governing body, they should attempt to use the democratic processes of the association to seek election of members that are more responsive to their needs.
If a consumer is unable to find a solution, they can file a complaint with the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs (SCDCA). Homeowners associations go through a voluntary mediation process. SCDCA does not administer or enforce the South Carolina Homeowner’s Association Act but does collect specific data on HOA complaints. SCDCA then compiles and share this information with the Governor and the General Assembly each year. SCDCA also provides education to homeowners and HOAs on their rights and responsibilities under South Carolina law.
If the concern is changing the law to keep HOAs from denying solar installations in a neighborhood, consumers can discuss it with a state and local elected official.