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Proposed Bill to Regulate Homeowners Associations

6:51 PM, Nov 21, 2013   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- Dealing with a homeowners association has left some South Carolinians feeling anything but neighborly. The groups can issues fines, place liens, and as one man found out, foreclose on your home with little regulation.

James Rowson could not believe it when he found out his house was foreclosed on and sold.

"I was served papers from the new owners that I had 30 days to vacate the premises of my own home," said Rowson.

A missed payment of dues to his homeowners association and a lot of confusion snowballed into him losing his property.

"We had to go to court and negotiate with the new owner to buy back our home," he said.

Sold for around $3,000, Rowson says he hired an attorney and soon found out he had no option but to spend thousands of dollars to get back his home.

Richland County Senator Darrell Jackson says his office has received calls, letters, and emails from across the state from people facing issues with their homeowners associations.

"We're hearing more and more people saying something has to be done. We want to work closely with our homeowners associations to make sure that they are accountable to someone," said Jackson.

He says his bill, the Homeowners Association Accountability Act, would require the groups to publicize meetings and in some cases hold hearings allowing people to speak for themselves. They would also be regulated by a state agency like the Offices of the Secretary of State or Consumer Affairs.

While the bill will not help Rowson, he thinks it could make a difference for others.

"There are so many things about this process we did not know, we did not understand and it seems as if they can get away with this," said Rowson.

Jackson plans to file the bill next month, ahead of the session's start in January.

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