An Overview of How Associations Work
Organization and Operation
Your new home is part of a community association that is registered with the State of South Carolina as a Non-Profit Corporation. The Association is managed by a Board of Directors.
The Board of Directors is the governing body, elected by the association members, to oversee the business affairs of the Association. The Board establishes the rules and regulations, approves the annual budget, oversees the maintenance of the common areas, enforces the governing documents (CC&Rs, By-Laws, Articles of Incorporation, Architectural Review Guidelines, and adopted Rules and Regulations), and is the decision-making body for all association business.
Income and Operating Costs
Budget – Each year your Association’s Board of Directors will prepare, approve and distribute a new budget. The budget represents your Board’s best estimate of anticipated income, expenses, and financial operating requirements for the Association’s fiscal year. The budget is provided to each homeowner 30 days before the start of the Association’s fiscal year.
Payment of Assessments - Assessments is due on the first day of each month. Failure to pay assessments promptly may result in a late charge applied to the delinquent account. Continued failure to pay assessments may cause the Association to file a lien against your property, and/or foreclose upon the property. The Association has more than one course of action in the collection of delinquent assessments.
Each Association’s CC&Rs specify the requirements for insurance coverage for common area casualty, general liability, umbrella liability, Directors & Officers, workers comp, and a fidelity bond.
The management of the Association is subject to certain governing documents most commonly known as Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs), By-Laws, and Articles of Incorporation.
The governing documents stipulate the purpose, powers, and manner by which your Association operates. The general duties and powers of the Association are specified in the governing documents. The following is a content summary of a typical Association’s governing documents.
The following information, issues, and topics are addressed in the CC&Rs:
• Owner’s Property Rights and Project Easements
• Organization of Association
• Duties and Powers
• Voting Rights
• Jurisdiction of Association
• Covenant for Maintenance Assessments
• Nonpayment of Assessments; Remedies
• Architectural Control
• Maintenance and Repair Obligations
• Use Restrictions
• Damage and Condemnation
• Rights of Mortgagees
• Declarant Exemption
• General Provisions
• Annexation of Additional Property
The following three headings review key sections of the CC&Rs (use restrictions, maintenance, repair obligations, and architectural control) that are commonly referred to in the operation of the Association.
Use Restrictions - This section places restrictions on the use of property within your Association. Due to its frequent impact on day-to-day living in the community, we have highlighted below the topics addressed within the Use Restrictions section of the CC&Rs:
• Private Dwelling
• Use of the Association Property
• Conduct Affecting Insurance
• Owner’s Liability for Damage
• Maintenance of Animals
• Quiet Enjoyment
• Commercial Activity
• Compliance with Association Documents
• Hazardous Materials
Maintenance and Repair Obligations - This portion of the CC&Rs specifies the maintenance and repair responsibilities for the common areas and residences. Individual owners are responsible to maintain, repairing, replace and restore in a clean, sanitary, and attractive condition of the property. You should review this section of the CC&Rs whenever questions concerning maintenance responsibilities arise.
Architectural Controls - As part of a community association, your property is subject to certain architectural controls. Before making any change, alteration, or modification to your home or lot, you must receive prior written approval. If you plan on modifying your home in any manner that impacts or can be seen from any portion of the common area, surrounding homes, or streets, allow yourself sufficient time to obtain the necessary approvals. In addition to the written approval of your Association, you may also be required to obtain permits and approval from local governmental agencies.
By-Laws & Articles of Incorporation
By-Laws - The Association By-Laws describe the administrative procedures by which the Association conducts its business affairs. Topics addressed in the By-Laws include Voting by the membership, Board of Directors, Officers, Meetings, and Books and Records.
Articles of Incorporation - The Articles of Incorporation establish the Association as a corporation in the State of South Carolina. Generally, the Articles specify the purpose of the association as well as the legal corporate name.
Rules and Regulations – Your Association may publish Rules and Regulations that establish further guidelines and restrictions on the use of the covered property. These Rules are established under the powers vested to the Board of Directors in the governing documents and are enforceable. Homeowners should carefully review all Rules and Regulations and become familiar with their contents. Copies of the Rules and Regulations should be provided to tenants of rental units.
Some of the rules and regulations are highlighted below:
Trash cans can only be visible on trash pickup days (they can be placed out the night before trash pickup day which is every Tuesday).
Lawns are to be kept manicured with proper edging, mowing, weed control, bushed pruned regularly, palm trees pruned annually, and an annual laying of pine straw or mulch.
Dogs must be on a leash at all times when outside of the home.
Pet owners must immediately pick up after their pets.
Do not feed the wildlife including geese and ducks.
Abide by the posted speed limit.
Please be sure to read the rules and regulations carefully so to ensure compliance.
Architectural Standards and Guidelines – Your Association may publish a set of Architectural Standards and Guidelines that establish standards and procedures for architectural modifications within the community. These standards and guidelines are established under the powers vested in the governing documents and are enforceable. Homeowners should carefully review these guidelines well in advance of making any modification, alteration, or change to any portion of their home.
It is recommended that you check with the Association's manager regarding specific application forms and procedures for obtaining architectural approval if you are unsure of this process. The forms can also be retrieved from the Association’s website at www.barefoothoa.com.
In addition to the governing documents that stipulate the purpose, powers, and manner by which associations operate, many laws enacted by our State and Federal legislators also impact the activities of Property Owners' Associations. Depending on the language of the law, these laws sometimes supersede elements of your Association's governing documents or add new requirements.
The bodies of South Carolina law that preside over association activities include Federal and State Laws and the SC Non-Profit Act as well as various building codes.