HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Horry County is evolving and growing. With the influx of people comes more housing, which is often in the form of a homeowners association. Horry County leaders are holding a public meeting for the community to voice any concerns they may have with their HOA, to keep issues from growing with the number of homes.
Senator Greg Hembree says a big issue needed to be resolved are the community disputes. He says, South Carolina lacks an efficient, cost effective forum to solve HOA problems; many people are hiring lawyers and heading to court over arguments with their HOA.
Another problem, the Legislative Delegation sees is the lack of training for HOA board members. Hembree finds there's no place to go for preparation for the role.
"We want to make sure the directors have some kind of training, they understand what their duty is, and they can go about doing it in a more effective way," said Representative Nelson Hardwick. "So they have money to fix problems whenever they occur."
Hardwick says people may not be reading the fine print in their HOA contract, before they sign for there home.
The Legislative Delegation wants to find a way to make it easier for homeowners to get the knowledge they need before signing the dotted line. To turn "buyer beware" into a "buyer informed."
Members with the Horry County Legislative Delegation broke down goals for tonight, and moving forward.
First and foremost, to hear what the community has to say. This is your chance to voice your HOA concerns.
Then, the delegation will pull ideas away from the meeting. They'll find a few issues to focus on, instead of trying to find a solution to so many, at once.
The delegation will then brainstorm what those critical issues are, and hopefully put your answers into writing.
"We want to make sure we hear, all the complaints, the people have so we can have a more comprehensive bill to deal with as many of them as we can. We can't fix them all but we can fix as many as we can," said Rep. Hardwick.
This is a statewide issue, and lawmakers have tried to tackle it before. Hardwick says in the past, attempts at HOA reform bills have failed, mainly because they did not want you to pay any added fees.
One idea being kicked around is the use of the magistrate court. It would provide a forum for neighbors to find a solution to simple disputes and to save from hiring lawyers and spending more money.
In drafting a new bill, leaders will be listening to you and looking at bills in other states, like North Carolina. This is a long term goal.
For tonight, the purpose is to just hear what you have to say to get this ball rolling.
Since the public hearing is open to everyone, a large crowd is expected. With that being said, you're going to want to get there early.
If you want to voice your concerns, you'll have to sign up once you get there. There will be limited speaking time to assure as many people can speak, as possible.
The meeting will be held Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Horry-Georgetown Technical College in the Burroughs and Chapin Auditorium, in Conway.