Legislative HOA study was a farce

Article Courtesy of Myrtle Beach Online
By Steve Houser

Published March 2, 2016

The long-awaited and much anticipated study regarding recommendations to the Legislature on a much-needed comprehensive South Carolina HOA law has now been published. The committee chaired by local Sen. Luke Rankin (and including Rep. Mike Ryhall), was acutely and woefully deficient in any substantial recommendations to the Legislature.

After a cursory review, one can quickly discern the study was a farcical exercise and clearly a waste of time regarding any serious recommendations to sensibly regulate our state’s HOAs. But the study succeeded in its primary objective. That objective, to those not closely following the issue, was to provide political cover for our legislators as they obediently support their special interest political donors and their financial concerns while insuring they have the moral and financial support required in a re-election this year.

It was clearly apparent the committee was heavily weighted to ensure the special interests of the developers, Realtors, property management companies, and attorneys were all well represented and very well controlled regarding insuring there was limited representation of the homeowner’s interests. The committee successfully ignored the basic fundamental right of all property owners as citizens of their state and country; to have input and a voice in the management of their investment in an HOA controlled community.

Apparently the goal of the political leaders on the committee was to document the selfish positions and objectives of the special interests and their dutifully paid attorneys in maintaining the current state of no regulation. This is in contrast to determining the current level of abuse and implement some required control on these special interests as they function unabated and unregulated in our state.

What is very interesting is our legislators cannot seem to form an opinion on their own regarding the need for an HOA law but seem to be only interested in inserting their finger in the political winds to determine what is politically expedient for their own future in politics. They patiently listened to testimony, letters, and emails and wrote nearly all of these occurrences off as isolated incidents and aberrations that do not require any type of regulation.

If one endeavors to read the report, it is easy to discern the committee, especially the chair, took great care as to not take any controversial positions and leave all options open to future political questions. How is it possible to absorb all of this information and not be able to form a clearly defined, lucid and well-defined position on these issues? The objective, as with most politicians, is to ensure they can play all sides of the fence in the upcoming election and not to damage their re-election chances or fully evade the issue entirely.

Finally during this election year, when we voters choose who will represent our best interests in our Legislature, we need to ask each candidate some vital and fundamental questions regarding a fair and meaningful HOA law in South Carolina. The question we must get answered is whether they are going to represent the special interests of developers, their paid attorneys, the real estate lobby, and property management companies or the rights of the individual homeowner prior to and after his purchase of a home in this state.

Subsequently it appears the current Legislature continues to fail to recognize the current political winds in this country do not favor the status quo on this issue (and many others in our state) of ignoring the voices and concerns of the voters. Voters must hold legislators accountable for the apathetic inaction on this issue.