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2014 End of Session Report

Manager Licensure - A sub-committee of the LAC lead by Shawn Cranford prepared a bill for the legislature’s consideration that if passed would Certify Community Manager’s under the State’s Licensure and Labor Relations Department. Unfortunately, we were unable to introduce the bill for the 2014 session. The SC-LAC is working towards filing the bill for the 2015 session.

Omnibus HOA Bill - The LAC opposed an onerous piece of legislation that would have once again imposed draconian measures as well has a stiff annual registration fee on all community associations across the State. Working with our lobbyist Graham Tew, who has done an outstanding job representing our interests in Columbia, the SC-LAC was able to successfully defeat this measure. In the alternative the SC-LAC is trying to work with lawmakers to craft a comprehensive HOA Act that would address needed concerns without imposing onerous measures. This effort is ongoing.

Federal Activities - SC-LAC Chairman John Thompson and Secretary Peter Kristian met with Kathy Crawford the Regional Director for Senator Scott to discuss two issues that are not only important to residents living in Community Associations in South Carolina but by all 50 States:

The Stafford Act which is the enabling federal legislation for FEMA is currently being interpreted by FEMA staff members to exclude funding to private communities who do not receive the benefit of local municipal government clean up post disaster debris within their communities.  To the extent federal and local governments are funding the cost for cleanup for the general population; FEMA should not discriminate against those who live on streets that are privately owned and maintained.

The Second issue is the current proposal from FHFA, the new federal entity that will likely replace Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to eliminate the availability of Federally backed mortgages on condominium properties which have a deed based transfer fee.   There are good and bad transfer fees.  Good transfer fees are funding mechanisms for community based improvements and programming, (e.g. infrastructure projects, recreational facilities, green space conservancies, art guild’s, recreational and social clubs, Etc.); bad transfer fees enrich entities that are not, or are no longer, providing any benefit to members of the community.  Some crafty developers have attempted to create transfer fees that are paid directly to them, long after they have no ties to the community.  CAI does not object to these transfer fees being targeted for scrutiny.  The FHA has dealt with this issue in the recent past and has rules that segregate good and bad transfer fees, while allowing funding for mortgages that have good transfer fees to continue.

We asked Senator Scott to work with his colleagues on both sides of the isle to introduce a new Bill in the US Senate, to propose a particular amendment to the Stafford Act, (provided by CAI National Government Affairs), that eliminates ambiguity on the availability of FEMA funding for emergency services provided to community associations, including condominiums, cooperatives, HOA’s and POA’s. And second for Senator Scott to author a letter to FHFA suggesting they mirror the precedent set by FHA in dealing with good and bad transfer fees, in connection with the availability of federally backed mortgages.

The SC-LAC wishes to extend their gratitude to all of the Communities in South Carolina that have and continue to support or Dollar per Door Campaign which funds the costs of our lobbying team.