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We have strict accounting protocols in place that provide the highest level of security to your association funds. Learn more about fiscal responsibility at SCS.

Misconceptions of Community Associations

“Community association” is a generic term that encompasses many names used around the world to describe common-interest housing. A few examples include:

  • Common-interest community (CIC) is used by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws.
  • Common-interest realty association (CIRA) is the term preferred by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
  • Common-interest development (CID) is used by the California Department of Real Estate.
  • Condominium association refers to units like apartments, townhouses or other private units that are part of a single structure or group of structures.
  • Homeowners association (HOA) is often synonymous with “common-interest community” and usually describes a community of single-family homes.
  • Property owners association (POA) can refer to a residential community or a group of offices or other non-residential property.
  • “Strata title” is a term used in Australia, New Zealand, and British Columbia that describes individually owning part of a property, such as an apartment, and sharing ownership in the property’s common or public areas.
  • In France and some parts of Quebec, condominiums are called “copropriété divisée” (divided co-property).
  • The traditional term in Spanish-speaking countries for a common-interest community is “propiedad horizontal.”
  • Condominio” is the term used in Italy.

Regardless of the name, most community associations in the U.S. are incorporated and subject to state statutes that govern nonprofit corporations. Remember, membership in an association is not voluntary; you become a member when you purchased a home in the Carolina community.

Expected Upkeep Enforced by our Community Association Management Firms

The staff or volunteers you occasionally see walking around your community with clipboards or tablets are your association’s covenant enforcement officers. They’re inspecting the property to ensure that everything is working properly, that conditions are safe and that nothing is reducing property values or the quality of life in your Carolina community.

In short, they’re making sure policies and rules are being followed—from pet behavior, parking and unkempt lawns to improper exterior modifications and more. They field complaints from fellow homeowners and, if necessary, remind you (or your neighbor) when a rule has been overlooked.

The officers report their findings to the Carolina Home Association board with photos and detailed notes. Most violations are easily resolved without board action. If not, the next step is a hearing before the board—we want to hear your side of the story. Those who continue to ignore rules may be fined, or taken to more extreme measures. The most serious cases may end up in court, though we try very hard to never get to that point.

Your association’s covenant enforcement officers perform a vital function; please treat them with courtesy and respect. If you have any questions about the rules, the officers can explain them to you. Your association manager and board members are happy to listen and respond to any concerns.

When you purchased your home in one of our common-interest communities in the Carolinas, you became contractually bound to abide by the covenants that protect your association. Please review them and ensure that you are in compliance. You can find them on our website.

Why are Quorums Important to HOAs?

A quorum is the minimum number of North or South Carolina homeowners who must be at a meeting before business can be discussed. State law tells us what that minimum number is for our associations. It’s relatively low, but we still have a tough time reaching our minimum. This is a common problem in many homeowner associations.

Meetings that don’t have a quorum must be adjourned and rescheduled at a later date. This costs the association money and creates more work for their teams. Further, achieving a quorum at a second meeting—if we couldn’t get one the first time—is even harder.

So, why bother to try again? The Home Owners Association board is legally obligated to conduct an annual meeting. It’s an important part of conducting association business. During the annual meeting, new board members are elected and the coming year’s budget is presented to the Carolina homeowners for approval. No quorum means no election and no budget. This means the current directors will have to continue serving until an election can be conducted. It also means that last year’s budget will remain in effect until a valid meeting can be held to approve a new budget.

Good news: You can be “at” a meeting in the Carolinas and across the country at the same time by signing a proxy! That’s how you assign your vote, in writing, to another person. Proxies count toward the quorum, so they’re very important to the association.

We ask you to complete a proxy form even if you plan to attend the meeting. That’s just in case something comes up that prevents you from attending. When you do attend the meeting, your proxy will be returned to you.

Since proxies are so important to achieving a quorum, you may find us knocking on your door, calling on the phone or even stopping you in the common areas asking you to sign a proxy form. We’ll do anything to achieve a quorum. Without it we can’t do business, and eventually that affects you, the Carolina homeowner.

SCS is a member of the South Carolina Chapter of CAI

Our state’s chapter of the Community Associations Institute, The South Carolina CAI (SC-CAI) works with community associations in Greenville, Columbia, Myrtle Beach, Charleston and Hilton Head to provide them with the tools necessary to receive various accreditations.

As a CAI-certified company, Southern Community Services is confident that our managers are savvy and well-equipped to handle the wide array of tasks involved in successfully guiding HOA (a.k.a. POA) boards through day-to-day operations.

The SC-CAI serves the educational, business and networking needs of SC’s  five geographical locations to enhance property values and the quality of life in community associations by promoting leadership, excellence and professionalism.

Members include condominium, cooperative, and homeowner association volunteers, professional association managers, management companies, and those who provide services and products to community associations.

For more information, visit www.cai-sc.net.

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All SCS Community Managers are Certified by the Community Associations Institute

At Southern Community Services, our team is composed of some of the most experienced, seasoned professionals in the business. We take professional development very seriously, and we encourage our community managers to earn as many certifications as they can.

Community Associations Institute (CAI) is one of the most esteemed providers of such certifications. As a CAI-certified company, we open doors for our managers, making it easy for them to pursue multiple certifications. This in turn allows our customers to benefit from managers who are well-educated, engaged and excited about what they do.

An international organization dedicated to building better communities, CAI provides information and education to all parties who work with homeowners associations, including managers and boards of directors.

The CAI mission is to inspire professionalism, effective leadership and responsible citizenship, ideals reflected in communities that are preferred places to call home.  This is done by:

  • Advocating on behalf of community associations and CAI members before the U.S. Congress, federal regulatory agencies, state legislatures and the courts.
  • Providing globally respected professional development courses, online and in classrooms, for community managers and other industry professionals.
  • Providing professional designations that offer recognition of your achievements, as well as continuing education opportunities to help you excel and succeed.
  • Offering unsurpassed education programs for community association board members and other homeowner volunteer leaders.
  • Publishing an award-winning magazine, Common Ground™, and specialized newsletters that provide practical information and perspective about association governance and management.
  • Holding national and international events, including the Annual Conference and Exposition, and chapter events that provide one-of-a-kind opportunities to develop contacts and build support networks.
  • Publishing both web content and the largest collection of books and guides on community association governance and management available anywhere.
  • Offering the Directory of Credentialed Professionals, where you can find credentialed managers, reserve providers, insurance and risk management specialists and attorneys.
  • Offering an extensive, user-friendly Service Directory to help you find thousands of businesses and professionals who provide products and services to community associations.

 

SCS is a Member of the Building Industry Association of Central South Carolina

The Building Industry Association (BIA) of Central South Carolina, formerly the Home Builders Association of Greater Columbia (HBA), serves association members, enhances the environment for conducting business in the building industry and maintains housing as a top propriety in the greater Columbia, S.C. area.

As a member of the BIA, Southern Community Services has further opportunities to network and protect the homebuilding industry through interaction with government bodies and elected officials.

The BIA of Central South Carolina brings together people from all phases of the building industry to represent their business interests and to promote programs, policies, and education for housing consumers to obtain safe and affordable housing.

For more information, visit the BIA of Center SC website.

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SCS is an Accredited Association Management Company

As an Accredited Association Management Company (AAMC) through Community Associations Institute (CAI), SCS has a proven ability to provide its clients with the unique and diverse services a community association needs. Its managers have advanced training and a demonstrated commitment to the industry—just the type of professionals that HOA boards seek to hire. SCS is proud to be one of only six AAMC designated companies in South Carolina, and one of only 250 in the United States.

What are the requirements of the AAMC accreditation?

  • A minimum of three years of experience providing community association management services
  • A Professional Community Association Manager (PCAM) designee as the company’s senior manager
  • A staff of which 50% of managers hold a professional designation (CMCA, AMS, or PCAM)
  • Maintain fidelity, general liability, and worker’s compensation insurance in addition to meeting federal, state and local laws
  • Have client verification
  • Comply with the CAI Professional Manager Code of Ethics (Code of Ethics Enforcement Procedures)
  • Complete and submit an AAMC Application.pdf
  • Pay annual maintenance fee
  • Renew designation every three years
  • To retain the designation, all designated staff members must complete at least 12 hours of continuing education every two years

AAMC Members represent Excellence in:

  • Knowledge.  AAMC employees have passed courses on reserves, maintenance, insurance, budgeting, governance, communication, contracts and rules.  AAMC employees continually update their base of expertise by participating in professional development seminars.
  • Experience.  AAMC employees meet an experience requirement in order for the company to become an AAMC and have proven management experience and knowledge.
  • Integrity.  AAMC employees commit to upholding the highest ethical standards.  Designated managers within the company must abide by the strict rules of conduct outlined by CAI’s Professional Code of Ethics.

For more information about the AAMC accreditation, visit the website of the Community Associations Institute.

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