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.

Expected Upkeep Enforced By The Community Association Management Firm

Expected Upkeep Enforced by the Community Association Management Firm

The staff or volunteers you see occasionally walking around your community with clipboards or tablets, are the association’s covenants 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 your 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 worse. The most serious cases may end up in court, though we try very hard never to get to that point.

The association’s covenants enforcement officers perform a vital function; please treat them with courtesy and respect. If you have any questions about the rules, the officers should be able to explain them. The association manager and board members also are happy to listen and respond to your concerns.

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

Precautions You Can Take Against Lighting As A Homeowner

Precautions You Can Take Against Lighting As A Homeowner

Warm weather usually means fun in Carolina sun, but summer heat also can bring severe weather. Threatening thunderstorms often loom large on summer afternoons so it’s important to be prepared for downpours and accompanying lightning, which can strike outdoors or indoors. Consider the following suggestions when planning both outdoor and indoor events this summer to reduce the risk of a lightning strike.

  • Watch the weather. Pay attention to your local weather forecast before participating in outdoor activities. If there’s a chance of thunderstorms, consider rescheduling or moving events indoors. If that’s not possible, have an emergency plan in place in case a severe storm rolls in and designate a sufficient nearby structure as an emergency shelter.
  • Stay inside. If severe thunderstorms are imminent, go indoors and wait until they pass. Safe, enclosed shelters include homes, schools, offices, shopping malls and vehicles with hard tops and closed windows. Open structures and spaces do not provide adequate protection.
  • Duck and crouch. If you’re caught outside during a severe storm, it’s important to crouch low on the ground, tuck your head and cover your ears to help protect yourself from harm. Do not lie down; lightning strikes can produce extremely strong electrical currents that run along the top of the ground, and laying horizontally increases electrocution risk.
  • Turn off faucets. During a thunderstorm, lightning can sometimes be conducted through the plumbing. Avoid any type of contact with running water, including bathing, showering, and washing your hands, dishes, or clothes.
  • Turn off electronics. All electrical appliances—televisions, computers, laptops, gaming systems, stoves, and more—that are plugged into an electrical outlet could carry a current from a lightning strike. Surge protectors will reduce the risk of damaging electronics.

Stay away from windows. Not only is lightning a threat, but high winds and hail create flying debris that could be harmful during a thunderstorm. Close all windows and doors and keep away from them.

Winter Storm Watch In Effect

Winter Storm Watch in Effect

Dear residents,

A Winter Storm Watch is in effect from late Friday night until Saturday afternoon.  Temperatures are expected to dip into the upper teens at night over the weekend.  Please be sure to take the necessary precautions in regards to freezing temperatures.

Home tips
Frozen pipes can lead to a big mess. Here are a few tips for guidance on avoiding weather-related disasters at home:

  • Allow a small trickle of water to run overnight, preferably through a faucet on an outside wall.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinets so warmer air can circulate below the sinks.
  • Know the locations of your shut-off valves, in case a pipe bursts.
  • Shut off any outdoor spigots and bring in hoses

Plants
If you haven’t already taken steps to protect your plants, here a few ways to care for them during the cold weather:

  • Bring your smaller container plants, especially succulents, indoors. Mulch or cover outdoor plants with straw, blankets or cardboard.
  • Be sure to turn off automatic sprinklers, detach hoses from faucets and wrap the faucets to protect outdoor pipes.
  • Don’t worry if plant leaves wilt; they protect themselves against cold by dehydrating themselves. Given time, most will perk back up

Pets
Pet owners should take special precautions with their animals during freezing temperatures. It’s best to keep all pets indoors.

Cats will curl up against almost anything to stay warm, including car engines. Before you turn your engine on, check beneath the car or make plenty of noise by honking the horn.

Thanks for your attention and stay warm!

Home Improvement Reminders

Home Improvement Reminders

If you’re planning construction or home improvement projects on your property or in your unit, remember to follow a few simple steps to ensure you don’t run into problems with neighbors or the homeowners association down the road.

  • Before construction begins, please obtain a certificate of liability and workers compensation insurance from your contractor that names the HOA as an additional insured entity. The general liability coverage should be at least $1 million. This will help protect you, other residents and the HOA in the event of accidents, damages or injuries during the course of construction.
  • Remember, you must submit your plans to your design review committee (DRC) before work begins.
  • All work must comply with local building, health and safety codes. The DRC is not responsible for ensuring your compliance, nor does the committee’s approval imply compliance with local community association requirements.
  • The DRC and the board have the right to inspect the work underway on your property to ensure it complies with their previously approved plans.
  • You will be held financially responsible for any damages to the common elements, limited common elements, other units or property resulting from the work done on your project or by your contractor.
  • You bear responsibility for ensuring that the main phone, cable, power and other utility lines sustain no damage from your construction project.
  • All work must be performed between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily—excluding Sunday, when construction is prohibited.
  • You must arrange to have all project-related debris and supplies removed daily. You may be billed if your HOA has to clean up a common area disturbed by your project.
Why A Maintenance Schedule Is Important

Why a Maintenance Schedule is Important

From time to time, residents submit maintenance requests and become frustrated when something isn’t attended to immediately. Part of the reason for the delay is that the homeowners association develops and follows an annual maintenance schedule but the community association manager knows next month’s routine maintenance will tend to many of the issues. The schedule is also used to address small unseen problems before they become noticeable.

The HOA schedules routine maintenance for a number of reasons:

    • It eliminates unexpected replacements and breakdowns.
    • It keeps costs down because repairs are not made on an emergency basis.
    • It extends the lives of expensive common elements and reduces reserved funds.
    • It stops problems before it occurs.

The HOA works with a qualified engineer and other experts to develop the maintenance schedule. The schedule specifies when common elements will be routinely inspected, adjusted and repaired. Regularly monitoring the property eliminates surprises, making it possible to catch and correct minor problems before an expensive repair is needed. This, of course, helps control costs by extending the life of the common elements, which in turn reduces the money that must be reserved for an eventual replacement.

The maintenance schedule is a useful tool that keeps costs down, yet property function and appearance up. Please be patient, as everything will get done in the most efficient, economical way possible.

Who’s Responsible For What?

Who’s Responsible for What?

Who’s responsible for what? It’s an important question often asked by residents, and the answer is sometimes more complicated than expected.

Generally, the homeowners association is responsible for repairing or replacing common or shared elements, and owners are responsible for maintaining their own homes. But there are two problems. First, some areas are neither common nor part of your home. These are called exclusive or limited-use common areas and they’re available only to one or a few residents. Who is responsible for these? Second, ownership and responsibility for repair and replacement are not necessarily the same thing. So, regulation of these areas can become complex.

To simplify the answers to these questions, the CC&Rs include a responsibility chart that indicates who is responsible for each component. The chart lists the components and has columns labeled “association” and “owner.” A simple check mark in one of the columns designates responsibility.

While the chart is fairly comprehensive, to still have questions is certainly understandable. If a component isn’t listed, check with the community association manager or a board member for clarification. It could have been overlooked at the time the documents were prepared, or perhaps it was recently added. The board will pass a clarifying resolution assigning responsibility for any items not included.

In the event of a question, review the responsibility chart before attempting to contact board members or your community association manager. If the questions persist, then feel free to reach out.

Five Guidelines For Dealing With Contractors

Five Guidelines For Dealing With Contractors

Thinking of remodeling your kitchen, building an addition or embarking on some other construction project that will require the services of a contractor? If it’s something that needs association approval, don’t forget to follow the steps in your HOA architectural review, required by your HOA rules.

Once that’s completed and you’re ready to break ground, keep your project nailed down with five simple guidelines:

  1. Reconcile your contractors’ objectives with your own. You want your project to be completed on time and on budget. Contractors want to maximize their compensation. Design a compensation plan where each stage of the project maximizes your contractors’ profits when they achieve your objectives.
  2. Use standard forms for your contracts. The American Institute of Architects offers a variety of sample documents at www.aia.org/docs_default. Just realize there’s no such thing as a standard project and customize your contracts accordingly.
  3. Write down everything you expect. Effective competition requires a complete, accurate and final definition of the goods and services involved in the project.
  4. Nothing drives down prices like competition. Any price you obtain without competition will be higher than a price you obtain with it.
  5. There is no substitute for professionalism. An architect, contractor or other participant in your project who has a track record of character and professionalism will likely demonstrate those qualities during your project. A participant with the opposite track record will probably remain true to form.
Simple Stain-Removing Solutions

Simple Stain-Removing Solutions

Spills, drips and splatters in your house are inevitable, no matter how hard you try to prevent them. Whether you, your family or your guests are the culprits, stains happen. Most of which are treatable, especially if you act quickly and use the right stain-removing technique.

If there’s an “accident” on your carpet or a rug, start by scooping up any solids and soaking up any unabsorbed liquids. Then, blot the stain with a white cloth or paper towel. Work from the outside in so you don’t spread the spill, and dab at it instead of rubbing or pressing hard.

Also try spot cleaning with a soapy water mix. Dilute a ¼ teaspoon of clear hand-dishwashing soap with 1 cup of lukewarm water. Spray the solution on the stain and mist the area with clean water, or blot with a wet towel. Then blot the area with a dry towel. Repeat this process until you get as much residue out as possible.

Follow these specific instructions for cleaning up the more stubborn stains and sticky spots on your floors:

  • Red wine: Begin with the same three steps—blot, apply soapy water and rinse. Then, dribble very hot water from a sponge onto the spill. Continue to blot with a clean towel, and repeat until the carpet no longer shows any red.
  • Soft drinks and coffee: Begin with the same three steps—blot, apply soapy water and rinse. Next, dab on hydrogen peroxide. Wait one hour before repeating the process. Hydrogen peroxide bleaches a stain without breaking down carpet dyes. Use a 3 percent solution, found at most drugstores, and apply at full strength.
  • Candle wax and chewing gum: These are easiest to remove when hot or cold. For the cold method, harden the spot by rubbing it with an ice cube inside a plastic bag. Then, carefully scrape off the residue with a dull knife or a plastic card that’s no longer needed. For the hot method, apply paper towels over the waxy area, and then use a clothes iron on low heat to soak up the wax. Replace the paper towels until all the wax is removed. For gum, heat it with a hair dryer, then with a plastic bag over your fingers, pull off the goo.

So the next time your carpeting suffers a damaging spill, rest assured that it doesn’t have to become a permanent stain. With these simple tips, you can keep your carpets and rugs looking great for years to come.

Home Improvement Apps Tools You Need

Home Improvement Apps Tools You Need

Ready to tackle a few home improvement projects? There’s an app for that. Here are a few that homeowners associations recommend:

Houzz Interior Design Ideas:

This highly-rated app lets you discover new ways to personalize your home through a large database of design ideas. You can browse photos by style, room and location, and save them to a virtual idea book. You can also find product and local professionals, and read articles by renovation experts. You can save your ideas for offline access and ask for advice from the app’s community. Available for free in both Apple and Android stores.

MyPantone:

There are many paint color apps, what sets this one apart from others is that it lets you save colors based on their PANTONE ID and create color palettes from inspiration. You’ll be able to share the exact hue you like with designers, manufacturers, family and friends. It suggests complementary colors as well. Available for $9.99 in the Apple store and $7.99 in the Android store.

iHandy Carpenter:

This app turns your phone into the tools you need to complete your improvement project. It features:

  • A surface level
  • A bubble level bar
  • A protractor to measure angles from 0 to 180 degrees
  • A ruler with both inches and centimeter readings
  • A plumb bob to verify the verticality of lines or walls

Once calibrated, the plumb bob, surface level and level bar also can be used as an inclinometer/clinometer by reading the angles on the screen. Available for $1.99 in both Apple and Android stores.

Mold Management

Mold Management

Homeowners association communities are no strangers to controlling the issue of mold people have battled for years. It lurks in the corners and can cause major damage and nasty health issues. As long as moisture and oxygen are present, mold can grow indoors or out on virtually any organic substance, such as wood, paper, carpet, insulation and food. When excessive moisture accumulates and remains in buildings or on building materials, mold growth will often occur.

Since it is impossible to eliminate all mold growth indoors, controlling moisture levels is essential, because without it mold cannot grow.

Left untreated, mold gradually destroys the material it’s growing on and poses a threat it your family. Mold produces allergens, irritants and toxins that can cause new health risks as well as exacerbate existing conditions such as asthma.

If mold is a problem in your home, remove it along with any excess water or moisture. It is important to dry all spaces that suffer water damage within 24–48 hours to prevent mold growth. Fix leaky plumbing or other sources of water to prevent recurrence. Wash mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water and dry completely. Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles and carpet, which are prone to mold, may have to be replaced.

For more information on how to clean up residential mold problems and how to prevent mold growth, download the Environmental Protection Agency’s free publication, A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home at: www.epa.gov/mold/pdfs/moldguide.pdf.