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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, so 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.

Keep Your Backyard Bug-Free…Naturally

Summer is the time for barbecue parties and sleeping under the stars, but bothersome bugs can ruin outdoor fun. Many people spray themselves and their lawns with chemical repellants to get rid of these pests, but there are natural alternatives that are environmentally friendly to your home and your homeowners association. Here are a few tips to help you enjoy a bug-free summer.

Get growing. Planting a simple garden can do wonders in keeping the bug count down. Plants like: garlic, radishes, marigolds, nasturtium, oregano, sage, rosemary, cilantro and mint are easy to grow and act as natural bug repellants, making the area in and around your garden uninviting to the creepy crawlers.. Pest-control never looked or tasted so good!

Wet and wild. Remove stagnate or standing water in your yard; it provides breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Empty used kiddy pools and fountains and refill them with fresh water, remove leaves and other rain-blocking debris from gutters and fill puddles with dirt to reduce the buzzing bugs in your yard.

Going to the birds. Setting up a few bird houses in your yard is a great way to enjoy the beauty of our feathered friends, and it also mitigates bug problems, since many birds love to dine on dragonflies, dung beetles and the ilk.

Candle in the wind. When outdoors, burn an all-natural bug repellant candle nearby to keep the bugs at bay, while you enjoy the sweet smell of citronella, lavender, mint and other aromas that pests find repugnant. Brands such as BioSensory, Solay, Melo and Yankee Candle have jumped on the debugging bandwagon and offer eco-conscious candles.

Light up the night. Many high-flying insects are drawn to light like a moth to the…you get the idea. So, why not install an elevated yellow bug light on your back porch or deck to attract those critters up and away from the ground (and you!) when you spend an evening outdoors. Of course, be sure to review your HOA rules or talk with to a community association manager to make sure your bug lights do not come with HOA fees.

Doing Your Part to Stop Invasive Species

Invasive species are classified by the homeowners association as plants, animals and microbes that are introduced into a non-native ecosystem and cause, or are likely to cause, harm to the economy, environment or human health. An invasive species that colonizes a new area may gain an ecological edge since the insects, diseases and foraging animals which normally keep its growth in check in, are not present in its new habitat, according to Audubon International.

Audubon International offers these suggestions to help prevent the spread of invasive species:

  • Find out what the most troublesome invasive species are in your local area.
  • If you don’t know it, don’t grow it! Avoid buying or growing plants that are known to be invasive such as purple loosestrife, English ivy and Oriental bittersweet. Be especially careful when buying plants and seeds on the internet or by mail order—you may unknowingly contribute to the spread of an invasive species from one part of the country to another.
  • Replace invasive plants in your garden with non-invasive alternatives. Use exotic ornamentals only if you cannot find a native alternative, and are sure the ornamental is non-invasive. Ask your local nursery staff for help in identifying invasive plants.
  • When boating, clean your boat thoroughly before transporting it to a different body of water.
  • Clean your boots before you hike in a new area and when you leave. The seeds of invasive plants can easily get transported in mud and dirt.
  • Be careful what you take with you when traveling. Fruits, vegetables, plants, insects and animals can carry pests or become invasive themselves. Don’t move firewood (it can harbor forest pests), and throw out food before you travel from place to place.
  • Don’t release aquarium fish and plants, live bait or other exotic animals into the wild. If you plan to own an exotic pet, do your research and plan ahead to make sure you can commit to caring for it.
  • Volunteer at your local park, refuge or other wildlife area to help remove invasive species. Become more educated and help spread the word about invasive species. Learn more about your local natural areas and the species in your yard. This will help you identify things that are not native and that might be invasive.
  • Clean construction machines before moving to a new job site. The mud and soil stuck to the machines can harbor seeds from invasive plants.
  • Try to avoid disturbing natural areas whenever possible. Disturbing natural areas can increase their susceptibility to invasion by exotic species.

Do It Yourself Pest Control

Pests inside your home here in the Southeast can be annoying, frightening and even dangerous. Fortunately, there are plenty of steps you can take to prevent and combat pest problems. Of course, your first stop can be your last by calling an exterminator—and don’t hesitate to call the association management company if you need a recommendation. However, you can often save time and money by doing it yourself. Here are some methods offered by the homeowners association for treating bugs locally.

Boric acid powder, like Borid, works as a localized pest-control for spot-specific problems. Simply sprinkle it behind the refrigerator, around the stove, washing machine or wherever you suspect pests may be. It kills roaches, water bugs, ants, fleas and silverfish. Many pest control powders continue working for more than three months. Be sure to read the precautions—these powders can be harmful to infants and pets.

Many insecticide sprays that professionals use, like the water-soluble Demon-WP, and the proper sprayers to apply them, are readily available in stores or online. Generic brands are usually available at lower cost. Be sure to follow all instructions carefully. Be wary of taking on large projects, like treating for termite infestations, which can involve drilling, digging and more.

Staple products, like Combat, can also be effective, provided you are aware of which pests they should be used against. Combat is used specifically to target ants and roaches. The pests take the bait back to their nests, where presumably it destroys the entire infestation. This can be a good, cheap method—but again, be aware of safety precautions.

Remember, all these methods are effective, but you can also eliminate bug problems by taking preventative measures and identifying why they’re coming into your home. For example, ants are almost always a sign of excess moisture in your house or yard. Other pests are attracted to trash and food remnants. Eliminate whatever is attracting the pests, and you will eliminate the need for insecticides.