Do homeowners have options when the HOA fails to help? - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Do homeowners have options when the HOA fails to help?

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Anna Diaz's backyard (Source: Anna Diaz) Anna Diaz's backyard (Source: Anna Diaz)
(Source: Anna Diaz) (Source: Anna Diaz)
(Source: Anna Diaz) (Source: Anna Diaz)
(Source: Anna Diaz) (Source: Anna Diaz)

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) When you have a problem in your subdivision, or yard, you may reach out to the city, county or your Homeowner's or Property Owner's Association, but what if you don't feel you're getting any help? 

"I felt like I had nowhere to turn," said Anna Diaz, who lives in the Ashford neighborhood near Carolina Forest.

"My backyard flooded repeatedly. I called Horry County; they couldn't help. I called my POA; they were of no help either, so I went into debt to build this fence, to keep the water out," explains Diaz.

Ashford Design Engineer Steve Powell agrees that Diaz's issue is not supposed to happen.

"This is not normal at all. There's clearly a blockage or a drainage failure somewhere in the system," admits Powell. The Ashford POA Vice President Michelle McCoy referred all our questions to Powell.

"Ms. Diaz's problem is exactly why you need an effective HOA, so that you can collect funds to make sure there is perpetual maintenance for drainage and roads and that sort of thing," said Powell.

Diaz may not be the only one with the problem.

"My neighbor down the road, same thing, his property flooded, he put a bulk head in and they haven't made any restitution for it," said another area homeowner Jack Kelly.  He's one of a few Ashford Owners who says the POA isn't helping.  He questions a budget the POA sent out last year, breaking down the nearly $14 in monthly dues. 

"All they do is keep charging us," claims Kelly. "Most of the residents here aren't paying because, as I said, there was never gonna be [a POA] here, wasn't supposed to be, that's what they told us."

But Powell says that's not the case.  "All the documents, when everyone bought in here, said that an HOA will be formed in here. The roads have always been private, and you can't have private roads in the state of SC without having an HOA or a POA," said Powell, who agreed to work on behalf of the POA and checked out the drainage ditch behind Diaz's home. " There's much debris and trash that homeowners have thrown in here that shouldn't be here, and much of the drain was blocked." Powell said that cleanup should prevent future flooding. 

Despite being out nearly $5,000, Anna Diaz says she'll consider paying her POA dues if she knows the money will help keep her property safe.  Powell says he hopes all the homeowners consider doing the same.

"It's very common that everyone wants someone else to fix their problems. This is America; we all work together to fix our problems. If everyone got involved in their HOA here or other places, than most problems could be fixed," argues Powell.

Horry County representatives tell WMBF News even though Ashford is a private development, they will work with the POA to seek out a solution if the flooding persists.

As for as the status of that Property Owner's Association, Powell says all but one of the board members have resigned, after challenges of getting enough dues to effectively operate.

However he says he expects the POA to hold another meeting in the coming weeks and get more people on the board.  Powell also says he's getting prices from a contractor to further clean out the ditch, and he says he will recommend that the Board form committees to pursue the problem areas, including violations, drainage maintenance, and safety.

If you've got a similar problem and you're not having luck with your HOA or POA, contact WMBF News.

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