You buy a home. You believe the neighborhood association will help maintain its value. After all, property management companies are there to ensure aesthetic consistency throughout the area: Your neighbors will have to maintain the lawn, trim shrubs and edge. The bylaws indicate that as long as you obey the rules and pay the dues you will be protected. Surprise!

You will eventually call the association with a question. You get a recording, and no one returns your call. You email and maybe will get a response that does not answer your question about why association rules are followed only for certain people.

The bylaws say “no overnight parking on the street.” The association says the local, state and federal laws unfortunately supersede association regulations, and Berkeley County permits parking on the street. But the vehicle is parking in front of a fire hydrant. So, why have that bylaw?

Even though the bylaws state that you must park vehicles in the garage, your neighbors park in their driveways. The association says it is OK to break that bylaw.

But the best part is the homeowner who rents out rooms to as many as four tenants with four vehicles. Without enough room to park, the homeowner gets permission from the association to enlarge his driveway. The aesthetic consistency disappears along with your property value.

Despite getting no protection from your association, you are required to pay a yearly fee. If you contact Berkeley County for help, you’re advised to get a lawyer.

Think hard about purchasing a home in an association. The only thing an association can guarantee is that the fee will increase yearly.

Janice LeTourneau

Winford Court

Moncks Corner