Hilton Head Condo Renovations May Violate Fire Code

Hilton Head Condo Renovations May Violate Fire Code

The Xanadu Villas have at least four condos that have been split into two individual rentals, separated by deadbolted doors.

A Hilton Head Island condominium complex's insurer has threatened to pull coverage because recent renovations are said to violate the fire code. The Xanadu Villas have at least four condos that have been split into two individual rentals, separated by deadbolted doors.

According to a report from the Island Packet, the practice leaves one unit without an electrical panel, which increases the risk for renters and responding firefighters in an emergency. In a March letter, the insurance company, BB&T Carswell Insurance Services, said it would cancel insurance at Xanadu if owners did not restore the units to a single entity. The company said the "modified units" violate fire code.

Whether the fire code has actually been violated is still up for debate, the report said. Town attorney Brian Hulbert has offered different opinions. He most recently said a locked door separating a renter from the electrical panel does not violate the ordinance. Mayor David Bennett and councilman Tom Lennox, however, aren't convinced. They've asked for a second opinion from town attorney Greg Alford.

The confusion led town manager Steve Riley to look beyond Hilton Head. Next week, he'll send a letter to the International Code Council, which develops building codes, to ask if the split units are a violation.

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