Evictions have started in South Carolina. But don’t believe everything your landlord tells you

Evictions have started in South Carolina. But don’t believe everything your landlord tells you

Marin Clapper
 | 

On May 15th, evictions started in South Carolina, when the two-month-long stay-at-home order expired.

 

According to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, renters make up 31% of the housing population in South Carolina. 

 

Over 550,000 people have filed for unemployment in South Carolina in the last two months. 

 

If you are unemployed and worried you won’t make your future rent payments, here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions about rent. 

 

I thought the federal government said no evictions until July. Why is South Carolina different?

 

The CARES Act passed by the federal government in late March only covers housing that receives government subsidies and/or federally backed loans.

 

According to the National Housing Law Project, over 70% of all US mortgages are federally backed or owned.  

 

These evictions cannot take place till after July 25th.

 

Unfortunately, for housing not covered by government subsidies and/or federally backed loans, the eviction process can now begin in South Carolina. 

 

But don’t pack your bags right away. 

 

SC Thrive is a non-profit that provides Coronavirus rental assistance up to $1,500, to those facing financial hardships as a result of the pandemic. 

 

To see if you qualify, click here

 

How long does it take to get evicted in South Carolina?

 

It depends. 

 

To lawfully evict a tenant, your landlord must first serve you with a written notice then file a case with your county’s court if you do not move out voluntarily. If you do not move out voluntarily, they cannot have you physically removed from the property or change the locks until there is a judgment from the court. 

 

The eviction process normally takes from 30 to 45 days in South Carolina. 


What are the steps towards eviction? 

 

If your landlord decides to evict you, you will receive a written notice and the reason for your eviction. 

 

This reason can be because a failure to pay rent or violating the lease. 

 

A landlord in South Carolina can evict tenants in three different ways.

 
1. Five-day notice to pay rent: 
 

This notice will be issued if you have failed to pay the rent when it is due. 

This notice allows you five days to pay rent before your landlord can file for eviction against you. 

 
2. Fourteen-day notice to cure: 
 

This notice will be issued if you have violated the lease or rental agreement. In this notice, you will have 14 days to fix the violation before your landlord can file an eviction against you. 

 

3. Thirty-day notice to vacate:

 

This notice will be issued if you have a month-to-month rental agreement that your landlord wants to end. You will have 30 days to move out of the property before the landlord can file an eviction against you. 

 

Does my landlord still have to fix things that are broken even if I haven’t paid rent?

 

Yes. If the needed repairs are due to a major habitability problem, and if you did not cause the damage, your landlord must fix the issues. 

 

Some examples of damages that could cause habitability problems might include plumbing issues, broken windows, damages to your heating system, or issues with your hot water.

 

How will eviction affect my credit?

 

Eviction judgments may have an impact on your credit history and may hurt your ability to try to rent a new apartment. 

 

It is important to know that if you have any debts leading to your eviction, then they may also be included in your credit report.

 

Can my landlord use my security deposit to cover any rent I didn’t pay?

 

According to the South Carolina Code of Laws: Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, your security deposit is meant to be returned in full after your lease has ended, unless there has been any deduction made by your landlord. 

 

Your lease is a contract. 

 

When you sign it, you agree to pay for the entire term. Breaking your lease does not make the contractual obligation go away.

 

If you leave early, your landlord will likely hold you responsible for rent through the end of your lease by filing a collections suit against you.

 

Read your lease and speak with your landlord about options to avoid eviction if possible. 

 

Always keep a written record of any agreements you reach with your landlord – including expectations of how much rent will be repaid and when. Be sure to compile any documents you have that show your inability to pay rent, or inability to pay rent in full, during this crisis.

 

If you are concerned about being evicted or have more rent issues and you decide to seek legal advice, LawChamps is here to connect you with an attorney. 
 

 This article is intended to convey generally useful information only and does not constitute legal advice. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the author, not LawChamps.
 
Marin Clapper

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