CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Charleston County recently launched a new housing court that provides legal help to low-income families facing eviction.
The new program is the first of its kind in South Carolina. So far, the court has helped more than 10 people avoid eviction.
The goal is to help tenants come up with a plan. That plan may be through mediation with the landlord, help paying rent or to figure out if the eviction was legally served.
The county says the majority of the cases that have come through are because of failure to pay rent when it’s due or demanded. However, many tenants’ say the landlord has failed to keep the property in proper condition.
Jeff Yungman is the Director of Legal Services at One80 Place and serves as one of the attorneys for the court. Yungman says many tenants aren’t aware of their rights when it comes to eviction.
“If it’s not in their lease and the landlord doesn’t give them notice and then the eviction notice from the court comes, then that’s improper notice. And that’s a way they can fight their eviction. They also may not know that landlords do not have any right to turn off the water or electricity as a way to evict somebody. They can’t do that before the eviction process is done."
Both the County and Yungman hope that the housing court becomes an educational tool for both tenants and landlords.
The housing court services low-income families in North Area 1. Hearings are scheduled every Wednesday from 8:30 a.m to 12 p.m.