NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A lawmaker who represents parts of North Charleston in the South Carolina statehouse says he will introduce legislation to help curb the number of evictions in the area.
Rep. Marvin Pendarvis wants to revise the state’s Residential Landlord and Tenant Act centered around the definition of “minimum habitability standards” in order to give the tenant more rights.
“While it’s not an issue that is unique to this city, it’s an issue that is rampant within it, and that issue is evictions,” Pendarvis said. “It’s indeed a crisis and it’s something that we must address.”
In a press conference on Tuesday morning, Pendarvis stood next to Veteran Gregory Buckner, who Pendarvis said called his office Monday over an eviction from the Kenwood Apartment complex in North Charleston. Buckner claims he is being evicted over a $68.14 light bill.
“Mr. Buckner’s story is a microcosm of a deeper issue we have in this country regarding evictions,” Pendarvis said. “They have become weapons which target poor and minority populations which furthers the cycle of poverty.”
The property manager says Buckner has had trouble giving them the money on time before and he had a warning before getting an eviction notice. But Buckner says he tried giving them the money.
Pendarvis added that he believes evictions lead to poorer academic performance among children and decreased job productivity.
“Many tenant voices are being silenced," Pendarvis said. ”If we require landlords to demonstrate something more meaningful at the outset, then maybe it will incentivize them to work things out with their tenant in a meaningful way before going to the courts to turn the keys as quickly as possible."