CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Charleston Housing Authority is preparing the eviction paperwork for roughly 30 units despite the current moratorium on evictions.
On Friday, officials with the housing authority filed what is called a “Rule to Vacate $40.” It is one of the initial steps before an eviction notice is sent.
North Charleston lawyer and State Representative Marvin Pendarvis says he is seeing an uptick in eviction filings.
“We know the moratorium won’t be in place forever,” Pendarvis said. “It’s meant to help tenants during this time but eventually those protections will go away and tenants will have to prepare for a life after that.”
The federal eviction moratorium is not all inclusive. Landlords retain the right to evict for reasons other than falling behind on rent. They can also choose not to renew an existing lease. Additionally, the moratorium must be asserted.
“There are a number of programs throughout the state that are providing rent relief. I know in Charleston alone there’s Trident 211, the Community Action Program,” Pendarvis said naming just a few. “I believe there will be another state wide effort to provide some rent relief here in the coming weeks.”
There is some good news. Pendarvis says many judges are taking the pandemic into consideration. In a normal year a Rule to Vacate would almost certainly mean eviction, according to Pendarvis.
“They [tenants] don’t often win. I think they have been winning a lot more lately because of the pandemic,” Pendarvis said. “The pandemic did not start the eviction crisis and the eviction crisis won’t end once the pandemic is behind us.”
An attorney for the housing authority says the US Department of Housing and Urban Development requires that landlords have an informal conference with tenants before any eviction paperwork is filed. Tenants have a month to schedule that conference.
If they don’t or issues cannot be mediated, the eviction process can begin.
The declaration form on halting evictions can be found here.