On September 1, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) issued an Order putting a temporary hold on evictions to help stop further spread of COVID-19. The order began on September 4, 2020 and has been extended through June 30, 2021.
This eviction hold is not automatic! You will need to sign a statement and give a copy to your landlord before you are protected. The statement or declaration you will need to sign can be found HERE .
Does this Order stop evictions automatically?
NO. To be protected from eviction every adult listed on the lease or rental agreement must each sign a declaration. This must be given to your landlord or property manager. This declaration has to say certain things:
- You have tried to get other housing help,
- Your income is below a certain amount, and
- You can’t pay your rent because your income has been cut, among other things.
You can find the declaration form HERE . Before signing the declaration, you should make sure that everything in it is true. Giving a false declaration may be a crime.
Does this Order stop all evictions?
NO. The Order only stops evictions for failure to pay rent or other charges. Evictions for other things can still take place. Things like criminal activity, damage of property, threatening other residents, or violating other terms of a lease can cause you to be evicted.
Also, the Order only stops residential evictions. This means that if you are renting property to live in, you may be covered. Evictions from property rented for business may still happen.
Do I still have to pay rent?
YES. The order stops evictions temporarily, but you will still owe rent for this time. If you are behind in rent when the order expires, your landlord may be able to evict you then.
What should I do if I get served with eviction papers?
ASK THE COURT FOR A HEARING WITHIN 10 DAYS. Don’t ignore eviction papers or any legal papers. If you are served with eviction papers, you have 10 days to ask for a hearing. Some eviction cases are not covered by this Order. Even if you are covered by this Order, the court may say that you gave up your right to a hearing if you didn’t ask for one within that 10 days.
CONTACT AN ATTORNEY AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. The South Carolina Bar Lawyer Referral Service – (800) 868-2284 – can give you the name of a lawyer who may be able to help. If you can’t afford to pay an attorney, you can call South Carolina Legal Services at (888) 346-5592 or APPLY ONLINE to see if you can get free legal advice or representation.
Can my landlord still charge late fees or penalties if I don’t pay my rent in full on time?
YES. The Order does not stop your landlord from charging late fees or penalties if you don’t pay rent on time. If you still owe these fees when the Order expires, your landlord may be able to evict you then.
I own a mobile home and rent the lot that it is on. Does this Order stop me from being evicted too?
YES. As long as this order is in effect, you must sign the declaration and give a copy to your landlord or property manager. You cannot be evicted for not paying rent or other charges.
Does my landlord still have to make repairs during the pandemic?
YES. There might be some delays because of COVID-19. Important repairs should still be made quickly. You should not stop paying rent because your landlord isn’t making repairs. You can find more information on how to get your landlord to make repairs HERE.
Does this order apply if I am staying in a hotel or motel?
IT DEPENDS. Usually, hotels or motels do not fall under landlord-tenant law and these eviction holds wouldn’t apply. But, if a hotel or motel is the main place that you live or if you’ve been staying there for several months, your case may be an exception.
The best thing to do is to contact an attorney to see if they can help you figure out whether you are covered by these holds. The South Carolina Bar Lawyer Referral Service – (800) 868-2284 – can give you the name of a lawyer who may be able to help. If you can’t afford to pay an attorney, you can call South Carolina Legal Services at (888) 346-5592 or APPLY ONLINEto see if you can get free legal advice or representation.
Does this order apply if I live in a boarding house?
YES. Boarding houses are covered by landlord-tenant law. The owner of a boarding house cannot force you to move out. They cannot change the locks, shut off your power, or do anything else to make it impossible for you to live there. The only way they can evict you is by going to court.
Can my landlord raise my rent right now?
IT DEPENDS. Nothing has changed about the law when it comes to rent increases. If you live in subsidized housing like public housing, section 8, or tax credit housing, the rules about when your rent can be increased are too complicated to cover here. If you have questions, you should talk to your landlord or housing authority. You may want to contact an attorney.
For private (non-subsidized) housing, your lease may have information about when your rent can be increased. Most leases don’t say anything about this. That usually means that your landlord can’t increase your rent during the term of your lease. For example, if you have a lease for one year, your landlord usually can’t increase your rent during that year. If you have a month to month lease, your landlord will need to give you at least 30 days’ notice before your rent increases.