Pandemic-driven eviction concerns worry tenants, landlords.

By Christina Lee Knauss

Ask financially strapped South Carolina tenants and their landlords to sum up the past several months and two words will probably be at the top of the list: confusion and frustration.

Earlier this year, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic led the Centers for Disease Controlto continue extending a nationwide moratorium on evictions that had been in place since the spring of 2020. Originally slated to expire on July 31, the moratorium was extended until Oct. 3, but the U.S. Supreme Court struck down that decision on Aug. 26. As a result, tenants who fell behind on rent because of the pandemic are left facing eviction once again.

The bickering between elected officials and public health experts often left out the very real concerns of people on both sides of the issue, according to both Midlands realtors and advocates for affordable housing who say that while tenants' concerns often get the most media coverage, many people often forget about property owners who rely on rental income.

"This has been causing stress for both renters and landlords," said Alisa Mosley, executive director of the Affordable Housing Coalition of South Carolina in Columbia. "A lot of landlords are small business people who are at wits' end about making mortgage payments and paying other bills."

With the recent resurgence of COVID-19 across South Carolina, especially the delta variant, Mosley said many tenants are facing financial issues because of unemployment or health care issues such as long-haul side effects from COVID-19 infection.

When renters in dire straits call Mosley's office, she steers them to assistance programs depending on where they live.

One of the main sources for help is the SC Stay Plus rental assistance program run by SC Housing. Launched in May, the $272 million program utilizes federal funds to help renters in 39 South Carolina counties. As of Aug. 12, SC Housing had approved 2,205 of 2,931 completed applications for total of $10.4 million in rental and utility assistance.

Seven counties in the state have received other funding and have their own rental assistance programs: Anderson, Berkeley, Charleston, Greenville, Horry, Richland and Spartanburg.

SC Housing officials recently made several updates to SC Stay Plus to make it easier for more people to apply for and receive help, according to SC Housing spokesperson Chris Winston.

One of the biggest is a relaxed documentation requirement that allows applicants to self-attest to...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT