CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC/AP/CNN) - More than 21,000 eviction cases have been filed across five of the state’s most populous counties, including Charleston County, despite a federal moratorium that remains in effect.
Of those 21,000 cases filed in Charleston, Horry, Richland, Lexington and Greenville Counties, about 10% of those cases resulted in a “write of ejectment,” meaning their cases advanced far enough in court that those renters and their families could be ordered to leave by authorities, according to an examination of court records by The Sun News and The State newspapers.
Landlords can evict tenants who owe rent when their lease runs out or those who break rules against pets or long-term guests.
The moratorium, from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ends at the end of this month. But since the order does not cancel or freeze rent, all tenants’ back rent will be due on Jan. 1 if the moratorium is allowed to expire.
Approximately 9.2 million renters who have lost employment income during the pandemic are believed to be behind on rent, according to the Center on Budget and Policy priorities.
The COVID-19 relief package passed by Congress would provide $25 billion in rental assistance for those left unemployed during the pandemic, but President Donald Trump has not yet signed the bill because he wants Congress to increase the amount of the stimulus checks included in the bill from $600 to $1,200.
The bill would also extend the moratorium until the end of January.
But protection under the moratorium is not automatic. A tenant, lessee, or resident of a residential property must provide a completed and signed copy of a declaration form to their landlord, owner of the property or a person who has a right to have them evicted or removed.
CLICK HERE to see a copy of the declaration.
The declaration may be signed and transmitted electronically or by hard copy, CDC guidance states.
Each adult listed on the lease, rental agreement or housing contract should complete the declaration.