Evictions Are on the Rise Again in South Carolina

Before the moratorium, South Carolina had the highest eviction rate of any state in the country, and Columbia had the eighth-highest rate of any city, according to data from the Eviction Lab at Princeton University. 

According to court filings, 955 evictions have been filed In Richland and Lexington counties since the ban was lifted. That’s compared to more than 3,000 evictions filed in the same period last year. 

“We didn’t see a dramatic spike in cases at first, but in the past two weeks, our office has seen a sizable increase in applications from tenants of private landlords compared to this time last year,” said Mark Fessler, an attorney for South Carolina Legal Services. Additionally, Fessler expects the number will continue to multiply.

Adam Protheroe, a litigation attorney at South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center, said renters should double-check to see if they are still exempt from eviction under the CARES Act. One of the best things tenants can do to advocate for themselves is to address the problem with their landlord as soon as they know they won’t be able to make rent. 

“It’s worth a shot to see if you can work something out before they take it to court. If you do nothing, what you get is an eviction notice. But if you do something, things might work out in your favor,” he said.

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