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The Landlord's-Eye View of Eviction Protections in South Carolina

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Scott Morgan
/
South Carolina Public Radio
It's easy to see landlords as the villain of the eviction saga, but not all landlords are twirling their evil mustaches and waiting to evict tenants. For those running a business and trying to keep tenants housed, long-overdue back rents that might never get paid in full could cause property owners to lose their assets. In rural communities, that could mean opening the door to investors, rather than people from those communities.

This story is part of continuing coverage of South Carolina's looming eviction crisis as the CDC moratorium winds down.

Were one to look at a bunch of databases and charts and heat maps, one might draw the conclusion that landlords in this state are pretty eviction happy. There’s a really big red dot over South Carolina on Eviction Lab’s U.S. map, for example. At least twice the size of everyone else’s red dot.

It doesn't help that South Carolina leads the country (by a lot) in rural evictions, and has the most eviction-prone large and mid-sized cities in the U.S.

And now we’re about to see the end of a federal eviction moratorium that has accomplished three things:

It’s kept renters affected financially by the COVID pandemic from being evicted

It’s given some renters the false idea that they don’t have to pay back rent.

And it’s kept landlords and property owners from collecting a lot of money.

The thing is, like any massive story affecting millions of people, there's a lot of nuance to consider. While some landlords might be waiting breathlessly to evict tenants, others are trying to keep their renters housed — but are facing economic realities of not having collected rent for a year-and-a-half.