On the Brink of Lifted Eviction Protections, South Carolina Housing Advocates Still Have Questions
- This story is part of South Carolina Public Radio's continuing coverage of the eviction crisis in the Palmetto State. For additional stories, click HERE.
Federal eviction protections are due to end at the end of this week. A month ago, that was also true – right up until the day before they were set to expire. A last-minute extension gave renters another month of reprieve – and gave landlords another month of frustration.
Another extension isn’t likely. Protections against eviction were set up to keep renters who were affected financially by the coronavirus pandemic from losing their homes.
But even as an aggressive resurgence of COVID-19 tears through every state – South Carolina went from 52 cases one day at the end of June to more than 1,200 last Friday – most businesses and public venues are most of the way back to normal operations.
So many of the hardships that choked businesses over the past year no longer exist, meaning the longer eviction protections stay in effect, the more the original reasons for keeping them dry up.
But even if we do get another extension, the CDC’s moratorium has to end sometime. Housing advocates worry that funds issued through programs like SC Stay Plus – funds designed to get property owners the rent money they’ve not been able to collect for a year-and-a-half – will not get to landlords in time to stave off a wave of evictions for unpaid rent (the most common reason for eviction filings).
At the heart of all this is what most housing advocates generally see as an epic failure to plan for any kind of exit from eviction protections. The moratorium was put in place without going through any federal or state legislative process, and it will be revoked in the absence of the legislative process as well.
But as with anything involving thousands of South Carolina renters, there’s nuance to be considered.