GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – The Trump administration announced a nationwide eviction moratorium that provides relief to millions of Americans facing eviction due to the economic crash caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to data released by the Eviction Lab, South Carolina has the highest eviction rate in the nation at 8.87% compared to the national average of 2.34%.

Local housing experts estimated that 43% of tenants in the state of South Carolina were at risk of eviction after the statewide moratorium expired in May.

“We see that this is increasing across our counties. It’s not just in our concentrated cities, but across our rural areas as well,” Lorain Crowl, executive director for United Housing Connections, said.

Housing assistance organizations in Greenville, such as United Housing Connections, were bracing for a wave of residents facing eviction and desperate for financial help with paying their rent.

The new moratorium ordered by the CDC states that COVID-19, the resurgence of the seasonal flu, coupled with the millions that would be left homeless if evicted could accelerate the spread of COVID-19 related illnesses.

This order protects tenants in any covered residential property from being evicted from September 4th until December 31st due to non-payment if they meet the broad requirements outlined by officials.

Greenville Housing advocates said the phone calls have been coming in back to back, non-stop since the eviction moratorium expired.

Lorain Crowl, executive director for United Housing Connections said over the last 3 weeks the agency has received more than 200 calls from residents asking for assistance. This delay in rent payments will allow the agency staff to pace themselves and help more residents.

Crowl said in Greenville, low-income to moderate income families with children in the home are asking for assistance.

While the moratorium provides temporary relief for many, she urges residents to seek help now if they need rent assistance and not to wait until the charges pile up over the course of the next few months.

“It helps us to connect and help families with assistance,” Lorain said. “Families can call 211 in Greenville County and beyond for connections. The CARES Act has certainly provided us with funding.”

In order to delay eviction proceedings for non-payment, tenants must meet these requirements:

  • Renters must make less than $99,000 annually individually or $198,000 if married. In other circumstances where income disqualifies residents, those who received a stimulus check could be protected.
  • Tenants must have tried to obtain any form of government rental assistance to help make payments.
  • Renter had a substantial loss of household income, loss of wages, decreased work hours, lay-offs or “extraordinary” out-of-pocket medical expenses.
  • Landlords MUST be made aware of your inability to pay. Renters must sign and print this declaration form and present it to the landlord prior to eviction proceedings. If this form is not submitted, eviction for non-payment can continue.

To read more about the moratorium, click here. For rent and utility assistance resources, click here.