Representation in Eviction Actions Is Important

Mr. and Mrs. Jones had been behind in their rent for a few months because Mrs. Jones  lost her job due to COVID-19. They secured enough rental assistance to get current on their rent, but the landlord refused to accept it. The couple had heard that the landlord wanted to end the current leases so they could begin charging much higher rent. Our clients thought that was why the landlord decided seemingly out of nowhere to file for an eviction for nonpayment of rent while simultaneously refusing to accept their money.

They contacted SCLS and we tried to mail the landlord the couples’ signed CDC Declaration forms certified. We did not get any confirmation of receipt before the hearing. At the hearing the judge asked if the landlord received the signed CDC Declaration forms. The SCLS attorney told the Court it had been mailed. The attorney had the postage receipt and signed copies of the Declaration. The receipt and Declaration were given to the Judge and the landlord at the hearing. The judge ruled that since the forms had now been signed and the landlord had now received them, he would dismiss the case and allow the landlord to file for an eviction after December 31.

Representation by SCLS is what the tenants needed. The week before the hearing Mr. Jones had obtained a better job out of state so they were planning on giving the landlord their 30-days’ notice the day after the hearing. The dismissal with the SCLS’s attorney involvement gave our clients more time to pack and get their affairs in order.  More importantly to them, the dismissal kept an eviction off their record and allowed them to open the next chapter of their lives without this barrier.

Behaviors of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship.

South Carolina has exceedingly high rates of domestic violence against women. More than 2 in 5 women will experience either physical violence, sexual violence, or intimate partner stalking in their lifetimes. South Carolina also ranks in the top 10 worst states for the rate of women murdered by men.

            Domestic violence is not just physical violence against a partner. It is also sexual and psychological violence, as well as emotional abuse. It can also look quite different depending on the relationship and depending on the abuser.

            Those who use domestic violence to create power and control over their partner can use a variety of tactics. This includes, but is not limited to, using intimidation, emotional abuse, and isolation. The abuser can also minimize, deny, and blame the victim in a way to manipulate and shift responsibility. This abuse can also look like the use of threats, including economic threats, and the use of children.  

            It is important to remember that if you find yourself in an abusive relationship as the victim, you are not the one to be blamed and you do not need to be ashamed. It is a powerful and strong move to come forth and protect yourself. You deserve to be treated with respect and to live a safe and happy life. It is also important to remember that you are not alone and that there are plenty of people and organizations that are ready and waiting to help.

            Help is just a phone call away. Visit the SCLS Website for a listing of shelters throughout the state that will provide you with a safe space away from your abuser. Our website has a thorough listing of shelters across South Carolina, including phone numbers for you to call. You may also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1.800.799.7233. You can also text “LOVEIS” to 1.866.331.9474.          South Carolina Legal Services may also offer free legal assistance to domestic violence victims, including obtaining Orders of Protection, divorces, and custody. To apply, you can call 1.888.346.5592 or apply online at www.sclegal.org