COVID-19 Information for South Carolina
The purpose of this page is to provide apartment industry professionals with an overview of the issues affecting our industry with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic. The page is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute, and should not be construed as, legal advice. This resource is not intended to provide a mandatory standard of care for the industry.
State and Local Affiliates
State Legal and Regulatory Information
We highly suggest you contact a local attorney before you decide to initiate an eviction action against a resident in the current environment as overlaying federal, state and county laws or restrictions on the judicial process may apply. This includes: issuing a notice to vacate, initiating any eviction-related action, or assessing fees or penalties on residents for nonpayment of rent or other lease violations. In addition to the below, you can access NAA's statutory information on late fees, eviction laws and other policy issues.
South Carolina has allowed a resumption of normal activity for non-essential businesses. Businesses are encouraged to follow the health guidelines to maintain the safety of customers when reopening.
Face Mask Mandate
South Carolina does not mandate face coverings. However, the state has encouraged local ordinances be established to mandate the use of facemasks. South Carolina jurisdictions ordering the wearing of face masks can be found here.
State of Emergency
Governor Henry McMaster declared a state of emergency on March 13, 2020.
Status: Evictions Can Resume (Remote)
- Action: South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald Beatty, on March 17, 2020, halted all evictions statewide, with the exception of cases involving “harm to person or property” until May 15, 2020.
- Scope: Order delays eviction proceedings.
- COVID-19 Related Impact Requirement: No.
- Residents Responsible for Rent: Yes.
Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance
South Carolina Housing will be providing approximately $5 million in emergency rental assistance to South Carolinians facing financial hardships as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The program will provide emergency housing assistance on behalf of renters affected by shutdowns, closures, layoffs, reduced work hours, or unpaid leave.
Eligible households could receive up to $1,500, with payments made directly to landlords or management companies. Relief will be provided as a one-time lump sum toward tenants’ rent payments.
The program will be administered through SC Thrive, a statewide nonprofit agency that provides services to individuals and families throughout the state.
To be eligible for program assistance, applicants must be South Carolina residents, have a maximum household income at or below 80% of the area median oncome for the county in which they reside, and provide documentation demonstrating how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted their employment or income beginning March 10 or later.
No rent freeze is in effect at the state or local level. Local rent regulation is preempted by South Carolina Code of Laws Title 27 - Property and Conveyances Chapter 39 - Rent Section 27-39-60.
Under South Carolina Code § 39.5.145, it is unlawful to sell or rent a commodity, including a dwelling unit, at an unconscionable price during a declaration of emergency. Unconscionable pricing is determined if there is a gross disparity between the rent or price of a good, service, or dwelling and its rent or price 30 days prior to the declaration of emergency. The language of this statute holds until the termination of the emergency.
Local Legal and Regulatory Information
Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance
Horry County has received $622,221 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Emergency Solutions Grant program to help those who are struggling to pay their rent due to the economic impacts of the coronavirus. This comes after the South Carolina courts lifted a moratorium on evictions.
The rental assistance programs will provide a measure of relief for those who may have lost their jobs because of the coronavirus, including renters and their landlords.
Applications for assistance will be available through an online application system that is accessible on the Eastern Carolina Housing Organization’s (ECHO) website.
Interested applicants who don’t have computer access can call the ECHO Access Point at 843-213-1798 to complete an application over the phone
All applicants will be screened for eligibility and must meet targeting threshold requirements, and will be asked to provide documentation including: verification of household income and either a Magistrate’s Court Order of Eviction or a letter from their landlord stating the applicant is behind on rent and will be evicted within 14 days.