Local landlord says eviction moratorium causes late payments

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – There’s a little less than a month left on the eviction moratorium in South Carolina.

Under certain circumstances, it prevents landlords from evicting tenants for not paying their rent.

It’s been in place since early September 2020 and is set to expire on January 31st.

Beth and Paul LeClaire have been landlords in the Charleston area since 2001. Typically, they bring in around $22,000 each month from their rental properties, but this year they’ve had to work with their tenants as many are experiencing a loss of income.

“I just think the government is doing a lot to protect the tenants, but they’re not doing anything to protect the landlords,” said Paul LeClaire.

Beth LeClaire made it clear that while renters have some leeway, landlords still have to submit mortgage payments on time.

“In most of the cases, we still have mortgages,” she said. “They don’t pay us, we still have to pay our mortgage.”

The moratorium doesn’t halt evictions automatically. Tenants have to sign a declaration saying they’ve tried to find another housing option and/or their income has been cut.
The LeClaire’s have 19 rental properties and so far none of their tenants have signed the declaration.

“I think we’re getting more people paying late. That’s where it’s affecting us,” said Paul LeClaire.

The Leclaire’s have only had to file eviction papers for one tenant this year. They say there have been other situations where families need some extra assistance.

“I think the most important thing for us is that they communicate with us what’s happening because we’ll work with them. We don’t want to put anyone out and we want to be able to keep a roof over their head,” said Beth LeClaire.

The moratorium originally scheduled to end on December 31st, but that expiration date was pushed to the end of this month.

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