In recognition that evictions are high stakes legal matters and a core racial and gender justice issue, the ACLU of South Carolina urges our state legislature to implement the American Bar Association’s Ten Guidelines for Residential Eviction Laws:
1. Tenants should receive reasonable notice and an opportunity to cure before facing eviction for a lease violation.
2. An eviction court should have emergency procedures for tenants who are locked out or otherwise extrajudicially evicted from their homes.
3. No tenant should be evicted without a meaningful opportunity to present proofs and arguments in a hearing and before a trained judicial officer that has the authority to consider any legal or equitable defense.
4. A tenant should have an adequate opportunity to prepare for an eviction hearing, including by conducting civil discovery.
5. Courts should require landlords and tenants to participate in pre-litigation diversion programs focused on maintaining housing stability.
6. No tenant should face eviction without access to full, quality representation by an attorney.
7. A tenant facing eviction for nonpayment of rent should have the right to redeem the tenancy by paying off a judgment at any time before an eviction judgment.
8. A tenant should have the right to appeal an eviction judgment and without unreasonable bond requirements.
9. Lease termination, including non-renewal, should be limited to circumstances where good cause exists.
10. A court that hears eviction cases should automatically seal the names of defendants before a final judgment and in dismissed cases, and courts should have practical procedures for sealing or otherwise protecting the privacy of defendants where other good cause exists.