Low-income individuals and families across South Carolina facing civil legal problems as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic may call our Pro Bono Hotline at 1-833-958-2266.
When connected to the hotline, callers should leave a message providing brief details about the assistance needed along with contact information and the best time of day to receive a return call.
South Carolinians who qualify for assistance will be connected to SC Legal Services or matched with volunteer lawyers who can provide free legal help. Callers should be aware there are some limitations on the legal services available.
Our hotline can assist with legal questions about evictions and housing-related matters.
Important evictions and housing information
On September 1, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an Order putting a temporary hold on evictions to help stop spread of COVID-19. The order began on September 4, 2020 and has been extended through March 31, 2021.
Please Note: The eviction hold is not automatic! You must sign a statement and give a copy to your landlord before you are protected. The statement or “declaration” you need to sign is available for download:
Each adult listed on the lease, rental agreement, or housing contract should complete this declaration.
Other steps you must take:
- Use your best effort to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing;
- Meet certain income guidelines;
- Use your best efforts to make partial rent payments as you are able. You must still pay rent and comply with obligations under the tenancy or lease agreement and that late fees may be charged.
- Understand that any unpaid rent may be required in full at the end of the eviction moratorium and that false or misleading statements may result in criminal and civil fines, penalties, damages, or imprisonment.
*You still must pay what rent you can, and the order does not stop landlords from charging late fees, penalties, or interest that results from non-payment or partial payment of rent as specified in the lease.
Contact an attorney as soon as possible!
If you cannot afford an attorney, contact SC Legal Services at (888) 346-5592 or request help online here or call the SC Bar’s Pro Bono COVID-19 hotline.
See this detailed Frequently Asked Questions About the CDC Moratorium page from South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center
See the CDC’s Frequently Asked Questions here.
Resources for Rental Assistance
Various organizations throughout South Carolina are providing emergency rental assistance to those facing financial hardships due to COVID-19.
SC Stay | More than 7,000 applications for rental and mortgage assistance were received via SC Stay. SC Housing and its processing agency partners are now processing those applications as quickly as possible so South Carolinians can get the resources they need to remain in their homes.
Anyone who previously submitted an application can check the status of their application or provide additional details about their application through the SC Stay website or by calling the toll-free hotline at 833-985-2929.
Updates on programs and funds available to help South Carolina residents are available on SC Housing's Resources for Renters page.
Call SC Stay's toll-free hotline at 833-985-2929.
SC Free Legal Answers is a free online legal advice service provided by the South Carolina Bar that allows low-income South Carolinians to post questions about their civil legal issues and receive answers from volunteer attorneys.
Eligibility guidelines have been expanded to help more people with COVID-19-related legal issues.
Visit sc.freelegalanswers.org to see if you are eligible and to ask a question.
Lawyer Referral Service
If you need a lawyer, contact the SC Bar’s Lawyer Referral Service at 1-800-868-2284 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays. The service offers referrals based on the type of law and your location. Each participating lawyer agrees to charge no more than $50 for an initial 30-minute consultation. If the consultation extends past the 30 minutes or you hire the lawyer to represent you, the lawyer will charge you his or her normal fees. The lawyers with this service do not take pro bono cases.
You can also request a referral online.
Most courts in South Carolina are currently closed to the public. For more information on court operations, contact information and procedures for working with the various courts during this time, visit the S.C. Judicial Branch’s COVID-19 website.
Other Resources and Legal Information
South Carolina Legal Services attorneys share daily videos outlining key issues facing South Carolinians in the pandemic. Topics include probate, family law, foreclosures, public benefits and more. Additional information can be found on the SC Legal Services COVID-19 page.
Low-income residents may contact South Carolina Legal Services at 1-888-346-5592 between 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays for free legal representation, advocacy and information. They may also submit a request for free services at www.lawhelp.org/sc/online-intake.
South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center offers a COVID-19 resource page, which includes a wide variety of tools in English and Spanish.
If you are a South Carolina Bar member, please see our COVID-19 page for attorneys. It includes the latest courts updates, CLE information and resources to help you and your firm work in the pandemic.