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Problems between tenants and landlords are widespread


Magistrate and Attorney Kenneth “K.C.” Campbell

 A recent dispute involving a local landlord having to deal with the eviction of a tenant who was behind on rent that ended up in the Colleton County Magistrate’s Court is not an aslolated incident.“This is a statewide problem, and we get complaints from landlords all the time,” said Magistrate and Attorney Kenneth “K.C.” Campbell during a recent interview. He also added that the problem is statewide.

Campbell said that. Through his experience within the local magistrate court system, he has found that most landlords try to work things out with their tenants before taking other measures. “Most landlords try to work with their tenants, especially those who are sick or who lose their jobs.” Most landlords also have to keep up with mortgage payments, pay taxes, and make insurance payments on rental properties.

Campbell said he has noticed a tremendous amount of “repeaters” in his dealings with eviction cases. Adding that, there is no such thing as “self-help evictions,” and landlords must use the court system.

In order to evict a tenant, the tenant must either be five days late with rent money, although most landlords give tenants a month or more to take action, or must give a 30-day notice for any other reason, Campbell said.

Before a conviction hearing is held, a tenant must first be served with the necessary papers 10 days beforehand. “In order to work out proper service, we worked out a deal years ago in which we give the sheriff’s department 21 days to get the paperwork served. A hearing is then scheduled the first Wednesday after the 21-day time period. “Tenants are generall served well before the 10-day rule, thus the eviction is not a surprise.”

Campbell said that at hearings, deals for more time are sometimes worked out, especially in cases involving elderly or otherwise inform individuals. He added that state law mandates tenants should be evicted within 24 hours after a hearing, and the matter is turned over the sheriff’s department. At this point, the court has no more dealings with the situation.

“Officers from the sheriff’s office are required to stand by while landlord actually moves the stuff out of the house, but there have been huge delays and many complaints from Landlords.”

Cutline: K.C. Campbell is a local attorney and magistrate’s court judge.