One Strike Eviction Policy
Phone: 864.855.0629 | Fax: 864.855.0864
101 Wallace Drive, Easley, SC 29640
In South Carolina HUD has determined that a court provides the elements of due process therefore the housing authority may bypass the administrative grievance procedures in cases involving a criminal activity, and activities which:
- Threaten the health, safety, or right of peaceful enjoyment of premises by other residents or employees of the housing authority;
- Or any drug related criminal activity on or off such premises, not just on or near such premises;
- Any household member or guest or other person who visits other units who engage in any drug related criminal activity on or off such premises.
Evictions are civil, not criminal. Therefore, a criminal conviction or arrest is not necessary and housing authorities need not meet the criminal standard of "Proof Beyond Reasonable Doubt" in eviction proceedings. Criminal activity is cause for an eviction in the absence of conviction or arrest. Any provisions in state laws that require conviction in order to evict residents are pre-empted by Federal Law.
This does not mean that residents can be evicted only on the basis of a suspicion that they have engaged in prohibited activity, but has violated his or her lease with their involvement. Evidence will be reviewed before an eviction action is warranted to ensure the public housing authority's effort to implement its One Strike You're Out program to fight crime in Public Housing.
The Federal Law imposes on residents an affirmative obligation to assure that neither they nor any member of their household, or guest, or other person under their control will engage in prohibited drug-related or criminal activities. Public housing authorities can generally enforce their obligation by terminating leases and evicting entire households when a household member or guest commits a crime in violation of their lease provisions. The resident has agreed in the lease to ensure a crime-free household and is responsible for the household regardless of whether he or she was personally engaged in the prohibited drug or other criminal activities.
The housing authority retains the right to handle these cases on an individualized basis and will exercise reasonable discretion in light of all relevant circumstances. If a resident has taken all reasonable steps to prevent the criminal activity, an eviction may not be warranted, thus giving the resident the opportunity to prove their innocence. In these instances, it may be appropriate, to allow a household to remain in occupancy on the condition that the offending member move and agree not to return. If the agreement is violated by the offending member, the housing authority shall place that or those on trespass or restraining orders. If the agreement is violated by the remaining household member or members then the housing authority shall proceed with eviction procedures.
In cases where nonresidents have committed a drug-related crime on or near the development and can be linked to a specific resident living in the development, the disruptive activities of these guests can and will be grounds for eviction of the entire household. This eviction can be settled if the family agrees that the disruptive guest:
- Be placed on trespassing notice.
- The household can be subject to eviction if the disruptive nonresident comes back.