As renters struggle to pay their bills during the COVID-19 economic crisis, one governor is drawing scrutiny due to his side-job as a landlord.
"With rent due this week, South Carolina has installed few safeguards that some lawmakers and legal advocates say would provide critical relief during the coronavirus outbreak for tenants who are unable to pay," The Post and Courier reported Friday. "The state has suspended all evictions as tens of thousands suddenly find themselves unemployed. But that order doesn’t prevent tenants who may be out of work from still owing or falling behind in their rent every month."
"Calls for state or local officials to enact additional protections — like funding for assistance or a temporary stay on rent — have yet to take hold here. Governments in other states have begun to enact such measures.
"Calls for state or local officials to enact additional protections — like funding for assistance or a temporary stay on rent — have yet to take hold here. Governments in other states have begun to enact such measures," the newspaper noted. "Among those who have been quiet on the issue: Gov. Henry McMaster. A letter from a Charleston lawmaker, requesting the governor intervene, has sat on McMaster’s desk for a week."
McMaster, a Republican, has previously served as South Carolina's Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General.
"Meanwhile, at the roughly 20 rental properties in Columbia that the governor personally owns, McMaster has continued to collect rent from his 200-plus tenants," the newspaper reported. "That includes monthly amounts collected this week from University of South Carolina students who rent from the governor in a tree-lined neighborhood near campus. It also includes rent charged week-to-week at two of the governor’s boarding houses that lodge 16 tenants, several of whom are out of work, said John Gregg, property manager of the governor’s PJM Properties."
For almost a decade, McMaster was the chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party.
A request from a South Carolina lawmaker, asking Gov. Henry McMaster to offer relief to tenants affected by coronav… https://t.co/2AzZjmnfnU— Joseph Cranney (@Joseph Cranney) 1585952110.0