GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA)- Thousands across the Upstate were without power or water this holiday, with many renters saying they struggled to receive help from property owners.
Burst water pipes and no heat in apartments made many homes uninhabitable. Now, people are pushing for an ordinance that would protect renters in Greenville County.
“They told me there was nothing that could be done,” said Antonia Anderson, Greenville resident.
FIT, or Fighting Injustice Together, said they’re pushing for the ordinance because they said it would help protect tenants.
They said it would make it a criminal offense not to offer alternative housing to renters, who are subject to unsafe or hazardous living conditions. Bruce Wilson, who wrote the proposed ordinance, broke down what it would mean for the county if it passes.
“If a resident is in a housing unit and if there are certain things that are not happening in that housing unit, that the management must do certain things,” said Bruce Wilson, advocate. “One of the main things they must do is offer alternative housing. If there’s no heat, if there’s no running water, they must offer some alternative housing and if they do not, they can be held legally, criminally liable for not doing so.”
Standing alongside Wilson were county residents who said they are experiencing the effects of what this ordinance is trying to prevent.
“Although we have the landlord-tenant regulations at the state level, it does not give residents enough teeth to fight back,” said Ma’ta Crawford, advocate. “To tell someone that the ceiling is gaped open, you can see the sky standing in her bedroom and I’m standing in 2 inches of water and you can see the sky in her bedroom, that you can’t do anything for her, I’m not understanding that.”
FIT’S organization is hoping the ordinance is passed by February.
We reached out to the County Council about this, and we are waiting to hear back.