YORK, S.C. (CN2 NEWS) The City of York’s Planning Commission looking at a proposal for a new rental inspection program. This isn’t the first time the city has considered a program of this kind. Now, one planning commission member is hoping to make a difference. This member proposing new rental registrations and regulations that he says will protect renters.
A York Planning Commission member, Matthew Hickey, is speaking out about some rental conditions here in the City of York. After a few city clean ups, speaking with residents, and seeing some run down rental properties first-hand he saying that it’s time to hold some rental property owners accountable for the conditions of their homes.
“I came across a house that was kind of just dilapidated. And then somebody walked out the door that was living there, which was a little concerning to begin with and then to find out their renters with the lease and they don’t have water or electric was… My first thought was how do we find a way to get you water and electric thinking they had to have it hooked up and come to find out not only do they not have it hooked up but they can’t,” says York Planning Commission member, Matthew Hickey.
They say the home has no water and only partially has electric. Erica Harris and her family moved into the home just a few months ago and are said to be responsible for damages.
“I mean I have we have three kids, we do the best we can, I struggle with COVID and everything else. It has not been easy for us so this was supposed to be our step up,” says Harris.
Harris says she was told she would be responsible for some repairs but says her rent of $1,000 a month, won’t cover work that needs to be done. South Carolina currently has legislation in place, Title 27, stating that in these cases tenants have the responsibility to take legal action against their landlords.
“In the situations the tenants either aren’t capable or or don’t know how,” says Hickey in his presentation before the Planning Commission.
Hickey argues that many renters simply don’t have access to representation that would be needed.
“One of the things I looked into it as a rental registration. So, there’s a South Carolina tenant landlord law. So the way it’s made basically the tenant is responsible for representing themselves or seeking council or something like that so there’s not a good way for them to get help,” says Hickey.
Harris says, “I hope we can get this fixed so this doesn’t happen again because basically in York, landlords have all the rights.”
Hickey saying, “In doing these cleanups I got the chance to meet people and they are genuinely great people. Their people that are contributing to society, they’re working hard they just need a break. And that’s what cities are supposed to do that’s what the government is supposed to do is create more firemen where success is an option.”
So what is the final solution? Now, York’s Planning Commission is hoping to look a little bit deeper into Matthew Hickey’s plans and eventually present something before city council.
CN2 News did reach out to renter Erica Harris’s Landlord who says tenants are able to connect water and power in the home. They say the tenants have not paid rent in several months, only a deposit. The landlord say their goal was to restore the home to livable conditions and improve the community.
In the video above, CN2’s Rachel Richardson is speaking with York residents and leaders who want to see a change.