PHA Provided Reasonable Eviction Notice to Resident
Facts: A former resident sued the local PHA for evicting him and eliminating his contract for housing assistance without giving him proper notice. The resident argued that the PHA violated his due process rights because he didn’t receive adequate notice of the eviction proceedings. The notices all came back to the PHA as undeliverable. The PHA asked the court for a judgment in its favor without a trial.
Ruling: A South Carolina district court granted the PHA’s request and dismissed the resident’s claims.
Reasoning: The court ruled that the sent notices complied with service-of-process requirements. All the notices were sent to the resident at the only address on file. And all that’s required by South Carolina and federal law is that the notices be “reasonably calculated to inform” the resident of the termination of the lease “whether or not the other actually comes to know of it.”
Furthermore, when it was determined that the resident’s unit appeared to be abandoned, the PHA filed for eviction with the South Carolina Magistrate’s Court. At the time, the process server was unable on three separate occasions to serve the resident. And the sheriff had attached an eviction notice on the door of the resident’s unit.
Finally, the court ruled that the resident had adequate notice of the grounds for eviction in this case from the very beginning of his lease agreement. Under South Carolina law, an owner may terminate a rental agreement for nonpayment of rent “provided the landlord has given the tenant written notice of nonpayment and his intention to terminate the rental agreement if the rent is not paid within that period.” The “written notice” requirement of that section is met if the agreement contains the following section or its substantial equivalent: “If you do not pay your rent on time, this is your notice. If you do not pay your rent within five days of the due date, the landlord can start to have you evicted. You will get no other notice as long as you live in this rental unit.” A provision in the resident’s lease contained similar language and conveyed to the resident that his lease could be terminated if he failed to pay rent.
- Major v. Housing Authority of the City of Greenville, September 2012