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Information

COLLECTION OF RENT BY DISTRAINT

(This is in conjunction with eviction actions)

A landlord may enforce collection of rent due by distress in the following manner:

A judge may issue, upon receipt of an affidavit of the landlord or his agent setting forth the amount of rent due, a notice directed to the tenant stating the alleged amount of rent due, including any costs, and fixing a time and place for a pre-distress hearing to be held not earlier than five (5) days after the service of the notice.  All the magistrate courts in Spartanburg County have countywide jurisdiction so you may file your affidavit in the court you find most convenient.  You must pay a filing fee when you file the affidavit.  The notice, together with a copy of the affidavit, shall be delivered by a constable of the court.  The constable will serve a copy of the notice and affidavit on the tenant in whose possession the property sought to be distrained is located.  If, after a reasonable search, the tenant cannot be located in the county, no person can be found in  possession of the rented premises, and the premises have been abandoned for a period of fifteen (15) days or more immediately prior to the date of service, the copies of the affidavit and notice may be served by leaving them affixed to the most conspicuous part of the premises and by delivering them to the Clerk of Court.

PRE-DISTRESS HEARING

The purpose of the pre-distress hearing is to protect the tenant's use and possession of property from arbitrary encroachment and to prevent unfair or mistaken deprivation of property.  If the judge finds that the landlord's right to distress is valid and the tenant has no overriding right to continue in possession of the property subject to distress, then the judge may issue his distress warrant naming the amount of rent due, with costs.

PROPERTY EXEMPT FROM DISTRESS

  1. Personal clothing and food within the dwelling;

  2. Bedsteads;

  3. Bedding and cooking utensils; and

  4. Property which is owned by a third party for which the judge finds ownership was not transferred from the tenant to the third party for the purpose of avoiding distraint.