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October 8, 2019

North Charleston Renters Get Pro Bono Legal Help at New Housing Court

Charleston City Paper

Merritt Abney, a partner in Nelson Mullins' Charleston office, and associate Olesya Bracey represented tenants at the first session of the recently founded Charleston Housing Court. The court was founded to address legal issues on a pro bono basis for tenants in North Charleston, which has the highest eviction rate in the country according to data collected by Princeton University’s Eviction Lab.

"I think the goal for everyone is, if people aren't paying rent and they can't pay rent, to prevent an eviction from ending up on their record," Abney told Charleston City Paper. "And ideally, to keep them in their homes if they have defenses, to see that they are properly asserted by people who understand the law."

Although Abney and Bracey do not focus on tenants’ rights in their everyday practice, they rose to the challenge. "I haven't done any landlord-tenant cases at all," Bracey says. "So, this is kinda just being thrown into the deep-end. It's instantaneous, you just come in and have to handle it. The other cases we typically deal with have a very long discovery period, and they just go on for years, so it's really different."

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