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Raymond Buxton, II, Commissioner

Summary of the Fair Housing Law

Section 31-21-10: Names the law "The South Carolina Fair Housing Law."

Section 31-21-20: States policy of this State to provide fair housing.

Section 31-21-30: Defines words and phrases used throughout the Act. For example, "familial status" means one or more individuals who have not attained the age of eighteen years and domiciled with parent or legal guardian; or a pregnant person; or one securing legal custody of a child under 18 years.

Section 31-21-40: Describes activities which are unlawful as they relate to selling or renting dwellings because of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, or handicap.

Section 31-21-50: Makes unlawful denial of real estate services based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.

Section 31-21-60: Makes unlawful discrimination making real estate-related transactions available, or in terms and conditions of transactions, because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.

Section 31-21-70: Describes activities exempted from the Act.

Section 31-21-80: Makes unlawful coercion, intimidation, threats, or interference with any person for exercising rights under the law.

Section 31-21-90: Grants jurisdiction to the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission to administer this law.

Section 31-21-100: Allows the Commission to:

  • Promulgate regulations.
  • Make studies of housing practices.
  • Publish reports of such studies.
  • Cooperate with and give technical assistance to agencies, organizations and institutions within the state.
  • Cooperate with and contract with HUD and other governmental agencies.
  • Accept reimbursement for services rendered to HUD.
  • Accept gifts and donations.
  • Go to court to compel compliance with the law.
  • Contract with and accept reimbursement from persons and organizations in effectuating purposes of the law.
  • Administer the programs and activities relating to housing in a manner affirmatively to further the policies of this Chapter.

Section 31-21-110: Gives the Commission powers to:

  • Examine and copy records.
  • Take testimony or statements.
  • Issue subpoenas.
  • Go to court to enforce subpoenas.

Section 31-21-120: Requires complaints to be in writing, filed within 180 days after alleged discriminatory housing practice occurs, and requires notice to complainant and respondent; imposes confidentiality and imposes criminal sanction for breach of confidentiality; imposes certain time requirements for completion of investigations and final administrative disposition of complaints.

Section 31-21-130: Provides for Administrative Hearings and Court Trials; establishes procedures for Hearing Panel, Pleadings, penalties for violations, Court enforcement of Commission Orders and Court Appeal process from Commission Orders.

Section 31-21-140: Establishes one year statute of limitations for filing court action and provides remedies if the Court determines the existence of violations.

Section 31-21-150: Provides for determination of other agencies having investigative authority of complaints and coordination of efforts to avoid multiple investigations.