South Congaree landlord arrested for renting mobile home without a business license
SOUTH CONGAREE, S.C. (WIS) - A scrutinized South Congaree landlord was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly renting out a mobile home in a park that’s closing in two months.
Landlord Naomi Halter faces the misdemeanor charge of operating without a business license.
Tuesday morning a Lexington County judge granted her a personal recognizance bond, allowing her to await her court dates outside of jail without putting down any money.
The Town of South Congaree pulled her business licenses last August and her appeal failed in November.
In denying the appeal, the South Congaree Town Council triggered an ordinance-mandated eviction process for the residents of the four impacted parks.
That includes the parks at Sana Circle, Cactus Court, Genesis Circle, and Ciera Circle. However, the council also voted to delay that process.
Town ordinances require the landlord to notify all residents they have to leave the property 30 days after the appeal hearing. However, the council voted to delay the enforcement of that ordinance until Jan. 31, 2023.
That means residents of the parks will have to leave by March 2, 2023.
The warrant for Halter’s arrest alleges from Dec. 14, 2022, through Jan. 1, 2023, by renting a mobile home in Sana Circle and taking $1,500 for a security deposit and first month of rent.
Halter’s attorney William Edwards told the judge Halter is 79 years old in poor health, and has not had criminal issues in the past.
Additionally, he said he helped arrange Halter’s surrender at the jail.
NAOMI HALTER IN JAIL: The South Congaree landlord is behind bars for operating w/o a business license (ie bringing in a new tenant when the license is revoked) @wis10 pic.twitter.com/BGYYxlZGF7— Chris Joseph WIS (@Chris_D_Joseph) January 10, 2023
WIS spoke with Edwards after the hearing and he declined to comment further.
WIS spoke with Michael Kenyon, one of the residents at the Sana Circle address. He said he and his mother moved and were in need of a place to move quickly right before the New Year.
“I worked with a guy that was renting Naomi Halter, he advised us to call her and she said she had a few trailers that were for rent,” he said.
Kenyon said his mother provided the $1,500 deposit and they moved in without doing any research into Halter’s properties.
“We had to move, we had to go and this is where we ended up,” he said.
Kenyon said an officer with the South Congaree Police Department informed them of Halter’s revoked licenses and the March move-out date.
“[My mother] broke down crying, because we finally thought we found somewhere to live for a while. She’s still got to go to work. She’s getting over COVID. I’m getting over COVID. We’re good but she’s just broken down crying, she don’t know what to do,” he said.
He said they don’t know where they will go next and are hoping to get the $1,500 back.
South Congaree Police Chief Josh Shumpert said his department was notified that Halter was continuing to rent the mobile homes after her appeal was denied.
“I don’t know, I don’t know if she doesn’t quite get it. Or she is just ignoring what the town is trying to accomplish here with wanting her to clean up her properties,” he said.
Edwards is a new attorney for Halter, and Shumpert said he has been cooperative.
“Maybe he can speak with her and maybe help her understand some more of the do’s and don’ts,” he said.
Shumpert said the department has noticed some people moving out of the mobile home parks, but it hasn’t been a “big influx.”
A WIS investigation into conditions at some of Halter’s mobile homes showed roaches, leaking wastewater and holes.
Some repairs were made after WIS visited the property.
A Lexington County magistrate found Halter in contempt of court for allowing the issue of roaches to persist, but he did allow her to pursue evictions against tenants who had illegally withheld rent.
Days after the WIS investigation, Halter’s home caught fire. The cause of the fire is undetermined and the police department has arrested approximately 11 people for attempting to burglarize it.
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