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South Carolina Tenant-Landlord Law

by Caroline Merkin

Security Deposits

  • collection of security deposits Not required, but most landlords require them to prove a tenant’s financial stability and guarantee a payment for damaged property.
  • Security deposit maximum: There is no limit on what a landlord may charge for a deposit.
  • Security deposit seperate from other funds: There are not statutes regarding placing a deposit in a separate account from other assets, so the landlord is allowed to commingle.
  • Returning the security deposit: A landlord must return the deposit within 30 days of the tenant moving out. (§ 27-40-410(a))
    • A forwarding address must be provided by the tenant.
    • If the landlord believes the deposit shouldn’t be returned in full, an itemized list of damages and charges must be provided. (§ 27-40-410(a))
    • If a landlord fails to do so, the tenant may recover the property and three times the amount wrongfully withheld along with reasonable legal fees. (§ 27-40-410(b)

Rent and Late Fees

  • Rent is due: At the beginning of the month, unless otherwise stated and agreed upon in the lease. (§ 27-40-310(c))
  • Rent control: There is no rent control or limit required by the state.
  • Late fees or grace periods: There are no statutes regarding grace periods or late fees. (§ 27-40-210 (11))
  • Withholding rent: A tenant can withhold rent for a landlord’s failure to provide essential services, such as water and heat. (§ 27-40-630(a)(1)) and (§ 27-40-640)

Notices and Entry

  • Termination fixed end lease: If a landlord wishes to terminate a fixed end date lease no notice is required.
  • Termination of month-to-month lease: If a landlord wishes to terminate a month to month lease early, a notice must be given 30 days prior to termination (§ 27-40-770(b))
  • Termination of week-to-week lease: If a landlord wishes to terminate a weekly lease early, a notice must be given 7 days prior to termination (§ 27-40-770(a))
  • Entering the premise: A landlord must give 24 hour notice, prior to entering a property at a reasonable time. (§ 27-40-530(c))
  • Entry for repairs and showcasing: allowed with notice. (§ 27-40-530(a))
  • Entry in case of emergency: Emergency entry is allowed without notice. (§ 27-40-530(b)(1))

Disclosures

  • Disclosing lead: A landlord is required to disclose any known presence of lead paint on the property. If there is a presence of lead paint in the unit or common area, the lease must include a federally-approved attachment on lead poisoning prevention.
  • Disclosing authorized personnel to tenant: A landlord must also disclose the name and address of the property owner and anyone authorized to manage the property. (§ 27-40-420)

Eviction Laws

Eviction Step #1: Inform your tenant with an official notice

An official notice is posted to the tenant. Typically, although this varies based State and county, the landlord hands the notice to the tenant in person, or posts the notice to the door if the tenant is not home. You also may need to send a copy via certified mail.

Eviction Step #2: Wait for the tenant to respond

When it is failure to pay rent, the tenant has 5 days to pay you otherwise the eviction notice can be filed with the courts (§ 27-40-710(b)). When there is lease violation, the tenant has 14 days to remedy or quit (§ 27-40-710(a)).

Eviction Step #3: File With Court

If the tenant has not paid you within the time period outlined in Step #2, then file with the local courts for the official eviction. Both you and the tenant will receive a specific date for the hearing.

Eviction Step #4: Attend the court date

You or your lawyer will want to attend the court hearing and bring proper documentation of the lease violation with you. You should prepare to bring the following, at a minimum:

  1. Your lease agreement
  2. Evidence of payment failures / history
  3. Proof that you served the tenant (Step #1)
  4. Any communications or other helpful records

Eviction Step #5: Sheriff to remove the tenant

If the tenant does not leave on their own, then you have a right, within a certain amount of time, to request for a sheriff to remove the tenant.

Eviction Step #6: Collecting damages

Most likely, the tenant owes you money for the lease violation. Here are some ways to collect money from the damages:

  1. Garnish wages
  2. File in small claims court
  3. Use a private debt collector

For more information on South Carolina Landlord Tenant laws please visit their website here.