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South Carolina Tenant-Landlord Law

by Caroline Merkin


Fair Housing

The Fair Housing Act was created in order to ensure that everyone is treated equally during the housing process. It protects tenants from discrimination when seraching for a rental property. At the federal level the Fair Housing Act protects the following classes…

  • Race
  • Color
  • National Origin
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Familial Status
  • Disability

Learn about fair housing at the federal level here

South Carolina protects the same categories as federal law
(S.C. Code Ann. §§ 31-21-10, et. seq)

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))


  • 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

  • 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.
  • When there is another lease violation (e.g. subletting), the tenant has 14 days to resolve the violation from the point that the eviction notice is served. Otherwise the eviction notice will be filed with the courts.

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