Looking for clear and concise information on South Carolina landlord tenant law? Get all your answers from this plain English guide to the South Carolina Landlord Tenant Act.
SC Landlord Tenant Law:
The landlord can ask prospective tenants for application fees to cover the costs of background and credit checks. The fee amount should be reasonable - We recommend charging around $30 per applicant. If the landlord did not run any tenant screening checks, the fees should be refunded.
A background check will show a person's history of addresses, evictions, bankruptcies, judgments and liens.
A full credit report comes with a basic background check, credit check plus criminal check. A basic background check shows a person's history of addresses, evictions and bankruptcies.
Landlords do not need the tenant or applicant's consent to run background and credit checks. Fair Credit Reporting Act § 604(a)(3)(F)
The Fair Housing Act disallows landlords from discriminating against prospective renters based on their race, color, religion, sex, *familial status, national origin or physical/mental handicap. 42 U.S.C. § 3604
*Familial status - pregnant women and families with person(s) under 18.
(also known as a lease agreement or rental agreement)
Whether you're a landlord or tenant, it's important to have a written lease agreement with terms and conditions that favors you and follows your state laws.
To save time and avoid mistakes, you can customize your own lease agreement at LawDepot. This site will ask you a set of questions related to your tenancy and create a state-specific agreement based on your answers.
Before entering into a rental agreement, South Carolina landlord tenant law
requires the landlord to disclose the following to the tenant:
South Carolina landlord tenant law S.C. Code Ann. § 27-40-420 requires all tenancy agreements to contain the following details:
According to South Carolina landlord tenant law S.C. Code Ann. § 27-40-330, your lease agreement CANNOT:
The landlord can ask for any security deposit amount as long as the tenant agrees to it.
South Carolina landlord tenant law requires the landlord to inform the tenant of the terms and conditions for security deposit deductions.
Valid reasons for security deposit deductions under South Carolina landlord tenant law S.C. Code Ann. § 27-40-410 include:
The landlord is NOT allowed to take money from the security deposit due to damage from *normal wear and tear. *Normal wear and tear is the natural deterioration of the property (and its contents) from normal everyday use.
Once the lease terminates and the tenant returns the property, the landlord must send the tenant a list of security deposit deductions and refund any remaining deposit within 30 days. This list has to individually account for all damages and rent owed in writing.
If the landlord fails to follow South Carolina landlord tenant law for deducting and returning security deposit, the tenant can sue the landlord for three times the amount of security deposit wrongfully withheld plus reasonable attorney fees. S.C. Code Ann. § 27-40-410.(b)
After the landlord transfers ownership of the property to another person, the landlord will still be responsible for the tenant's deposit unless he or she does all of the following within a reasonable time:
South Carolina landlord tenant law requires the tenant to pay rent without demand
or reminders. As long as the landlord and tenant are agreeable, they
can choose the time, place and method of rent payment.
By default, rent is payable once the tenancy begins and shall be paid at the beginning of every month. Rent is to be collected at the rental property and shall be pro-rated daily. S.C. Code Ann. § 27-40-310.(c)
Charleston, South Carolina SC
There are no South Carolina landlord tenant statutes on imposing charges for late rent payments.
If the landlord wants to impose late rent charges, it has to be specified in the tenancy agreement. While there are no state laws on late fees, landlords cannot overcharge or impose unfair terms. Otherwise the tenant can refuse to pay and challenge the late fees in court.
Most states consider reasonable late fees to be around 3 to 5% of the rent amount. In addition, landlords should wait until rent payment is at least three days late before charging late fees.
There are no specific South Carolina landlord tenant statutes on raising rent.
We recommend that the landlord and tenant work out the following details and include them in the rental agreement:
The South Carolina Landlord Tenant Act S.C. Code Ann. § 27-40-440 requires the landlord to maintain the property in a safe and habitable condition:
South Carolina landlord tenant law S.C. Code Ann. § 27-40-510 also requires the tenant to keep the property in a clean and safe condition:
If the landlord fails to maintain the property (and it affects the tenant's health and safety) OR severely violates the rental agreement, the tenant can give the landlord a written notice stating the problem and giving the landlord 14 days to correct it. S.C. Code Ann. § 27-40-610
If the problem is corrected within 14 days (of the landlord receiving this notice), then the tenancy shall continue.
If the problem isn't corrected within 14 days, the tenancy shall terminate and the tenant can move out. In this case, the landlord has to return all security deposits and prepaid rents (after deductions) to the tenant.
In addition, the tenant can also sue the landlord for actual damages and obtain a court order to make the landlord comply with the rental agreement and South Carolina landlord tenant law.
If the landlord fails to provide an essential service (such as heat, water, electricity, plumbing or sanitation), the tenant may give the landlord a written notice stating the problem and EITHER
According to South Carolina landlord tenant law, the landlord is only allowed to enter the property for the following reasons [S.C. Code Ann. § 27-40-530.(a)]:
In the above situations, the landlord must inform the tenant at least 24 hours in advance before entering the property. The landlord can only enter the property with the tenant's consent and during reasonable hours. [S.C. Code Ann. § 27-40-530.(c)]
According to South Carolina landlord tenant law, the landlord or landlord's agent may enter the property without permission in the following situations [S.C. Code Ann. § 27-40-530.(b)]:
The tenant cannot deny access if the landlord has a valid reason to enter the property. Otherwise the landlord can EITHER
In addition, the landlord can also sue the tenant for actual damages and attorney fees. [S.C. Code Ann. § 27-40-780.(a)]
The landlord must have a valid reason and obtain the tenant's permission (whenever required) to enter the property. If the landlord fails to do so or harasses the tenant, the tenant can EITHER
In addition, the tenant can also sue the landlord for actual damages and attorney fees. [S.C. Code Ann. § 27-40-780.(b)]
There are no specific South Carolina landlord tenant laws on subletting.
We recommend that the landlord and tenant work out the following details and include them in the rental agreement:
Rapid City, South Dakota SD
Before terminating a tenancy, South Carolina landlord tenant law S.C. Code Ann. § 27-40-770 requires you to give the other party a written notice to quit in advance:
Week to week tenancy
Month to month tenancy
If you are the tenant, the following are the minimum number of days for giving your landlord a notice to quit:
Landlord failed to maintain property
Landlord violated tenancy agreement
Landlord entered property illegally
See Property Access
Property damage due to fire, disaster or unavoidable accident
If the property is badly damaged by fire, disaster or unavoidable accident (that is no fault of the tenant or related people), the tenant can immediately move out and stop paying rent. The tenancy shall terminate once the tenant moves out. The tenant must inform the landlord that he or she intends to terminate the tenancy within seven days of moving out. S.C. Code Ann. § 27-40-650
After the tenant moves out, the landlord must return the security deposit (after any deductions) to the tenant. The tenant won't have to pay rent starting from the date of the fire or disaster, so the landlord must also return any prepaid rent to the tenant.
If only part of the property is damaged, the tenant should move out of the damaged area. The rent amount will be lowered based on how much of the property is still livable.
According to South Carolina landlord tenant law, the following are valid reasons for evicting tenants and the minimum number of days for giving them a notice to quit:
Tenant did not pay rent
Tenant violated tenancy agreement or didn't perform duties
Whether you are a landlord evicting someone or a tenant facing eviction, it's important that you handle matters correctly according to your state laws.
If you have any questions or doubts on eviction, you can ask a local landlord tenant lawyer online.
If the tenant did not pay rent on time, the landlord can send the tenant a five day written notice to quit. This notice must state the amount of rent owed and that the rental agreement shall be terminated if rent isn't paid within five days. If the rent is paid within five days, then tenancy shall continue. S.C. Code Ann. § 27-40-710.(B)
The landlord won't have to give this written notice to quit if the he or she has given one such notice to the tenant before OR the rental agreement contains the following text:
"IF YOU DO NOT PAY YOUR RENT ON TIME
This is your notice. If you do not pay your rent within five days of the due date, the landlord can start to have you evicted. You will get no other notice as long as you live in this rental unit."
If the tenant violates the tenancy agreement in a *significant manner, the landlord can send the tenant a written 10 day notice to terminate the tenancy. *Significant manner refers to situations that affects human health and safety. S.C. Code Ann. § 27-40-710.(a)
Similarly if the tenant fails to perform his or her duties (as required by South Carolina landlord tenant law) in a significant manner, the landlord can also send the tenant a 14 day written notice to terminate the tenancy. S.C. Code Ann. § 27-40-720
This written notice has to state what is the tenant's violation or failure in duty. If the tenant corrects the problem within 14 days, then the tenancy shall continue.
According to South Carolina landlord tenant law, the landlord CANNOT force the tenant to move out by shutting off utilities (electricity, water, gas, sanitation), changing the locks, taking the tenant's belongings or taking possession of the property by force without a court hearing. S.C. Code Ann. § 27-40-660
If the landlord forces the tenant to move out with unlawful methods or shuts off utilities, the tenant can EITHER
In addition, the tenant may also sue the landlord for three month's rent OR two times actual damages (whichever is higher) plus attorney fees.
According to South Carolina landlord tenant law, the tenant has abandoned the property when one of the following conditions are met:
Once the property is abandoned, the landlord may enter it and re-rent it.
As long as the landlord makes a proper effort to re-rent the property at a fair rate, the abandoning tenant will be responsible for paying rent until the tenancy ends. If a new tenant is moving in before the tenancy ends, then the abandoning tenant can stop paying rent once the new tenant moves in. S.C. Code Ann. § 27-40-730.(c)
If the tenant's belongings are left on the property AFTER lease termination or abandonment, the landlord can dump, sell or give the belongings away if they are worth $500 or less. S.C. Code Ann. § 27-40-730.(d)
If the belongings are worth more than $500, the landlord must file a formal ejection application in court to remove them. S.C. Code Ann. § 27-37-10 to 27-37-150
South Carolina Landlord Tenant Law: South Carolina Residential Landlord and Tenant Act
Eviction: South Carolina Bar - Get Legal Help for Eviction
If you have any questions or need legal advice, you can ask a local landlord tenant lawyer online.