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South Carolina Landlord-Tenant Laws

South Carolina Landlord Tenant LawsThis article is intended to be an online resource for South Carolina landlords.  We summarize key South Carolina Landlord-Tenant laws that are most applicable to residential rental units.

This article is not qualified legal advice.  Individuals seeking guidance need to work with a legal advisor who is qualified in the jurisdiction.  South Carolina Landlord Tenant Laws and statutes may vary from county to county or city to city, this article provides state level laws and statutes. 

Also, laws and statutes are subject to change and may cause sections of this article to be outdated.  We provide links to assist landlords and tenants to the state statute page for further research.

Click here if you are seeking renters insurance in South Carolina.

 

Quick Facts for Real Estate Investors Considering South Carolina

South Carolina landlord-tenant laws are considered Landlord-friendly.

There are 5.2 million residents in South Carolina.  Major metropolitan markets in South Carolina are:

  1. Greenville: Estimated population of 884,975, which 31% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $797.
  2. Columbia: Estimated population of 817,488, which 32% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $891.
  3. Charleston: Estimated population of 761,155, which 36% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $1,102.
  4. Myrtle Beach: Estimated population of 449,295, which 27% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $919.
  5. Spartanburg: Estimated population of 329,136, which 31% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $788.
  6. Florence: Estimated population of 205,976, which 34% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $711.
  7. Sumter: Estimated population of 107,396, which 35% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $770.

 

Jump to Different South Carolina Landlord Tenant Laws

 

 

 

 

SECURITY DEPOSIT LAWS IN SOUTH CAROLINA

 

Does South Carolina require security deposits? 

South Carolina does not require security deposits.

 

Is a security deposit receipt required in South Carolina? 

South Carolina does not require landlords to provide a receipt of security deposit.  Although it is good practice to provide a receipt.

 

How much security deposit can a landlord charge in South Carolina? 

In South Carolina, a landlord can charge any amount for a security deposit.  Typically, landlords charge 1 to 1-1/2 months rent.

 

 

Storage Requirements for Security Deposits in South Carolina: 

No Statute.  Landlords can decide where to hold the security deposit.

 

 

Can security deposits be commingled with other assets in South Carolina? 

No Statute.  Landlords are allowed to commingle, although we recommend having a separate account specifically for your real estate portfolio.

 

Do landlords have to pay interest on security deposits in South Carolina? 

Landlords are not required to pay interest to the tenants.  No Statute.

 

When must a landlord return the deposit by in South Carolina? 

In South Carolina, landlords have 30 days to return the security deposit.  Tenants must provide in writing their new address or forwarding address.  Failure to do so, the tenant is not entitled to damages if the landlord: (1) had no notice of the tenant’s whereabouts and (2) mailed the written notice and amount due, if any, to the tenant’s last known address.  (S.C. Code Ann. §§ 27-40-410(a))

 

When can a landlord in South Carolina withhold security deposit?

At the end of a lease, the landlord is required to return the tenant’s security deposit.  However, landlords may withhold all or portions of a tenant’s security deposit if (S.C. Code Ann. §§ 27-40-410(a)):

 

 

 

 

Nonrefundable fees: 

No Statute.  Landlords can charge any non-refundable fees they deem fit.

 

Pet Deposits and Additional Fees:

South Carolina has no pet deposit.statutes.  Landlords are allowed to charge a non-refundable fee for pets.

 

Require written description / itemized list of damages and charges?

Landlords are required to provide a written and itemized list of damages. (S.C. Code Ann. §§ 27-40-410(a))

 

What happens to South Carolina landlords that fail to comply returning the security deposit?

Tenants may recover the property and money in an amount equal to three times the amount wrongfully withheld and reasonable attorney’s fees.  This includes prepaid rent and security deposits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RENTAL AGREEMENT LAWS IN SOUTH CAROLINA

 

Rental agreements required in South Carolina:

Rental agreements are required for leases 12 months or longer.  We always recommend having a legal lease agreement to prevent future complications.

If you need a lease, Burbz offers an online South Carolina rental lease agreement.

 

What are the required lease provisions in South Carolina?

South Carolina requires certain provisions to be included in the lease agreement.  Besides both the landlord and tenant names, the landlord should also list:

  • Description of leased property and premises
  • Rent Amount and Due Date
  • Security deposit amount and terms
  • Process for requesting maintenance and repairs

It is also strongly recommended to include these provisions:

  • Landlord’s responsibilities
  • Tenant’s responsibilities
  • Late Fees and Penalties
  • Pet policies
  • Cleaning Fees
  • Other fees

 

 

 

 

 

What are the rental agreement notice requirements in South Carolina: 

Fixed-End or Year-to-Year: Leases simply expire upon the stated date for fixed-end, no notice required.  In general, 30 days notice is common practice for landlords.

Month-to-Month: At least 30 days. (S.C. Code Ann. §§ 27-40-770(b))

Week-to-Week: At least 7 days. (S.C. Code Ann. §§ 27-40-770(a))

What happens when the tenant remains without consent after the rental agreement expires or terminates?

No Statute.

 

 

Does the lease automatically renew in South Carolina? 

Leases terminate upon expiration unless stated in the lease.

 

Rent Increase Notice:

No Statute.

 

Rent Grace Period for Residential:

No Statute.  South Carolina Landlord Tenant Laws does not state any grace period requirements.

 

Rent Grace Period for Manufactured Homes:

No Statute.  South Carolina Landlord Tenant Laws does not state any grace period requirements.

 

 

Prepaid Rent:

No Statute.  Landlords may accept prepaid rent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

LATE FEES AND LIMITS IN SOUTH CAROLINA

Late Fees for Residential:

Landlords are allowed to charge late fees, South Carolina law has no statute.  Late fees are also considered “rent”, according to (S.C. Code Ann. §§ 27-40-210 (11))

 

Late Fees for Manufactured Homes:

No Statute.

 

 

 

Limits to late fees in South Carolina:

No Statute.  Generally, landlords utilize a 5-10% of rent or flat $25-35 fee.  It is best to include a Late Fee / Penalty clause in the lease agreement.

 

 

SOUTH CAROLINA LEASE TERMINATIONS / NOTICES TO QUIT

 

In South Carolina, lease agreements between landlords and tenants can be terminated.  Read our blog for landlords about handling early lease terminations.  Here are the cause and effects:

 

What is the Pay or Quit for Nonpayment requirement in South Carolina?

South Carolina requires a 5 day notice to pay rent.  Landlords need to include the follow provision in the rental agreement and provide on the notice ( S.C. Code Ann. §§ 27-40-710(b)):

“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.”

 

How many days must a landlord allow before terminating for a Lease Violation?

Landlords must provide a 14 day notice to cure, allowing the tenant to remedy the issue.  (S.C. Code Ann. §§ 27-40-710(a))

 

 

South Carolina allows immediate lease termination if the tenant is responsible for:

  • Drug activity

 

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How many days when terminating for illegal drug-related activities?

Tenants using, possessing or selling illegal drugs on premises can have their lease terminated with immediately.  Landlords can provide an Unconditional Quit Notice and file an eviction lawsuit.

 

 

 

 

SOUTH CAROLINA LAWS ON REPAIRS

 

South Carolina requires landlords provide a habitable property for tenants to live and enjoy.  There are specific provisions defining how tenants can remedy repairs if the landlord fails to do so.  Any mechanic lien’s arising from tenant’s hiring contractors are unenforceable.

How many days must the tenant give for non-emergency repairs? 

Tenants must provide notice to their landlords, however no specific time is defined.  (S.C. Code Ann. §§ 27-40-630(a)(1))

 

Can tenant without rent for landlords’ failure to provide essential services (i.e. water, heat, etc.)?

Tenants are allowed to deduct any repair costs but need the landlords consent.  Tenant cannot without hold rent. (S.C. Code Ann. §§ 27-40-630(c))

 

 

If the landlord fails to take necessary action, then the tenants can legally:

Tenants can recover damages based on the fair market value of the dwelling unit and reasonable attorney’s fees. (S.C. Code Ann. §§ 27-40-630(c))

 

 

 

SOUTH CAROLINA LANDLORD RESPONSIBILITIES

What must the landlord provide in good and working order?

South Carolina defines certain responsibilities for landlords, including:

  • Must comply with all applicable building codes affecting health and safety
  • Make all repairs and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition
  • Provide running water and reasonable amounts of hot water and heat at all times
  • Keep all common areas of the premise in a safe and clean condition, for properties with four or more units

According to (S.C. Code Ann. §§ 27-40-440)

 

Do landlords have to provide appliances and services?

No Statute.

 

 

 

 

SOUTH CAROLINA TENANT LAWS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

 

Tenant must maintain a fit and habitable premise and is prohibited from intentionally or negligently damaging or removing any part of the premise.  Tenants must conduct themselves and others in a manner not to disturb the neighbor’s peaceful enjoyment of their premises.  (S.C. Code Ann. §§ 27-40-510)

 

 

 

 

 

SOUTH CAROLINA EVICTION LAWS

 

South Carolina requires a landlord to file an Eviction Lawsuit action to evict a tenant.  

Landlords may evict tenants for the following:

  • Unpaid rent
  • Breach of lease agreement
  • Violent acts towards tenants, landlords or others
  • Illegal drug activity: possession, manufacturing or selling

 

Can landlords do a ‘self help’ eviction?

In South Carolina, it is illegal for landlords to attempt to evict a tenant not through a court order.  Tenants may be awarded an amount equal to three months’ rent or twice the actual damages sustained, plus reasonable attorney fees.  (S.C. Code Ann. §§ 27-40-760)

Are landlords allowed to lock out tenants by changing locks?

Landlords cannot change locks. (S.C. Code Ann. §§ 27-40-760)

Are landlords allowed to turn off utilities?

Landlords cannot turn off utilities. (S.C. Code Ann. §§ 27-40-760)

Tenants may not be evicted for non-payment of rent if:

Tenants can stop the eviction process by paying the remainder of their unpaid rent, plus late fees, five days after receiving their notice.

 

Do landlords have to make a reasonable attempt to mitigate damages when re-renting the rental unit?

Yes.  (S.C. Code Ann. §§ 27-40-730(c))

 

 

 

SOUTH CAROLINA LAWS ON RETALIATION

 

South Carolina laws state a landlord cannot terminate a lease, refuse a lease renewal or raise rents when:

 

  • Tenant submitted a complaint to government agency for building or health code violation
  • Tenant has sent written complaints to the landlords about repairs

 

South Carolina does not define a period of time that would result in a retaliatory action.  Landlords who retaliate or tenants who report in bad faith, can be required to pay landlords three month’s rent or treble the actual damages, whichever is greater.   (S.C. Code Ann. §§ 27-40-910)

 

 

 

 

LAWS ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, SEXUAL MISCONDUCT, AND SEXUAL ASSAULT

 

South Carolina has no statutes to protect a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, rape or stalking.  Burbz encourages landlords to work with these victims in good faith and help prevent or reduce the situation.  This includes changing locks or letting the victim out of their lease agreement to find a safer home.

 

 

 

SOUTH CAROLINA LAWS FOR LOCKS AND LANDLORDS

 

Are landlords requested to change locks before new tenants:

No Statute.  Before new tenants moves in, landlords are not required to change the locks.  It is always recommended to do so.

 

 

Are landlords required to install any specific security device:

No Statute.

 

 

Do landlords have to change locks for domestic violence victims:

No Statute.

 

 

 

 

 

SOUTH CAROLINA PET LAWS & PET POLICIES

South Carolina Landlord-Tenant Laws does not have any specific pet laws.  Landlords are legally allowed to create their own pet policies and requirements.  Including tolerance for breeds, size, types, and more.  Read our guide to pet policies.

 

 

Any limitations on pets that landlords can impose?

No Statute.

 

 

What are the max pet deposits in South Carolina:

No Statute for max deposits.  Landlords can also charge non-refundable fees. 

 

 

 

 

DO LANDLORDS IN SOUTH CAROLINA NEED A RENTAL LICENSE?

 

According to South Carolina Landlord-Tenant Laws, landlords do not need a rental license in South Carolina.

Landlords and owner of a residential rental property do not need to register the property.  Local cities may have different requirements, we recommend you research the local city specific laws.

 

 

 

 

 

NOTICE OF ENTRY LAWS IN SOUTH CAROLINA

Do landlords in South Carolina have to provide notice of entry? 

South Carolina does require landlords to provide any notice.  However, it is recommended that landlords provide 24 hours’ notice for normal circumstances entry.    This includes:

  • Non-emergency maintenance and repairs
  • Improvements to property
  • Inspections
  • Showing prospective tenants, contractors, mortgagees or buyers.

 

When can a landlord enter without notice:

Landlords are allowed to enter without consent of the tenant:

  • Emergency-prospective changes in weather conditions
  • From 9:00am to 6:00pm, for the purpose of routine services such as changing air filters, pest treatment.  This must be written into the rental agreement
  • From 8:00am to 8:00pm, for the purpose of providing services requested by the tenant

 

 

 

Can landlords enter for non-emergency maintenance and repairs?

Yes.  (S.C. Code Ann. §§ 27-40-530(a))

 

 

Can landlords enter for showings?

Yes.  (S.C. Code Ann. §§ 27-40-530(a))

 

 

 

Can landlords enter for emergencies without notice?

Yes.  (S.C. Code Ann. §§ 27-40-530(b)(1))

 

 

Can landlords enter during Tenant’s extended absence?

No Statute.

 

 

Can landlords enter for pesticide use?

Yes.  Must be written into the lease for no notice, or requires a 24 hour notice.  (S.C. Code Ann. §§ 27-40-530(b)(2))

 

 

 

 

SOUTH CAROLINA SUBLEASE AND ASSIGNMENT PROVISIONS

Is subleasing permitted?

Yes, there is no statute.

 

 

Do you need the landlord consent?

If the lease includes a clause stating the landlord allows or requires consent.

 

 

Can the LL / lease prohibit subletting?

Yes, there is no statute.  Landlords should include language in their rental agreement to prohibit without approval.

 

 

 

 

TENANT ABANDONED PROPERTY IN SOUTH CAROLINA

 

South Carolina Landlord-Tenant Laws does specific procedures that landlords must follow when tenants leave belongings.  This may be from evictions or moving out at the expiration of lease.

 

How long must landlords hold Tenant’s personal property?

Landlords must hold onto the tenants personal belongings 15 days after posting a written inside inside and outside of the property.  If tenant has voluntarily terminated utilities and there an an unexplained absence, the 15-day period does not apply.  (S.C. Code Ann. §§ 27-40-730(a))

 

How long notice must landlords give if law enforcement has legally locked them out?

No Statute.

 

Can the landlords sell property to pay for outstanding debts?

No Statute.  Landlords may dispose of personal property with a total of less than $500.

 

What happens to excess proceeds?

No Statute.

 

How long must landlords keep records of the sale for?

No Statute.

 

Landlord must store the tenant’s abandoned property where:

No Statute.

 

 

 

Are the landlords liable for damage?

No Statute.

 

 

 

 

REQUIRED RENTAL AGREEMENT DISCLOSURES FOR SOUTH CAROLINA LEASES

 

South Carolina Landlord-Tenant Laws requires the following be included with all Rental Agreement Disclosures:

 

Name and Address:  Must disclose the name and address of the owner or a person authorized to act on their behalf.  (S.C. Code Ann. §§ 27-40-420)

Lead Paint Disclosure:  Yes.  Federal law requires every landlord to disclose known information on lead-based paint and hazards.  Landlords must provide this EPA-approved pamphlet.

 

 

HELPFUL RESOURCES

S.C. Code Ann. S.C. Code Ann. §§S.C. Code Ann. §§ 27-40 – Residential Landlord and Tenant Act

Fair Housing Law

Uniform Unclaimed Property Act

South Carolina Insurance Division

South Carolina Consumer Guide to Homeowner and Tenant Insurance

 

 

SOUTH CAROLINA RELATED COURT INFO & LINKS

South Carolina Small Claims Court Limits:

$7,500 is the limit for small claims court.

 

 

South Carolina Eviction Cases Allowed in Small Claims:

Yes.

South Carolina Magistrate’s Court

South Carolina Judiciary Department

South Carolina Attorney General

South Carolina Bar Association

South Carolina Bar Association – Find a Lawyer

South Carolina Legal Services

 

 

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