The South Carolina Rental Lease Agreements are a set of legal forms designed to allow a property owner to temporarily lend out control of their property to a tenant. A lease will run for an amount of time specified in the agreement, at which point both landlord and tenant will have the option to renegotiate and renew or allow it to terminate. If you wish to sell or lease property in South Carolina you will need a Property Management License.
Each lease is completely unique, due to differing local laws, the intended use for the property and what kind of property it is. As such, a lease should be carefully read. A residential lease should contain fairly straightforward and easy to understand language, although a commercial lease can often be much more complicated.
Form Description Types
South Carolina Rental Laws
Laws are pursuant to South Carolina Code Ann. 27-33-10 to 27-40-940.
There are very few laws in South Carolina governing security deposits. There are no state laws capping the amount a landlord can charge for a deposit, no limits on where it can be placed and no disclosures required for where it has been put. However, under South Carolina law, the landlord is required to return the deposit within thirty (30) days after the tenant has moved out. If the landlord wishes to charge the tenant for cleaning, they must be presented with an itemized list of all repairs at that time.
In addition, if the property in question contains five (5) or more separate units, and one or more units are being charged a different security deposit than the others, the landlord is required to disclose the method by which they are calculating the cost of the deposit and must either present it to the tenants in writing or display it in a conspicuous place.
Like security deposits, there are no laws on the state level capping rent in South Carolina. How much rent is, when it is due and in what form will be specified in the lease agreement. If the tenant fails to pay their rent on time, then they may be subject to a late fee. There is no legal limit to how much can be charged for a late fee, but a late fee must be specified in the lease itself, otherwise the landlord has no right to charge a late fee.
In a Month to Month Lease, a landlord must give a tenant the same amount of notice for a rent increase as they have to for any other changes to the lease, thirty (30) days. In a One Year or longer Lease, the landlord cannot increase the rent or otherwise alter the lease until it has ended, unless a provision in the lease allows for a rent increase.
If a landlord fails to make essential repairs, such as water or heat, to the property, a tenant may withhold rent. The tenant is required to give the landlord fourteen (14) days notice before the rent is due to make a good faith effort to make the repair. Similarly, if the tenant pays for essential repairs, they may deduct the cost out of the rent, if they give the landlord fourteen (14) days written notice.
In a Month to Month Lease, the landlord may evict a tenant for any reason by giving them thirty (30) days written notice. In a One Year Lease, the process of eviction is significantly more complicated. If the tenant has failed to pay rent, the landlord must give them notification and five (5) days to pay rent or move before filing for eviction, although less than five days may be given if a conspicuous clause in the lease states so.
If there is a violation of the lease, the landlord must give the tenant a notification and fourteen (14) days to fix the violation or move before filing for eviction. However, if the tenant has received a notification for failing to pay the rent or violating the lease before in their tenancy, the landlord may serve an Unconditional Quit Notice and file for eviction if the tenant does not move out immediately.
Until the landlord has obtained an Eviction Notice from the local court system, the landlord may not tamper with utilities, install a deadbolt, remove the tenant’s property or otherwise try to force the tenant to leave.
In South Carolina, it is illegal to discriminate (IE refuse housing, alter rent, deny housing is available, etc.) for the following reasons:
- race, color, national origin, religion, sex, family status, physical or mental disability
- note that age, sexual orientation, gender identity and marital status are not covered
Landlord Access to Property
A landlord must provide twenty four (24) hours notice before entering the property for a non-emergency reason. Furthermore, the landlord must enter at a reasonable time and for a reasonable purpose.