South Carolina Rental Laws

Written on August 14, 2015 by , updated on November 1, 2017

South CarolinaThis article summarizes some key South Carolina rental laws applicable to residential rental units.

The Official State Statutes and other reputable municipal sources were used to research this information. All sources are cited appropriately.

With that said, landlord-tenant laws are always changing, and may even vary from county to county. You have a responsibility to perform your own research and cautiously apply the laws to your unique situation.

If you have a legal question or concern, I only recommend contacting a licensed attorney referral service that is operated by the state bar association. This article is not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for qualified legal advice.

Official Rules and Regulations

Security Deposit:

  • Security Deposit Maximum: No statute
  • Security Deposit Interest: No statute
  • Separate Security Deposit Bank Account: No statute
  • Pet Deposits: No statute
  • Non-Refundable Fees: No statute
  • Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: 30 days after termination of the tenancy and delivery of possession and demand by the tenant, whichever is later. (§ 27-40-410(a))
    • The tenant shall provide the landlord in writing with a forwarding address or new address to which the written notice and amount due from the landlord may be sent.
    • If the tenant fails to provide the landlord with the forwarding or new address, the tenant is not entitled to damages under this subsection provided 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.
  • Permitted Uses of the Deposit: (§ 27-40-410(a))
    • Unpaid rent and/or fees
    • Damages which the landlord has suffered by reason of the tenant’s noncompliance with Section §§ 27-40-510
  • Require Written Description/Itemized List of Damages and Charges: Yes (§ 27-40-410(a))
  • Disclosure of Deposit Calculations: If landlord rents more than four adjoining units, the landlord must disclose the differing methods of calculating deposit amounts prior to signing the agreement. (§ 27-40-410(c))
  • Failure to Comply: If the landlord fails to comply with § 27-40-410(a), the tenant may recover the property and money in an amount equal to three times the amount wrongfully withheld and reasonable attorney’s fees. (§ 27-40-410(b))

Lease, Rent & Fees:

  • Rent Is Due: Rent is payable without demand or notice at the time and place agreed upon by the parties. Unless otherwise noted in writing, rent is due at the beginning of the month, and payable at the dwelling unit. (§ 27-40-310(c))
  • Rent Increase Notice: No statute
  • Rent Grace Period: No statute
  • Late Fees: No statute, but late fees can be considered “rent” for the purposes of collections (§ 27-40-210 (11))
  • Prepaid Rent: No statute
  • Application Fees: No statute. Use Cozy to avoid charging application fees because the tenant pays for the screening reports directly.
  • Returned Check Fees: $30 – avoid bad checks by using Cozy to collect rent online. (§ 34-11-70)
  • Tenant Allowed to Withhold Rent for Failure to Provide Essential Services (Water, Heat, etc.): Yes (§ 27-40-630(a)(1)) and (§ 27-40-640)
  • Tenant Allowed to Repair and Deduct Rent: No (§ 27-40-630(c))
  • Landlord Allowed to Recover Court and Attorney Fees: Yes (§ 27-40-770(c) and § 27-40-750)
  • Landlord Must Make a Reasonable Attempt to Mitigate Damages to Lessee, including an Attempt to Rerent: Yes (§ 27-40-730(c))
  • Abandonment:
    • 15 Days after Default: The unexplained absence of a tenant from a dwelling unit for a period of fifteen days after default in the payment of rent must be construed as abandonment of the dwelling unit. (§ 27-40-730(a))
    • Termination of Utilities: If the tenant has voluntarily terminated the utilities and there is an unexplained absence of a tenant after default in payment of rent, abandonment is considered immediate. (§ 27-40-730(b))
    • Personal Property: If the tenant legitimately abandoned the unit, landlord may enter the dwelling and dispose of personal property with a total value of less than $500. (§ 27-40-730(d)) Landlord cannot be liable for the disposal of property in excess of $500 unless the landlord was grossly negligent. (§ 27-40-730(f)). Also, review § 27-40-710(d).

Notices and Entry:

  • Access by the Landlord: tenant shall not unreasonably withhold consent to the landlord to enter into the dwelling unit in order to inspect the premises, make necessary or agreed repairs, decorations, alterations, or improvements, supply necessary or agreed services, or exhibit the dwelling unit to prospective or actual purchasers, mortgagees, tenants, workmen, or contractors. (§ 27-40-530(a))
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Fixed End Date in Lease: No notice is needed as the lease simply expires. I recommend giving 60 days notice anyway.
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Month-to-Month Lease: 30 days (§ 27-40-770(b))
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Week-to-Week Lease: 7 days (§ 27-40-770(a))
  • Notice of Date/Time of Move-Out Inspection: No statute
  • Notice of Termination of All Other Leases for Nonpayment: 
    • A 5 day notice can be written conspicuously in the lease so that termination can occur 5 days after rent is not paid without additional notice. Required verbiage for the lease provision can be found in § 27-40-710(b).
    • If no such notice is written in the lease, then 5 days written notice is required before lease termination and filing for eviction.
  • Termination for Lease Violation: 14 days (§ 27-40-710(a))
  • Required Notice before Entry: 24 hours notice and entry only at reasonable times (§ 27-40-530(c))
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Maintenance and Repairs (non-emergency): Yes (§ 27-40-530(a))
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Showings: Yes (§ 27-40-530(a))
  • Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: Yes (§ 27-40-530(b)(1))
  • Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: No Statute
  • Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: 24 hours (§ 27-40-530(b)(2))
  • Lockouts Allowed: No (§ 27-40-760)
  • Utility Shut-offs Allowed: No (§ 27-40-760)
  • Consequence of Self-Help Eviction: The tenant may recover possession or terminate the rental agreement and, in either case, recover an amount equal to three months’ periodic rent or twice the actual damages sustained by him, whichever is greater, and reasonable attorney’s fees. (§ 27-40-760)

Disclosures and Miscellaneous Notes:

  • Name and Addresses: Landlord must disclose to the tenant in writing at or before the commencement of the tenancy the name and address of an owner of the premises or a person authorized to act on behalf of the owner as agent, for purposes of service of process and receiving or receipting notices or demands. (§ 27-40-420)
  • Copy of the Lease: No statute
  • Domestic Violence Situations: No statute
  • Lock Changes: A tenant shall not change locks on the dwelling unit without the permission of the landlord. (§ 27-40-530(e))
  • Landlord’s Duties: (§ 27-40-440)
    • Delivery: At the commencement of the term a landlord shall deliver possession of the premises to the tenant in compliance with the rental agreement and Section 27-40-440. (§ 27-40-430)
    • Compliance: Comply with the requirements of applicable building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety;
    • Repairs: Make all repairs and do whatever is necessary to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition;
    • Common Areas: Keep all common areas of the premises in a clean and safe condition;
    • Maintenance: Maintain in good and safe working order and condition all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, and other facilities and appliances, including elevators, supplied or required to be supplied; and
    • Heat and Water: Supply running water and reasonable amounts of hot water at all times and reasonable heat except where the building that includes the dwelling unit is not required by law to be equipped for that purpose, or the dwelling unit is so constructed that heat or hot water is generated by an installation within the exclusive control of the tenant and supplied by a direct public utility connection.
  • Tenant’s Duties: (§ 27-40-510)
    • Compliance: Comply with all obligations primarily imposed upon tenants by applicable provisions of building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety;
    • Cleanliness: Keep the premises that tenant occupies and uses as clean and safe as the condition of the premises permit;
    • Trash: Dispose of all garbage and other waste in a clean and safe manner;
    • Plumbing: Keep all plumbing fixtures in the dwelling unit or used by the tenant as clean as their condition permits;
    • Appliances: Use in a reasonable manner all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and other facilities and appliances including elevators in the premises;
    • Lawful Activity: Not deliberately or negligently destroy, deface, damage, impair or remove any part of the premises or knowingly permit any person to do so; and
    • Quiet Enjoyment: Conduct himself and require other persons on the premises with tenant consent to conduct themselves in a manner that will not disturb neighbors’ peaceful enjoyment of the premises.
  • Retaliation: § 27-40-910 states that a Landlord must not terminate, increase rent, or refuse to renew a lease to a tenant (who is not in default) who has:
    1. complained to a governmental agency charged with responsibility for enforcement of a building or housing code of a violation applicable to the premises materially affecting health and safety; or
    2. the tenant has complained to the landlord of a violation of §§ 27-40.
  • Lead Disclosure:  Landlords must disclose all known lead paint hazards. Landlords must also provide tenants, as an attachment to a written lease, with an information pamphlet on lead-based paint hazards.

Court Related:

Business Licenses:

  • Business License Required: No statewide statute, but local cities and counties may have regulations and requirements. Check with your local governing authority.
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58 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Robin Bagwell

    The house was sold I live in how much time is allowed before I have to vacate the property?

  • Lisa F Smith

    Urs i had a veralb agreement with my land lord well this month was tge onlyvtime i didnt have all the money i paid him what i had and told him that i woukd get the rest of the money asap but since he took sum of the rent money can he evict me

  • Raymond Prince

    Letting someone stay at a property I own rent free . What are my rights to protect my property

    • Wendy Mcmahan

      Have a family member that lives here without any agreement. Want him to pay rent or hit the road. What should I do I’d idraw up a contract and he refuses to sign?

  • Robby Stine

    What can I do if the land lord filed an eviction notice on the grounds of refusal to pay rent, but I have all recipts???? HELP

  • Sandy Johnson

    My landlord charges me $100 a week for late fees. And my rent is $725. Is that amount right or wrong?? And can he evict me for not paying the late fees? Rent is paid up except for the late fees..

  • Kelli

    What are the rules for apt complexes when 50 units lose heat? Is there a timeframe where they are required to get the heat fixed?

  • Betty

    How often should the carpets be changed? I have lived in the apt for 3years with a pet and after being tired of their management gave them my 60 day notice, left the apt clean, agreed to the payout, but now they want me to replace the carpet.

  • Yvonne Smith

    I have a relative that lives in their personal trailer on my land. I would like the trailer and person moved off the land. A verbal agreement was made with one of the children; however, the parent refuse to move off the land even though the child does not live there for the past 15 years. How to remove the parent and trailer from the land?

  • Deborah Armstrong

    i have lived in the same home for five years. i have been looking for another rental property with the same landlord. what is considered normal wear and tear of a home that has been lived in for that amount of time with a pet?

  • Carl Chandler

    I have made a sercurity depost of 600 dollars and paid the 1st months rent for rental property I was approved agreement was agreed online proceeded to make payments.Landlord said he will mail the keys and printed contract,while waiting on delivery the packages was put on holdbecause of a law that S.C. has tenant must pay 1st and last month rent but that was not apart of the contract but I had went and paid to get the keys so I could move in on the 1st of may stll no keys and no contract ,therefor I got in touch with landlord he said utilities must be at 0 balanced before tentant is to move in ,was well part of the agreement or contract was included at the part of rent agreement

  • Jessica

    I live in a trailer and I have rented out the two bedrooms to some friends. In the lease I wrote that someone cannot stay more than 14 consecutive days… I meant that for if a family member or friend needed help/play to stay but unfortunately I did not specify. But now they have a friend that has his own place to live and vehicle but keeps coming over here. 4 people is enough and I don’t like that this guy keeps coming over, staying the night, and using electricity. The guy has stayed here two night in a row in the past 4 day and has been here every DAY. I tried to speak to my tenants /roommates that if he was gonna be here more than 3 days a week that I would have to raise rent and add him to the lease. They want to argue. What do I do?

  • John

    Lots of damage to my home. Property management doesn’t want to chip in and all their inspections say home is fine. Water damage, dumping behind fence, damaged ac unit etc. what are the remedies now that I’m back in SC?

  • Michele Gilliam

    I have been with out heat in my apartment since Oct. 22, 2018. They have had repairman checking the unit they always says it works and turns around and it will stop working. it worked consistently one time that was from November 17th-22nd it shut back off again. The landlord says that south Carolina law says they have 14 days to begin repair and they do not have to compensate for none of the inconvenience. Someone please help!!

  • Dee

    Our rent is due the 3rd of each month. I have never been late, but thus month i will (4days) & the landlord said we’d be liable for $50 per day late fee- that cannot be correct, can it? .she claims no grace period, which i can understand, but not $50 per day- that seens outrageous.

  • Tina

    I gave my notice to move out the 2nd week of November but no for sure move out date. I am a widowed, very disabled woman with a medically removed drivers license. I did say however that i would absolutely vacate the apartment by Dec. 10 and I paid for the full months rent for Dec. The only reason I stayed until now is because she said I had to pay for a full Dec even if i had moved week 2 in Nov. I live in Chronic pain so since i had to pay so much i took it slow. Now on Dec 7 she is trying to say i will probably have to pay for some of January. i have 3 college kids, I’ve never had a late payment & she knows it as she has seen my credit. This can’t be legal. I’ve rented here before under old owners.

  • Tammy Richardson

    I bought some property there is a trailer and one person living there. she only pays 100. how do I get her to move and the trailer. I have other plans for the property. I gave her notices to move the trailer and vacate. she told me she didn’t have to move. how do I get her to move now. I am not in the landlord business. I just want all my property we paid for, I been trying to get her to move for a year now. she told me I cant make her move because she pays. Honestly I don’t care about any money. I just want to have all my land I paid there any thing I can do.

  • Amy

    Is there a time frame where the landlord has to replace carpeting ? I’ve been living in my condo I rent for 5 years. I’ve had the carpets professionally cleaned 9 times in that time frame and now I am asking for it to be replaced due to normal wear and tear and I am being told the owner I rent from doesn’t have to replace it

  • Ta

    I have a question, Do I have too allow my office manager, a pre move out inspection? Or can I refuse one. How many days am I allowed too clean after moving out?

  • sandie k hood

    Can the landlord require me to professionally clean carpets at move out or keep part of deposit? Isn’t that part of normal wear and tear?

  • Shawn

    I have a rental company that handles my condo in South Carolina. They collect the rent on the 1st of each month and have always electronically paid it to me on the 15th of that month. The past 3 months of gone to the 18th, then the 22nd, and then the 25th. I contacted them and they said that by South Carolina law they can hold the rent up to 30 days before paying me. Is this true because this month I still have not been paid and tomorrow is the 30th?

  • Peanut

    Full rent paid for june.
    Handed keys june 14.
    Saw new renters in june 22.
    Will they have to return pro rate of rent?

  • Andrew Simmons

    My cousin rents a room from me but has his gf over here every weekend she is 16 she stays the night also. She comes during the week and stays the night. Is there anything I can do to keep her from staying in my house with out my consent

  • My easler

    Eviction notice issued on Aug 1 given 30 days to vacate..judge gave another 30 days to vacate.
    Tenant has damage property and changed locks, what do I do to get this tenant out other than another 30 days? Electricity turned off by utility company due to non payment

  • J. Harris

    My boyfriend comes over everyday, he’s there even when I’m not during the day but leaves every night. Lately the property manager has been harassing me about putting him on the lease but that’s not what I want. Is there anything I can do?

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