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State Laws

South Carolina Landlord Tenant Laws

January 20, 2023

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Quick Facts

Required Disclosures

Lead-based paint
Landlord/agent ID
Unequal security deposits

Rent and Fees

Application Fees: Permitted
Rent Control: N/A
Late Fee Limit: N/A
Grace Period Minimum: N/A

Security Deposits

Amount Limit: N/A
Interest: N/A
Return Within: 30 days

Entry

Notice: 24 hours’
Permitted Times of Entry: Reasonable
Fair Housing Protections

Race
Color
National origin
Religion
Sex
Familial status
Disability

Evictions

Rent Demand Notice: 5-day pay-or-quit notice
Notice for Lease Violation: 14-day cure-or-quit notice
Unconditional Notice to Quit: Immediate

South Carolina Landlord-Tenant Law 

Understand South Carolina landlord tenant law before enforcing your own rental policies. Find more information in the South Carolina state law code.  

Required Disclosures 

Lead-based paint  

(Title X, Section 1018

Landlords in all 50 states must include information about lead-based paint hazards in the rental agreements for most properties built before 1978. Sellers and landlords must distribute an EPA-approved information pamphlet called “Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home” and disclose any known lead hazards in the property. These obligations were established by Section 1018 of the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992. 

Landlord/Agent Identification 

(SC Stat. § 27-40-420

The landlord must disclose in each rental agreement the name and address of the owner or the person authorized to act on their behalf, as well as the person responsible for receiving notices. 

Unequal Security Deposits 

(SC Stat. § 27-40-410

According to South Carolina rental law, if the landlord rents four or more adjoining units with different security deposit requirements, they must disclose the method of calculating deposits. Prior to entering any rental agreement, the landlord must post this statement in a conspicuous place on the premises. 

Rent and Fees 

  • Rent Due Date: Rent in California is due on the date specified in the lease agreement. If the lease does not specify, rent is typically due on the first of the month. 
  • Application Fees: Rental application fees are not regulated in South Carolina.  
  • Rent Increases: There is no statewide rent control in South Carolina. 
  • Late Fees: There are no statutory limits on late fees in South Carolina. 
  • Grace Period: There is no mandatory grace period in South Carolina when rent is due. 
  • NSF/Bounced Check Fee Maximum: If the tenant’s rent check bounces, the landlord may charge a fee of $30 (SC Stat. § 34-11-70(a)). 
  • Withholding Rent/Repair and Deduct: If the landlord fails to provide essential services, the tenant may give notice to the landlord and either arrange for reasonable amounts of the service and deduct the cost from the rent, or recover damages based on the fair market value of the property. However, tenants may not make repairs on the rental property and deduct the cost from the rent (SC Stat. § 27-40-630). 

Security Deposits 

  • Deposit Limit: There is no limit on security deposits in South Carolina. 
  • Interest: Landlords are not required to pay tenants interest on security deposits. 
  • Return Within: 30 days (SC Stat. § 27-40-410). 
  • Deposit Location: Landlords are not required to keep security deposits in a separate bank account. 
  • Withholding: Landlords may withhold funds from the security deposit for unpaid rent and damages beyond those considered standard wear and tear. Landlords must also include an itemized list of deductions along with the remainder of the security deposit.  

Tenant Screening and Fair Housing Protections 

Protected Classes 

  • Federal law prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, religion, gender, national origin, familial status, and disability (Title 24 USC § 3601-3607). South Carolina state law reaffirms these protections (SC Stat. § 31-21-40). 

Credit Reports 

  • South Carolina landlords are subject to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) (15 USC § 1681), which outlines the responsibilities of landlords to protect tenant credit information. According to the Act, landlords may not share tenant credit information with anyone without a legal reason to view it. They must also investigate disputed information, dispose of credit reports after use in tenant screening, and notify applicants when their credit score or history was the reason for their denial. 

Criminal Histories 

  • Criminal background checks may be used during tenant screening in South Carolina. 
  • South Carolina landlords should follow HUD recommendations for using criminal background checks fairly. This includes avoiding blanket policies for denying applicants with criminal convictions, assessing applicants and their criminal histories on a case-by-case basis, and only denying an applicant when they demonstrate a risk to the safety of other residents or the property. 

Entry 

  • Advanced Notice: 24 hours’ (SC Stat. § 27-40-530(c)). 
  • Permitted Times: Landlords may only enter at reasonable times (SC Stat. § 27-40-530(c)). Entry without consent is also permitted between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. to provide regularly scheduled maintenance services and between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. to provide services requested by the tenant. However, a provision for entry in these circumstances must be included in the agreement, and the landlord must also announce their intent to do so (SC Stat. § 27-40-530(b)(1-2)). 
  • Emergency Entry: In case of emergency, the landlord may enter without advanced notice or consent (SC Stat. § 27-40-530(b)(1)).  

Evictions 

  • Rent Demand Notice: 5 days to pay or quit (SC Stat. § 27-40-710(B)). 
  • Notice for Lease Violation: 14 days to cure or quit (SC Stat. § 27-40-710(A)). 
  • Unconditional Notice to Quit: Immediate. According to South Carolina eviction laws, if the tenant participates in illegal activity on the premises, the landlord may issue an unconditional notice to quit and begin the eviction process immediately (SC Stat. § 27-40-710(B)). 

Other Laws and Facts about South Carolina 

  • The median rent rate in South Carolina is $1,775. 
  • The median rent rate in Charleston is $2,784. 
  • Rental units are considered abandoned when the tenant remains absent from the rental unit for more than 15 days without explanation. If the tenant does abandon the unit, the landlord has the right to dispose of personal property with a fair market value of less than $500 (SC Stat. § 27-40-730). 

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