South Carolina Rental Lease Agreements

The South Carolina Rental Lease Agreements are contracts that form a legally-binding relationship between a landlord and tenant that is contingent on both parties upholding the terms they mutually agree upon. There are a number of provisions that are generally included in these agreements, for instance, the amount of rent to be paid and the parties’ obligations to one another.

A healthy landlord-tenant relationship requires both parties to engage in open and respectful communication with one another. Doing so will help to minimize miscommunication, conflict, and in the worst-case scenario, a legal dispute.

Types of Agreements

Commercial Lease Agreement – A rental contract that sets legal parameters for a commercial-focused, rather than residential-focused lease.

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Lease to Own Agreement – Should a landlord grant their tenant with the option of purchasing the rental dwelling, a Lease to Own Agreement is necessary to establish the conditions of this arrangement.

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Month-to-Month (Residential) Rental Agreement – As the name implies, this type of lease agreement is one which spans one month at a time.

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Roommate Agreement – Collaborating to create and uphold the rules outlined in this document is a relatively straightforward means of enhancing a cooperative atmosphere in a shared rental dwelling.

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Standard Residential Rental Agreement (Form 410) – A basic lease agreement that includes rental laws dictated by the state of South Carolina.

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Sublease Agreement – An original tenant who intends to sublease the property they lease should make a record of any relevant conditions of such an arrangement within this contract.

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What is a South Carolina Lease Agreement?

A South Carolina Lease Agreement encompasses several provisions relevant to the lease of a residential rental property. Given the legal obligations involved, a landlord should take care to select a tenant that they believe will uphold them. For this reason, landlords are advised to require each prospective tenant to each complete a rental application.

State Definition (§ 27-40-210(12)) – “means all agreements, written or oral, and valid rules and regulations adopted under Section 27-40-520 embodying the terms and conditions concerning the use and occupancy of a dwelling unit and premises.”

When is Rent Due?

According to § 27-40-310(c), rent must be paid without demand or notice at the time and place agreed upon by the parties. Unless the tenant is otherwise notified in writing, rent is payable in equal monthly installments at the beginning of each month. For terms of one month or less, rent is payable at the beginning of any term of one month or less. There is no grace period specified in South Carolina’s landlord-tenant laws.

Landlord’s Access

Emergency (§ 27-40-530(b)(1)): Landlords do not need a tenant’s consent to enter the rental dwelling at any time in emergency cases. Specifically, “in case of emergency-prospective changes in weather conditions which pose a likelihood of danger to the property may be considered an emergency.” Federal law also provides landlords a more extended right to enter without consent in any situation considered to be an emergency.

Non-Emergency (§ 27-40-530(a)): A landlord must provide the tenant with at least twenty-four (24) hours notice of their intent to enter and may enter only at reasonable times for a range of non-emergency circumstances. For instance, “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.”

Landlords do not need to give notice to tenants to provide regularly scheduled periodic services, such as “changing furnace and air-conditioning filters, providing termite, insect, or pest treatment.” That is, so long as the right to enter to provide such services is conspicuously set forth in writing in the rental agreement, and that prior to entering, the landlord announces their intent to enter to perform such services.

Required Disclosures

  • Lead Paint Disclosure: In order to comply with federal law, a landlord must disclose to a tenant if they know of any lead paint hazards present in a rental property built prior to 1978. Further to this, they must furnish the tenant with a copy of a government-issued brochure on the topic.
  • Names and Addresses (§ 27-40-420): At or before the commencement of the tenancy, the landlord must disclose in writing the names and addresses of the rental dwelling’s owner or a person who is authorized to act on their behalf.
  • Unequal Security Deposits (§ 27-40-410(c)): If a landlord rents more than four (4) adjoining dwelling units on the premises, and uses different standards for calculating security deposits for different tenants on the premises, the landlord must post a statement on the matter. That is, they must post in a conspicuous place on the premises, or at the place at which rental is paid, a statement that indicates the standards used to make the calculations, or provide each prospective tenant with a statement setting forth the standards. The landlord must do so prior to the commencement of a rental agreement.

Security Deposit Laws

Maximum: There is no state statute specifying a cap on the amount a landlord may demand from a tenant for a security deposit.

Returning to Tenant (§ 27-40-410(a)): A landlord must return a security deposit to a tenant within thirty (30) days after termination of the tenancy and delivery of possession and demand by the tenant, whichever is later. If the landlord will withhold any portion of the security deposit due to damages, the landlord must also itemize such damages in a written notice to the tenant.

The tenant must 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 they fail to and the landlord had no notice of their whereabouts and attempted to mail the notice and amount, the tenant will not be entitled to damages.

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