5 Things South Carolina Landlords Should Know About Evicting an Insolvent Tenant
When you own residential or commercial property in South Carolina, it can be extremely frustrating to realize that you have rented to a tenant who is not paying rent on time. Whether you own commercial property and have a commercial tenant or residential property with a residential tenant, you most likely rely on those rent payments as a source of your own income. Accordingly, when a tenant does not pay, you may begin looking for options to evict the tenant from the property. The following are five things that South Carolina landlords should know about evicting an insolvent tenant.
To Evict a Tenant, You Must Terminate the Tenancy with Legal Cause
To lawfully evict a tenant in South Carolina, you must terminate the tenancy, and you must have legal cause to do so. If a tenant has not paid rent, the matter of unpaid rent is one reason to terminate the tenancy.
Landlords Must Give Tenants Notice Even When the Tenant Has Not Paid Rent
Even if the tenant has not paid rent, landlords are still required to give notice to the tenant in most situations. If the tenant does not pay rent on time and unpaid rent is the reason for terminating the tenancy and moving to evict the tenant, then the landlord typically must give a five-day notice to the tenant under South Carolina law. In general, the notice must inform the tenant that, unless rent is paid within five days, the landlord can terminate the lease and begin eviction proceedings. The notice must be in writing.
However, if the tenant’s lease already makes clear that the landlord will not give a written notice for past-due rent, then that lease clause already serves as the notice and the landlord does not have to give a separate, written five-day notice, according to the South Carolina bar.
If the Tenant Pays the Rent Within Five Days, the Landlord Cannot Terminate the Lease
The point of the five-day notice is that the tenant actually has five days to pay the rent. Accordingly, if the tenant pays rent within five days, then the landlord cannot terminate the lease and bring eviction proceedings.
To Evict a Tenant for Nonpayment of Rent, a Landlord Must File an Eviction Lawsuit
The ejectment of a tenant under South Carolina law, or eviction of a tenant, can only happen if a landlord files a lawsuit to evict the tenant. Once the tenant has not paid rent according to the terms of the lease of after the five-day notice, then the landlord can start this process.
Landlord Must Win an Eviction Lawsuit to Remove a Tenant from the Property
A landlord cannot simply remove a tenant from the property because of nonpayment of rent. Instead, the landlord must file an eviction lawsuit and must win that lawsuit before removing the tenant from the property. Then, the landlord is not permitted to physically remove the tenant himself or herself. Instead, a law enforcement official must be the one to handle the actual removal.