What Is the Landlord Tenant Act?
The South Carolina Residential Landlord and Tenant Act is a set of state laws establishing landlords’ and tenants’ rights and responsibilities in the Palmetto State. It covers issues including the rental agreement, security deposits, rent, repairs, and eviction, among others.
Under the Act, landlords must maintain the rental property in a habitable and livable condition and must make any necessary repairs in a timely manner. They must also follow certain procedures for collecting and returning security deposits.
Tenants are responsible for paying rent on time and maintaining the rental property. They must also follow any rules and regulations outlined in the rental agreement.
If a dispute arises between a landlord and tenant, either party may seek resolution through the court system.
What Duties Do Landlords Owe Tenants Under the Landlord Tenant Act in SC?
Under the South Carolina Residential Landlord Tenant Act, landlords have several obligations to their tenants, including:
- Duty to maintain the rental unit: Landlords are required to make sure the rental unit is safe and habitable. This includes making necessary repairs and maintaining the plumbing, electrical, and other essential systems in good working order.
- Duty to provide essential services: Landlords must provide essential services, such as heat, water, and electricity, to the rental unit.
- Duty to disclose names of agents: Landlords must advise tenants of the names and addresses of the owners of the premises or another party who is authorized to act as an agent that will receive notices and service of process.
- Duty to protect tenant privacy: Landlords are required to respect their tenants’ privacy and may not enter the rental unit without the tenant’s consent, except in emergency situations or for the purposes of routine maintenance between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. or at the tenant’s request for services between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.
- Duty to return security deposits: Landlords must return security deposits to tenants within 30 days of the tenant vacating the rental unit, provided the tenant advises the Landlord of a forwarding address or the new address where the money should be sent. The Landlord must also provide the tenant with an accounting of any amounts withheld from the security deposit.
What Rights Does a Landlord Have If a Tenant Violates the Landlord-Tenant Act
In South Carolina, if a tenant violates the landlord-tenant act, the landlord may be able to evict the tenant. However, the landlord must follow the proper legal procedures for eviction. This generally involves giving the tenant a written notice stating the reason for the eviction and allowing the tenant a certain amount of time to correct the violation (if it is something that can be corrected).
If the tenant does not correct the violation or vacate the property, the landlord can file a lawsuit to evict the tenant. It is important to note that landlords cannot evict tenants for retaliatory or discriminatory reasons or without a valid legal justification.
How Long Will It Take to Evict a Tenant In South Carolina?
The process for evicting a tenant in South Carolina varies depending on the circumstances of the case and the specific procedures of the county where the property is located. However, in general, the process for evicting a tenant in South Carolina follows these steps:
- Application for ejectment – The landlord files an application for ejectment with the appropriate magistrate (§ 27-37-20). The magistrate will then determine whether a landlord-tenant relationship exists and what rent, if any, is due.
- Serve the tenant with a Rule to Show Cause – After making a determination that rent is due, the magistrate will issue a written rule requiring the tenant to either vacate the premises or to show cause within ten days why they should not be ejected. (§ 27-37-20). The notice should be personally served on the tenant as soon as possible. Section 27-37-30 authorizes service of the Rule to Show Cause by posting the notice or mailing it if two attempts to serve are unsuccessful.
- Tenant response – The tenant has ten days to request a hearing to show cause. If the tenant is served by mailing, the tenant is considered served on the 11th day after mailing or the first contact by the tenant with the court, whichever is earlier.
- Hearings – If a hearing is requested, the court will schedule it for a later date. If no hearing is requested, the written warrant will be available on the 11th day after service.
- Obtain a judgment – If the judge rules in favor of the landlord, the court will issue a judgment for possession of the property.
- Request a writ of possession -If the tenant does not vacate the property after the judgment is issued, the landlord can request a writ of possession from the court. This writ allows the landlord to have the tenant forcibly removed from the property by the sheriff or constable.
Overall, the timeline for evicting a tenant in South Carolina is highly dependent on the circumstances of the case and the procedures of the specific jurisdiction where the property is located. It is always a good idea to consult with an experienced attorney like those at Crawford von Keller, LLC if you need to evict a tenant. Our South Carolina lawyers have extensive experience with Landlord-Tenant matters and can help you prepare and serve the appropriate documents and can represent you in court if the tenant contests the eviction. Contact us by phone or online for a confidential consultation to discuss your situation and how we could help.