What is the maximum amount I can collect as a security deposit?
There is no limit to the maximum amount a landlord may collect for the security deposit.
Can I require my tenants to obtain renter's insurance?
Landlords may require tenants to obtain rental insurance, and could make the failure to do so a breach of the lease.
Do I have the right to enforce no smoking in my rental property?
A landlord may establish a “No Smoking” policy by providing so in the lease.
May I charge a late payment fee?
There is no limit placed on the amount that may be charged for a late fee, however, assessed fees should be reasonably related to the expenses the landlord incurs as a result of a late payment.
May I charge a returned payment fee?
A fee not to exceed $30.00 may be charged to the tenant for a returned check.
What is a common problem where security deposits are concerned?
At times landlords may try claiming deductions for items that are often characterized by the court as normal wear and tear. This situation may be prevented by realistically evaluating each deduction, providing proof of damage, as well as including repair receipts and pictures.
How can I end a South Carolina lease agreement?
The Notice Required to End a Lease is as Follows:
- Week-to-Week: 7 days notice is required.
- Month-to-Month: 30 days notice is required.
- Fixed Term: No additional notice is required other than what is contained in the written lease. If nothing is contained in the lease regarding notice, then the lease terminates at the end of the term.
My tenant has moved out, what shall I do with their security deposit?
Money held by the landlord as security must be returned within 30 days after termination of the tenancy and demand by the tenant, whichever is later.
- Amounts withheld by the landlord for accrued rent and damages must be itemized by the landlord in a written notice to the tenant, together with the amount due.
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 the security deposit if the landlord can prove they had no notice of the tenant's whereabouts and mailed the written notice and amount due, if any, to the tenant's last known address.
IMPORTANT: If the landlord fails to return any prepaid rent or security/rental deposit that is due to the tenant, the tenant may recover money in an amount equal to 3 times the amount wrongfully withheld and reasonable attorney's fees.
Are there circumstances where I am required to release a tenant from a lease agreement?
A landlord may be forced to release a tenant from a contractual agreement when the dwelling unit or premise is damaged and/or destroyed by fire or casualty not caused by the tenant, deeming the rental property unlivable. Additionally, a tenant may seek release from a rental agreement with the court when a landlord does not abide by the state’s landlord obligations.
How long does the eviction process take?
As with any legal matter, exact timing is almost impossible as it depends on many factors. Overall, with no complications, the eviction process usually takes approximately 4-5 weeks.
How do I tell if my tenant has “skipped” out of the apartment?
Often times it’s best to look for the obvious, such as removal of personal goods, whether or not the tenant has come back to the premises at any time during a one week period, and simply no food in the refrigerator. It’s extremely important to document all of the “proof” gathered in order to determine abandonment. When in doubt, if payment of rent has not been made, the landlord may always file for eviction.
Do I have to give the tenant notice before I enter the rental property?
Except in the case of an emergency or pursuant to a court order, the landlord may only enter the leased premises with the consent of the tenant; or without the consent of the tenant in an emergency as follows:
- Between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. for the purpose of performing certain regularly scheduled periodic services;
- Between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. for the purpose of performing services requested by the tenant.
Except in an emergency and in the limited circumstances stated above, the landlord is required to give the tenant at least 24 hours notice of the intent to enter.
Aside from the lease agreement, are there any additional documents necessary?
If the leased premises was constructed prior to 1978, the landlord must provide all tenants with the Lead-Based Paint EPA Disclosure and the Lead-Based Paint EPA Pamphlet.
Disclaimer: The information provided herein is intended as a general discussion of legal issues concerning landlord tenant law. Information provided is not legal advice or a legal opinion, and it is recommended that the reader seek independent counsel for any specific issue.