A South Carolina rental lease agreement is a legal document drafted between the landlord (lessor) and the tenant (lessee).
The landlord and the tenant are free to include any provision in their lease agreement that is not declared illegal by federal and state laws and regulations. The South Carolina lease agreement usually includes the following:
Names and addresses of the landlord and the tenant
Information about the leased property
Lease duration and occupancy limit
Rent amount and due date
Security deposit provisions
Late and non-refundable fees provision
Mandatory disclosures provided by federal and state law
The landlord generally requires the tenant to submit the rental application before the lease agreement drafting procedure even starts. The rental application contains relevant information about the tenant, their financial information, and references from previous landlords.
After the tenant successfully passes the rental application review, the lease agreement negotiation and drafting can start.
South Carolina Lease Agreement Required Disclosures
When drafting the South Carolina lease agreement, there are three mandatory disclosures you must include, namely:
Lead-based paint disclosure. The landlord must include this disclosure in the lease agreement when renting a property built before 1978. It informs the tenant if lead-based paint is present in the property's construction or not. (Section 1018 of Title X)
Differing deposit disclosure. For lease properties with four or more units, the landlord can charge a different security deposit amount for each unit. If the landlord chooses to do so, they must disclose the criteria for calculating the security deposit for each unit and post it at the leased property or include it in the lease agreement. (§ 34-11-410a)
Property owner disclosure. The lease agreement must include the name and address of the owner of the leased property and the name and address of anyone who is allowed to act on the owner's behalf to receive notices and demands from the tenant. (§ 34-11-420)
South Carolina Lease Agreement Optional Disclosures
Additional disclosures will provide extra stability to the contractual relationship between the landlord and the tenant. Many contractual parties include some in their lease agreement, such as:
Bed bug disclosure. If there is a history of bed bug infestation at the leased unit, the landlord must inform the tenant before the lease starts. The landlord shall also provide guidelines on how to prevent bed bug infestations and how to act in case a new infestation appears.
Non-refundable fees disclosure. The landlord shall disclose all the fees charged to the tenant that will not be refunded after the lease is over. Otherwise, the tenant will be eligible for a full refund of all non-refundable fees not disclosed in the lease agreement.
Shared utilities disclosure. This disclosure shall be included if the leased unit shares the same utility meter with multiple other residential units. In that case, the tenant shall be informed about the formula for calculating the portion of the utility bill payable for the leased unit.
Consequences of Non-Disclosure
Federal law provides fines of up to $19,507 for any landlord that doesn’t include the lead-based paint disclosure in the lease agreement when the building was made before 1978 or there is a known presence of lead-based paint. (24 CFR § 30.65)
The tenant can also file a civil lawsuit against the landlord who failed to disclose the health and safety hazards, when damage was done, due to these hazards.
South Carolina Lease Agreement Security Deposits
Security Deposit Maximum
The state of South Carolina doesn’t set a security deposit maximum. Therefore, the landlord and the tenant shall negotiate a reasonable security deposit and insert it in the lease agreement.
Security Deposit Return
The landlord must return the security deposit to the tenant within 30 days from the termination of tenancy or from the moment the tenant surrenders possession of the leased unit, whichever comes first. (§ 27-40-410)
The landlord must send a list of all deductions that were made for default rent or repairs, along with the remaining security deposit amount, within the same 30-day period.
Suppose the landlord fails to return the security deposit within the provided 30-day deadline. In that case, the tenant is entitled to compensation equal to three times the wrongfully held amount, plus the reasonable attorney’s fees.
When is Rent Due in South Carolina? (Grace Period)
The rent is due on the due date provided in the lease agreement.
South Carolina provides a 5-day grace period for the rent payment. (§ 27-40-710(B))
After the grace period is over, the landlord can start charging the late fee and start the eviction by sending a 5-day notice to pay or quit.
South Carolina Rent Late Fees
State law does not specify a maximum allowed late rent fee.
If the landlord wishes to implement the late fee, a reasonable amount must be negotiated with the tenant and stipulated in the lease agreement before the lease term starts.
South Carolina NSF Checks
If the check gets rejected due to insufficient funds, the landlord can charge the tenant up to $30 for each bounced check. (§ 34-11-70)
South Carolina Landlord’s Right to Enter
The landlord must give at least a 24-hour notice to the tenant before visiting the rental property. (§ 27-40-530(c))
The visits shall also be limited to reasonable times, namely:
Between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. for providing scheduled periodic services (pest treatment, changing air-conditioner filters, etc.)
From 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. for providing services requested by the tenant
South Carolina Lease Agreement FAQ
Yes, the South Carolina lease agreement is a legally binding document.
The lease agreement will be binding for both contractual parties if they both sign it.
However, if one of the parties fails to sign the lease agreement, it can still be valid if:
The tenant didn’t sign the lease agreement but moves into the leased property and pays rent, the lease agreement will have the same effect as both parties have signed it.
The landlord fails to sign the lease agreement, the lease agreement will still be binding for them if they accept the rent payment from the tenant.
The lease agreement that is validated this way can be valid for no longer than one year. (§ 27-40-320(c))
The South Carolina lease agreement should have the following outline:
Names and addresses of the contractual parties
Information about the leased property
Lease duration and occupancy limit
Rent due, rent amount, and the method of payment
Security deposit amount
Late and non-refundable fee disclosure (optional)
Mandatory disclosures required by federal and state law
Other disclosures provided by the landlord
Rights and duties of the contractual parties
Lease agreement termination rules
The best way to get a professional South Carolina lease agreement is to download one of the templates available on our website.
This way, you will be sure your lease agreement includes all the important provisions that will protect the leased property and the rights of all the contractual parties.
After signing the South Carolina lease agreement, the landlord and the tenant shall inspect the leased property.
That way, they confirm the condition of the leased property before the tenant moves in. After the inspection, they sign the move-in form and confirm the condition of the leased property. This form will be compared with the property's condition after the tenant moves out.