South Carolina Eviction
UPDATED: February 13, 2020
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In South Carolina, as long as a landlord follows the law, he or she can evict any tenant for a breach of the lease. However, the landlord must follow the proper legal steps for evicting the tenant. If the landlord uses self-help methods, such as shutting off the utilities or locking the tenant out, the landlord may be liable for damages to the tenant. It is important to note that different Magistrate Courts in South Carolina may have different procedural requirements, so be sure to pay attention to the specifics of the forms you get from your local court.
Available South Carolina Termination Notices
Generally, leases in South Carolina will contain a notice clause that informs the tenant that the landlord will evict the tenant if the tenant is more than 5 days late on his or her rent. This is enough legal notice for landlords who want to evict a tenant for failure to pay rent. After the 5 day period is up, the landlord can file an eviction action.
If the landlord wants to evict for a reason other than failure to pay rent (such as holding over after the lease has expired or for another breach of the lease), the landlord must give 14 days notice. This notice is a notice to remedy or quit, meaning that the tenant can fix the breach within 14 days to avoid eviction. Notice requirements are further explained by S.C. Code of Laws 27-40-710.
Eviction actions in South Carolina are generally handled by the Magistrate Courts, but they may also be handled by the Circuit Courts. You can find your local Magistrate Court at the South Carolina Courts website. Some forms are also available online. Although it might seem easy to fill out a form and get your tenant evicted, events sometimes do not unfold as smoothly as you hope. If you are unsure of the termination and/or eviction process at any point, you may wish to seek the advice of an experienced South Carolina landlord tenant attorney. Be sure to refer to Questions to Ask Your South Carolina Evictions Lawyerwhen speaking with an attorney.
Self-Help Evictions in South Carolina
Under no circumstances may South Carolina landlords use self-help to evict a tenant. The landlord may not lock out the tenant or shut off utilities as a way to force the tenant to pay rent or get out. If the landlord uses a self-help method, the tenant may be entitled under S.C. Code of Laws 27-40-630 to:
- Rent deductions; and
- Actual damages.
Questions to Ask Your South Carolina Evictions Lawyer
- How many evictions cases have you handled?
- How many were successful/unsuccessful?
- How long will the eviction process take?
- For tenants: How long do I have before I MUST move out?
- For landlords: Will I be able to get a judgment for back rent for the amount of time the tenant has been living in the rental property illegally?
- What do you charge?
- For landlords: If I hire you, will I be subject to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)?