A South Carolina rental application form is a legal document that a residential landlord or property owner uses to gather information about a prospective tenant and obtain written consent to conduct a background check.
If you are part of a property management team or are a landlord and need to create your own rental application form, you'll need to know about the laws that apply. In this guide, we'll walk you through what to include in your South Carolina rental application, what not to include, how to conduct background checks, and more.
What to Include
It is important to include certain sections in your rental application form to ensure that you have enough information to do a credit check, eviction search, and more.
You will also need to provide certain disclosures so the tenant is aware of issues such as the presence of environmental hazards. We'll discuss these two elements in greater detail in the sections below.
Information a Potential Tenant Will Need to Provide
Here's a list of details to request in your rental application:
- Personal information
- Details about employment, such as the name of a current employer
- Income details
- Personal references
- Credit history
- Rental history
- Space for signature granting written consent for a credit check
Disclosures from South Carolina Landlords
It is also essential to make certain disclosures about the rental property in question in the rental application form. Be sure to include the following information if applicable:
- Potential environmental, health, and safety hazards
- Rent control rules, such as when the tenant will be expected to pay rent
- Details about the security deposit
- The condition of the rental property
- Smoking rules
- What fees apply
- Arrangements for shared utilities
- Rules governing pets on the property
What Not to Include
According to the Federal Fair Housing Act, there are certain things that a landlord may not discriminate against. It is illegal to request the following information in a South Carolina rental application form:
- Familial status
South Carolina Laws
There is no upper limit or maximum amount that a landlord may charge as a rental application fee in South Carolina. However, it is not advisable to charge exorbitant amounts.
Furthermore, the state of South Carolina does not set a limitation or maximum amount for how much a landlord may demand in the form of security deposits.
However, keep in mind that local governments may set their own restrictions, so it is important to check your local regulations before settling on an amount. There are no obligations to provide receipts for security deposits or information about security deposit holding.
Types of Background Checks
Tenant screening typically involves running three types of background checks. Let's take a closer look at them below.
- Criminal history. A criminal background check aims to find records concerning the renter in databases such as the national sex offender public registry or state court criminal records. You can simply use the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division website and sign up. Remember that you will be charged a non-refundable fee of $25 for this check.
- Credit history check. The results of this type of screening will either be a straightforward "pass or fail" report or a comprehensive credit history report with the candidate's credit score and details about their earnings, occupation, previous addresses, credit queries, and more. There are several resources online that you can use to conduct this check. However, when you sign up with DoorLoop, you'll be able to do all your checks in one place!
- Eviction check. The purpose of an eviction check is to determine whether the candidate was evicted from a rental property in the previous seven years. This will help to give property managers and landlords an idea of whether the applicant would be suitable for a lease. To conduct this search, simply visit the South Carolina Judicial Branch Case Records Search and follow the prompts to learn more about the prospective tenant's rental history.
Laws and Consent for Background Checks
According to the Federal Credit Reporting Act, prospective tenants must grant written approval before landlords may perform a credit check using the details on the filed rental application.
Moreover, the form itself may contain a declaration to that effect and a signature, or an additional consent form may be used to provide this explicit approval.
Adverse Action Notices
Suppose you need to take adverse action against a candidate to reject their application, request a higher security deposit or rental amount, or require a co-signer. In that case, you are required by law to provide them with a legal document called an adverse action notice.
The letter must include information about the consumer reporting company, a declaration that the candidate is entitled to a copy of the credit report and to contest its accuracy within 60 days, and that the consumer reporting agency did not initiate the adverse action themselves and cannot demonstrate why it was made.
Additionally, it's generally advised to include a rationale for rejection when declining a candidate.
Build Your Own
When it comes to building your own South Carolina rental application, you have a number of options. This includes:
- Creating your own from scratch
- Using a free form, such as the one we offer (PDF format/Word format)
- Building a custom South Carolina rental application using our intuitive software application
DoorLoop has a smart editor tool that you can use to create rental documents in just minutes! Contact us today to book a free demo.
Now that you have all the information you need to create a South Carolina rental application that complies with state and federal laws, you're well on your way to finding a tenant for your property!
Are eviction records public in South Carolina?
Yes, these records are available to anyone, and you can search for an eviction history within your state and across the nation.
What is a rental application used for?
Landlords use these legal documents to learn more about the applicant's:
- Credit history
- Capacity to pay the rent
- Criminal history
Do I have to create a rental application before screening a potential tenant in South Carolina?
Yes. By law, you must receive written consent before conducting a credit check in South Carolina.