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If you're the new owner of a rental business or property in South Carolina, you'll need to know how to draw up a lease agreement. These contracts are legally binding and work for the benefit of the landlord and tenant.

This guide will provide you with all the vital information you need to draw up a detailed South Carolina residential lease agreement to safeguard your business.

Rental Agreements

A South Carolina lease agreement is a legal contract that includes the terms and conditions of a lease. The tenant agrees to pay the landlord a monthly payment in exchange for using a residential property for a predetermined period.

Before drawing up an agreement, landlords will accept a South Carolina rental application and run a background check on the prospective tenant to assess his or her income and credit score. When creating a rental agreement, landlords need to consider South Carolina's landlord-tenant laws.

Contract Types

There are several different types of rental agreements in South Carolina. Although we'll cover standard residential agreements in the rest of the article, we'll give you a brief overview of the other types, so you'll know which one applies.

Standard Residential Lease Agreement

This lease contract is between a residential property owner or landlord and a tenant for a home or rental unit lease.

South Carolina Sublease Agreement

With the landlord's consent, a tenant may lease a portion of or the entire space to a third party. Sublease contracts will detail the terms of the agreement.

Commercial Lease Agreement

A commercial agreement is drawn up between a landlord and a business for the use of commercial or non-livable space.

South Carolina Roommate Agreement

This lease contract applies for a rental property shared by two tenants.

Month-to-month Agreement

These agreements are valid for 30 days and are typically renewed every month.

What to Include

According to South Carolina rental laws, there is certain information that must be included in South Carolina lease agreements. In addition to basic details, such as the names and addresses of both parties, here are other essential details to include in your rental contract:

Security Deposit

One important factor to discuss in your rental agreement is security deposits. Maximum security deposit amounts do not apply when it comes to security deposits in South Carolina.

However, state law requires landlords to return a tenant's security deposit within 30 days after the tenant vacates the property. This must be mentioned in the lease contract.

Rent

The rental price must be explicitly stated in the rental agreement. It should also mention when the tenant is expected to pay rent and what fees will be charged for late-payments and bounced checks.

Moreover, landlords in South Carolina have the authority to raise rent prices at any time without warning or reason.

Charging fees, which are not capped by the state in most circumstances, have a similar level of discretion. The only exception is returned check costs, which are capped at $30 per occurrence.

Landlords must also provide information about the eviction process and lease termination.

Warranty of Habitability

All tenants in South Carolina are entitled to certain basic utilities. This includes: 

  • Running water
  • Air conditioning
  • Heating
  • Plumbing

If they aren't available because of a leak or wear and tear, the landlord must fix them within 14 days. Alternatively, a disgruntled tenant could look for a remedy and deduct the expense from their monthly rent.

Mandatory Disclosure

The following disclosures must be included if applicable:

  • The landlord's details - all landlords and anyone who has the authority to act on the landlord's behalf must include their name and address on the lease
  • Lead-based paint disclosure - federal law requires all landlords in the US with rental properties that were built before 1978 to disclose potential exposure to lead-based paint in their lease agreements
  • Security deposit calculation - If there are four or more attached rental apartments on the same property where two or more security deposits are required, the process for determining the security costs must be included in the agreement to verify that each tenant is charged equally

Build Your Own

Ready to create your South Carolina lease contract? To do this, you have a few options. You could use a free online tool to customize your lease contract. However, if you find these tools limiting, there are more elaborate software applications to help you build a successful agreement.

DoorLoop is an intuitive solution designed specifically for the property owner or landlord hoping to run an efficient rental business. Thanks to the autofill feature, you'll be drawing up contracts in no time, and you can conduct tenant screening using the platform.

You can try DoorLoop out for free or request a free demo to see it at work.

Final Thoughts

Lease agreements are legally binding contracts that set the tone for a relationship with your tenant. You'll need to pay special attention when drawing one up. Be sure to consider federal and state laws when creating your rental agreements.

FAQs

Is a South Carolina lease agreement legally binding?

Like any other written contract, a South Carolina rental contract is not legally enforceable until both parties sign it. Once it has been signed, both the tenant and the landlord will have to abide by its terms.

What would it cost to draw up a South Carolina rental contract?

Fortunately, you won't have to pay exorbitant amounts to draw up professional agreements quickly and easily. You'll also receive access to several valuable tools to help you conduct security checks and manage your business. Contact us today to find out more about DoorLoop pricing options!

How are landlord-tenant disputes handled in South Carolina?

Small claims court in South Carolina can resolve disputes worth up to $7,500. This lists cases involving eviction. In addition, all approved cases must be filed within the three-year statute of limitations in effect throughout the state.

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David Bitton

David is the co-founder & CMO of DoorLoop, a best-selling author, legal CLE speaker, and real estate investor. When he's not hanging with his three children, he's writing articles here!