South Carolina Apartment Lease Agreement

A South Carolina apartment lease agreement is legally binding and ensures a harmonious relationship between the landlord and tenant. Its key purpose is to protect their rights and obligations throughout the lease. It also includes other details crucial to the tenancy, such as security deposits and access rights.

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South Carolina Apartment Lease Agreement

From a legal standpoint, a South Carolina apartment lease agreement must comply with state and federal laws governing landlord-tenant relationships. This includes adhering to regulations regarding fair housing, habitability standards, security deposit limits, eviction procedures, and other relevant statutes. Failure to comply with these legal requirements can result in consequences for both parties.

Security Deposit 

  • Maximum allowed deposit: Landlords can charge up to two (2) months’ rent for leases under one (1) year and up to three (3) months’ rent for leases longer than a year. 
  • Refund of deposit: Landlords have 30 days after the tenant moves out to return the deposit or provide an itemized list of deductions.
  • Permissible deductions: Landlords can deduct for unpaid rent/fees, damages beyond normal wear and tear, and other charges owed under the lease.
  • Separate account: Landlords must keep deposits in a separate bank account and provide tenants with the bank’s details. 
  • Penalties: If landlords wrongly withhold deposits, fail to provide itemized deductions, or don’t return the deposit within 30 days. 
  • Disputes: Tenants can recover up to three (3) times the security deposit and attorneys fees if the landlord fails to comply with deposit return laws by pursuing legal action.

Entry and Access

  • Landlord access: Landlords can enter to inspect, make repairs, supply services, show the unit to prospective buyers/tenants, etc. The tenant cannot unreasonably withhold consent.  
  • Notice required: Except for emergencies, landlords must give at least 24 hours notice before entering. They can only enter between 8 AM and 8 PM at reasonable times other than for requested repairs.
  • Scheduled services: If clearly stated in the lease, landlords can enter between 9 AM and 6 PM to provide regular pest control, filter changes, etc. But they must announce their intent to enter beforehand. 
  • Other entry rights: Landlords can access the unit with a court order, during abandonment, with law enforcement to serve eviction papers or as permitted by state statutes.
  • Tenant prohibitions: Tenants cannot change the unit’s locks without the landlord’s permission.

Pets Policy

  • Allowed pets: Landlords can set pet restrictions and prohibitions in the lease but must allow service/assistance animals for disabled tenants. Emotional support animals may also be allowed.
  • Documentation requirement: Disabled tenants must provide documentation from a certified medical professional stating the assistance animal is required due to their disability. Landlords should keep copies of this documentation.
  • Pet deposits: Landlords cannot charge a deposit for legitimate service animals, as they aren’t considered pets. Any damages beyond normal wear and tear caused by a service animal could be deducted from the regular security deposit.


As a South Carolina apartment lease agreement is legally binding, certain disclosures are mandated for enforceability. 

  • Owner/manager contact: Landlords must provide tenants with the person legally responsible for managing the unit’s name, address, and phone number. This information must be kept updated.
  • Nonresident landlords: Out-of-state landlords must designate a South Carolina resident agent or authorized business entity to handle legal notices, demands, landlord obligations, etc. The agent’s contact information must be registered with the state and county/town.
  • No duty to disclose stigmas: Landlords don’t have to disclose suspicions/facts that a property is psychologically affected, had an occupant die on site, or that registered sex offenders occupied it. However, they cannot make intentional misrepresentations if directly asked.
  • As-is condition: Landlords can have tenants agree to purchase/rent property in as-is condition without disclosures on its physical state under certain agreements. However, intentional misrepresentation of known defects isn’t allowed.
  • Lead-Based Paint: This disclosure only applies to any property that was built in 1978 or earlier. It should inform the potential tenant of any potential hazards that lead-based paint may cause.