Landord and Tenant Law
Housing is essential. With being a tenant, having reliable housing to hang your hat at the end of the day matters. Having a good landlord, who is responsible and ethical, also matters.
But, disputes often arise between landlords and tenants regarding the payment of rent, property damage, eviction, and so forth that can jeopardize having reliable housing.
The anxiety related to issues as to where to hang your hat, or allowing someone else to hang their hat on your property, is a disruptive process and can present real issues finding alternative housing or new tenants in the meantime.
Based on your income, and the number of dependents you have, you may qualify for pro bono legal services with South Carolina Legal Services (click to learn more). We encourage those who would qualify for pro bono legal services to utilize those services when affording an attorney is an issue. The Dickson Davis Law Firm is not currently offering pro bono legal services for landlord-tenant disputes at this time. The Dickson Davis Law Firm does not want to take precious financial resources for those who do not have much when other pro bono legal services exist to serve you under the circumstances so you can save your money for you and your family's needs.
For some issues, the South Carolina Residential Landlord Tenant Act allows for recovery of attorney fees, however, the facts must be clear, strong, well-documented for the Dickson Davis Law Firm to take on such a case on a contingency fee basis. If personal injury is involved related to a landlord-tenant issue, then the case may be taken on a contingency fee basis and the Dickson Davis Law Firm will handle other landlord-tenant related matters at the same time.
The Dickson Davis Law Firm handles the following types of Landlord and Tenant Disputes:
- Rent Disputes
- South Carolina Five Day Rule for Non-payment of Rent
- South Carolina 14 Day Rule for Right to Cure Non-Payment of Rent
- Writ of Ejectment (before eviction)
- Wrongful Dispossession (or Wrongful Eviction)
- Security Deposits
- Property Damage
- Landlord's Duties to maintain premises, make necessary repairs, and housing regulations
- Premises Liability related to Personal Injury (on the property)
- Negligent Security
- Bad Faith
- Document Review (of lease agreements)
Your lease agreement usually controls the landlord-tenant relationship. Where the lease does not cover certain situation, the South Carolina statutes fill in as a gap-filler to govern the landlord-tenant relationship.
Typically, most landlord-tenant disputes are handled in magistrate courts for claims less than $7,500 in the county in which the property is located. For more information on the magistrate court, download the following guide or forms:
- Your Guide to Magistrate Court (South Carolina)
- South Carolina Forms for Magistrate or Municipal Courts
Additionally, both tenants and landlords should be aware of the legal and procedural requirements involved when dealing with renting property and entering into lease agreements:
- Title 27 - Property and Conveyances, Chapter 3 Limitation on Liability of Landowners
- Title 27 - Property and Conveyances, Chapter 33 Landlord and Tenant Generally
- Title 27 - Property and Conveyances, Chapter 35 Creation, Construction, and Termination of Leasehold Estates
- Title 27 - Property and Conveyances, Chapter 37 Ejectment of Tenants
- Title 27 - Property and Conveyances, Chapter 39 Rent
- Title 27 - Property and Conveyances, Chapter 40 Residential Landlord and Tenant Act
- Title 27 - Property and Conveyances, Chapter 41 Undertenants of Life Tenants
- Title 31 - Housing and Redevelopment
- Title 32 - Contracts and Agents
While you are not required to have an attorney in magistrate court, and landlords may send an employee of the property management company instead, tenants and landlords alike may not be well-versed in the nuances of South Carolina law or the necessary procedures required to proceed in magistrate court.
One of the two most important questions for tenants are: (1) have you received a rule to show cause or a rule to vacate; and, (2) you are experiencing issues with the landlord's failure to repair or mitigate defects on the premises.
If you, as a tenant, have received a rule to show cause or a rule to vacate, you must appear to the magistrate court within 10 days of receiving the notice to schedule a hearing to show cause as to why you should not be evicted. You must not delay. Any rent payments made after a rule to show cause and a rule to vacate does not prevent whether you may still be evicted. If you have failed to pay rent, you are still responsible for paying rent for the time you are in possession of the premises.
If you, as a tenant, are experiencing issues with the landlord's failure to repair or mitigate defects on the premises, look to your lease about following the proper procedure to request repairs. If no lease exists, then the statute controls. First, you must place in writing a demand to the landlord to repair or mitigate the defects on the premises. You must detail each and every problem with the premises in that writing. You would be wise to send the writing via email and certified mail to the landlord. Although a text message may suffice, a written letter or email would be preferable. Landlords have 14 days, or a reasonable time thereafter, to repair or mitigate the defects on the premises. Failure to do so may operate to terminate the lease by law, especially for failure to provide essential services such as plumbing, sewer services, electricity, gas (for heat, hot water, cooking, running water),
Landlords have a duty to maintain "all electrical, gas, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air conditioning, and other facilities and appliances, including elevators, supplied or required to be supplied by" the landlord under Title 27, Chapter 40, Section 440(5). Maintenance and repair of appliances or facilities necessary to provide essential services may not be excluded by the rental agreement.
Call the Dickson Davis Law Firm about your landlord-tenant dispute to explore your options after a thorough consultation. Be sure the procedural requirements are being followed pursuant to South Carolina law. We are here to help you make a meaningful decision regarding your landlord-tenant dispute. Take comfort knowing the Dickson Davis Law Firm will assist you in landlord-tenant disputes so you can go about your lives and business instead.
Call us today at (864) 729-3428 for a one-hour consultation to evaluate the merits of your case. Fill out the below Landlord-Dispute Form to bring to your consultation. For landlord-tenant disputes, we charge $150.00 for a one-hour consultation by phone or in person by appointment only. If we are not the right fit for your situation, then we will be happy to help you by referring you to someone else.