What You Need To Know About Eviction in South Carolina

Whether you’re from Charleston or Myrtle Beach, tenants should know their rights if faced with an eviction.
Written by Elaine Yang
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
South Carolina
, your landlord must give you 5-30 days’ notice before filing for eviction. The notice period will depend on the reason for eviction. Your landlord cannot legally evict you without going to court and following South Carolina’s eviction process.
Being evicted is a confusing process, especially if you’re not aware of your rights as a tenant. 
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South Carolina eviction 101: the four ways you can be evicted

Like many other states, South Carolina requires landlords to give their tenants written notice before filing for eviction with the court. The notice period will differ depending on the reason for eviction and can be anywhere from five to 30 days
These are three reasons you could be evicted:
  • Failure to pay rent: South Carolina has a grace period of five days—so rent may be paid up to five days late without the risk of eviction. If your lease requires notice, your landlord must give you a five days' Notice to Pay. Eviction can be avoided if you simply pay the owed rent. 
  • Violation of a lease term: If you have violated a term of your lease agreement, your landlord must give you a fourteen days’ Notice to Comply. This period gives tenants a chance to fix the issue (ex. hiring a plumber to fix a damaged water drain). If you haven’t fixed the issue during the fourteen-day period, your landlord can file for eviction. 
  • Illegal activity: If you are conducting illegal activities from your rental unit, South Carolina doesn’t require landlords to provide you with notice for eviction. They can file for eviction without notifying you. 
It’s helpful to know that your landlord cannot evict you without a reason. However, that won’t stop a landlord who desperately wants you gone. If your lease term is coming to an end, your landlord can simply choose not to renew your lease. This could result in a change to your lease—and the notice requirements as mandated by law: 
  • Week-to-week: If you pay rent on a week-to-week basis, your landlord must give you a seven-day Notice to Quit before filing for eviction. 
  • Month-to-month: If you pay rent on a month-to-month basis, your landlord must give you a thirty-day Notice to Quit before filing for eviction. 
Be mindful that you can use the notice period to fix the issue and stop an eviction in its tracks. However, if the issue isn’t fixed by the end of the notice period, your landlord will likely file for eviction. If they win the lawsuit, you’ll be required to leave the property
Key Takeaway South Carolina landlords must provide tenants with anywhere from five-thirty days' notice before filing for eviction unless illegal activity is conducted on the property. 

A timeline of eviction in South Carolina

If you’ve been notified of an upcoming eviction you’ll want to know what to expect so you can make plans. Here’s a timeline of the eviction process in South Carolina:
How long it typically takes
What to expect
Written notice from landlord
5-30 days
A landlord can only file for eviction after the notice period has ended.
Court summons and Rule to Show
Within 120 days of filing for eviction
A tenant must be notified that they’ve been summoned to court. If they don’t receive this, the claim may be dismissed.
Tenant response
Must be submitted 10 days after receiving the Rule to Show
If you have evidence supporting a counterclaim, you must submit it at this stage.
Within 10 days
With all the evidence, the court will determine if you are evicted from the property.
Writ of Execution is issued (i.e., eviction)
Five days after ruling in landlord’s favor
This is an official notice of eviction, and you must vacate the premises. If you refuse to leave, your landlord can call a sheriff to remove your belongings.
Return of property
Within 24 hours
If a sheriff removes your personal property, it will be returned to you within 24 hours.
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While there is a general timeline for eviction in South Carolina, each case may be different as it depends largely on whether your landlord is eager to move things along. 

How to resist eviction in South Carolina

Here are a couple of ways to respond to an eviction—or avoid one altogether:
  • Address the issue: Many evictions are hinged on issues that can be resolved (ex. Damaged property, late rent, etc.). Whether you need to borrow some money to make rent or hire a repairman to fix something you broke, addressing the problem before the notice period is up will stop an eviction suit before it begins. 
  • Procedural mistake: There’s a reason why there’s a regulated eviction process in South Carolina. If your landlord is skipping steps, the court is likely to throw the claim out. 
  • Show your landlord failed to maintain the property: Landlords are required to provide tenants with a safe living space. That’s why an eviction suit may be tossed out if you can prove you’ve made repair requests that have gone ignored, for example.
  • Discrimination: If you believe you’ve been discriminated against based on your race, color, sex, etc., your case will likely be dismissed if you can provide adequate proof. 
These defenses are a great way to avoid an eviction. If you’re successful, the court may award you damages as well. 

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