South Carolina Landlord Retaliation Laws

South Carolina Landlord Retaliation Laws

Last Updated: June 30, 2023

Tenant Protected Actions
  • Health/Safety Complaints to Gov’t
  • Complaints to Landlord about Violations of Landlord-Tenant Act
Landlord Retaliatory Actions
  • Raising Rent Past Fair Market Value
  • Eviction After Complaints
  • Refusing to Renew the Lease
Penalties for Retaliation
  • Prevent Eviction
  • Recover 3x Monthly Rent or 3x Actual Damages
  • Recover Attorney Fees

When Is It Illegal for Landlords to Retaliate in South Carolina?

It’s illegal for South Carolina landlords to retaliate against tenants by raising rent past market value or filing eviction (including refusal to renew the lease) against tenants who have taken one of the following protected actions:

  • Complaining to the government about health and safety issues on the rental property.
  • Complaining to the landlord about violations of South Carolina’s Landlord-Tenant Act.

The law allows an exception when the landlord can prove a non-retaliatory, good-faith reason for the alleged retaliatory action. For example, a landlord can evict if a tenant refuses to repair damage that’s the tenant’s fault, even if the tenant has complained to the government about the issue.

What Can Tenants Do in Response in South Carolina?

South Carolina tenants can primarily respond to landlord retaliation by suing for quiet enjoyment of the property. This can be done affirmatively, or by notifying the landlord (within 10 days of being served an eviction notice) that retaliation will be raised as a defense.

If the tenant wins in a situation where the landlord refused to renew the lease, the tenant gets to stay in the property for an extra 75 days without increased rent past fair market value, or decreased services.

In any event, the tenant can recover attorney fees, plus monetary damages of three times the actual damages or three times the monthly rent (whichever is greater).