South Dakota Landlord Tenant Rights

In South Dakota, if rent is exchanged for inhabiting a property, then a lease agreement exists. According to South Dakota law, (SDC 1939, § 38.0401) tenants have certain rights such as the right to a habitable dwelling and the right to due process for eviction proceedings.

Landlords also have certain rights, including the right to collect rent in a timely manner and the right to deduct for costs from damages that exceed wear and tear.

Note: These rights exist regardless of a rental agreement stating otherwise.

In addition to the below, check your local county and municipality for additional rules and regulations.

Landlord Responsibilities in South Dakota

In South Dakota, landlords are obligated to provide a habitable dwelling and make requested repairs in a reasonable manner, although the law does not define a specific timeframe for making repairs. If they do not, South Dakota tenants can withhold rent in some circumstances or make the repair and deduct the cost from rent.

Landlords have a general duty to keep the unit “fit for human habitation.” Landlords in South Dakota are or are not responsible for the following amenities.

Item Landlord Responsibility?
Dwelling structures Yes
Plumbing/sanitation Yes
Electricity Yes
Heating Yes
Water Yes
Mold Implied
Bed bugs Implied

Landlords are not permitted to evict tenants in retaliation for exercising their right to habitable premises.

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Tenant Responsibilities in South Dakota

In addition to paying rent promptly and on-time, South Dakota tenants must:

  • Keep the unit safe and habitable for living
  • Make minor repairs and maintenance
  • Keep the unit clean and sanctuary
  • Not disturb other tenants or neighbors

Evictions in South Dakota

Landlords may terminate a lease agreement for any of the following reasons:

  1. Nonpayment of rent – if a tenant fails to pay rent by the date then after any applicable grace period outlined in the lease the landlord may issue a 3-Day Notice to Pay or Quit. If the tenant fails to pay then the landlord can begin eviction proceedings.
  2. Lease violation – In the case of a lease violation, landlords may issue a 3-Day Notice to Quit. Landlords are not required by law to give tenants a chance to remedy the behavior. Either way, if the tenant does not move out or fix the behavior then the landlord can file for eviction.
  3. Illegal acts – South Dakota landlords can decide which illegal activities warrant eviction. If illegal activity on the premises occurs, landlords can issue a 3-Day Notice to Quit.

At-will tenants (tenants without a lease agreement, are entitled to receive at least 30 days advance notice before being evicted. Landlords can also not evict tenants as a form of retaliation or for discriminatory reasons.

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Security Deposits in South Dakota

  • Standard Limit/Maximum Amount – 1 month’s rent.
  • Time Limit for Returns – 2 weeks.
  • Penalty if Not Returned on Time – If a landlord wrongfully withholds a security deposit then they will forfeit the deposit and will be charged up to a $200 fine per instance.
  • Allowable Deductions – unpaid rent, damages that exceed normal wear and tear, missing utilities.

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Lease Termination in South Dakota

Notice requirements. Tenants on a lease with a fixed end date do not need to give notice before breaking the lease. Tenants that have a periodic lease must give the following notice if they wish to break a lease:

Rent Payment Frequency Notice Needed
Week-to-Week 7 Days
Month-to-Month 30 Days
Quarter-to-Quarter No statute
Year-to-Year Agree in advance

Early termination. South Dakota tenants are allowed to legally break a lease early for the following reasons:

  1. Early termination clause
  2. Active military duty
  3. Uninhabitable unit
  4. Landlord harassment

South Dakota landlords are not required to re-rent their units and tenants who break a lease may still be obligated to pay the remainder of the term.

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Rent Increases & Related Fees in South Dakota

  • Rent control. South Dakota law preempts any type of rent control on a state or federal level. As such, landlords can charge as much as they want in rent.
  • Rental increases. Landlords may also raise rental prices by whatever rate they wish, although they must give the tenant at least 30 days of advanced notice.
  • Rent-related fees. There are no legal limits on late fees as long as it is enclosed in the lease agreement. The state limits returned check fees to $30.

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Housing Discrimination in South Dakota

Protected groups. The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate against tenants based on their race, color, national origin, sex, familial status, religion, or disability. These standards do not apply to homes operated by religious organizations or owner-occupied homes. South Dakota has no further civil rights protections for other groups.

Discriminatory acts & penalties. The state government does not have a department that handles discrimination in housing. The Attorney General of the state is tasked with enforcing these standards though tenants can file a complaint with the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. Penalties and activities considered discriminatory are made on a case-by-case legal basis.

Additional Landlord Tenant Regulations in South Dakota

Landlord Right to Entry in South Dakota

Landlords must give tenants at least 24 hours’ notice and specify a specific time before entering an inhabited property for regular duties such as repairs or maintenance. However, landlords are permitted to enter without notice in the case of emergencies.

Small Claims Court in South Dakota

South Dakota small claims court will hear rent-related disputes amounting to less than $12,000 but they do not handle eviction cases. South Dakota maintains a 4-year and 6-year statute of limitations for oral and written contracts, respectively.

Mandatory Disclosures in South Dakota

South Dakota landlords are required to give 2 informational disclosures:

  1. Lead-based paint. Landlords must provide information about lead concentration in the paint if they own a house built before 1978.
  2. Methamphetamine. Landlords must also disclose whether the property has even been used to manufacture methamphetamine in the past.

Changing the Locks in South Dakota

South Dakota does not specify rules regarding landlords and tenants changing the locks. As such, tenants should get permission from landlords before changing locks. Landlords are prohibited from changing the locks as a form of eviction.

South Dakota Landlord-Tenant Resources

To learn more, please refer to the below digital resources.

Landlord/Tenant Guide

Landlord Frequently Asked Questions Housing Choice Voucher Program

How to Use South Dakota’s Small Claims Court