Warranty of Habitability in South Carolina

Last Updated: June 30, 2023 by Elizabeth Souza

In South Carolina, a landlord’s obligation for providing a habitable living space is primarily governed by SC Code § 27-40-440. This legal requirement, commonly known as the “implied warranty of habitability”, also outlines the rights of tenants when repairs are not made in a timely manner.

Quick Facts Answer
Landlord Responsibilities Hot/Cold Water, HVAC, Plumbing/Electrical, Gas, Sanitation Facilities,
Time Limit for Repairs 14 Days
Tenant Recourse Options
  • Withhold Rent: No
  • Repair & Deduct: No

Applicable Dwelling Types in South Carolina

The implied warranty of habitability in South Carolina does not apply to all types of dwellings. See the table below for which are and aren’t included.

Dwelling Type Landlord/Tenant Laws Apply?
Single family Yes
Multi-family Yes
Fraternities/Sororities/Clubs No
RV parks Not addressed
Mobile home parks Only if person in mobile home is renter, not owner
Condos Only if person in condo is renter, not owner
Hotels/Motels No

Additionally, rental agreements are not allowed to include any provisions that waive the tenant’s right to live in a habitable residence.

Landlord Responsibilities in South Carolina

The following chart lists possible landlord responsibilities when it comes to habitability.  Not all of them are requirements in South Carolina, as indicated below.

Note: Some of the below items may not be addressed at the state level but may be addressed on a county or city level. Check your local housing codes to see which additional requirements may apply.

Habitability Issue Landlord Responsibility?
Provide windows and doors that are in good repair. Not addressed
Ensure the roof, walls, etc., are completely waterproofed and there are no leaks. Not addressed
Provide hot and cold running water. Yes
Provide working HVAC equipment. Yes
Provide working plumbing and electrical wiring/outlets/ lighting. Yes
Provide working gas lines if used for utilities/cooking Yes
Provide working sanitation facilities (bathtub/shower, toilet). Yes
Provide a trash can (for trash pickup services). Not addressed
Ensure that any stairs and railings are safe. Multi-family units
Ensure that all floors are in good condition and safe. Not addressed
Provide fire exits that are usable, safe, and clean. Not addressed
Ensure storage areas, including garages and basements, do not house combustible materials. Not addressed
Provide working smoke detectors Not addressed
Provide a mailbox. Not addressed
Provide working wiring for one telephone jack. Not addressed
Provide working kitchen appliances. No
Provide working carbon monoxide detector. Not addressed
Provide a working washer/dryer. No

Landlords must keep all common areas in a safe condition and for units that have four or more dwelling units, the common areas must be kept in a clean condition. Landlords are obligated to comply with all building and housing codes that materially affect the health and safety of tenants. If a tenant and landlord agree, in writing, the tenant may perform certain repairs and maintenance tasks.

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Repairs, Recourse & Retaliation in South Carolina

If a rental property is in violation of the implied warranty of habitability in South Carolina, state laws outline how the repair process works, what tenants can do if repairs aren’t made, and how tenants are protected against retaliating landlords.

Requesting Repairs in South Carolina

Renter’s Rights if Repairs Aren’t Made in South Carolina

South Carolina renters have the right to repairs for a variety of potential issues, including things that impact health and safety. To exercise their right, renters have to give the landlord written notice about the issue that needs fixing and wait 14 days for the landlord to do repairs.

If the issue isn’t fixed by the landlord in a timely way, the renter could end the rental agreement or get a court order for repairs or compensation. However, the renter usually can’t repair and deduct, or withhold rent. Read More

Landlord Retaliation 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.