South Dakota Habitability Laws

Last Updated: December 14, 2021 by Elizabeth Souza

  • Landlord Responsibilities. Maintain all electrical, plumbing, or heating systems of the premises in good and safe working order and condition (read more).
  • Making Repairs. Landlords are required to make and pay for repairs for items under their responsibility. They must do so within a “reasonable time” after receiving a written request from tenants (read more).
  • Tenant Options. If repairs aren’t made in a timely manner, tenants can withhold rent, repair and deduct, report the issue to a public official or file a lawsuit (read more).
  • Retaliation. If a landlord is reported to a local city or county inspector for housing code violations, it is illegal for a landlord to retaliate, such as by threatening eviction (read more).

The implied warranty of habitability in South Dakota 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 Not specifically addressed
RV parks Not specifically addressed
Mobile home parks Only if person in mobile home is renter, not owner
Condos Not specifically addressed
Hotels/Motels Not specifically addressed
Questions? To chat with a South Dakota landlord tenant attorney, Click here

Landlord Responsibilities

The following chart lists possible landlord responsibilities when it comes to habitability.  Not all of them are requirements in South Dakota, 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. Heat only
Provide working plumbing and electrical wiring/outlets/ lighting. Yes
Provide working gas lines if used for utilities/cooking Not addressed
Provide working sanitation facilities (bathtub/shower, toilet). Not addressed
Provide a trash can (for trash pickup services). Not addressed
Ensure that any stairs and railings are safe. Not addressed
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. Not addressed
Provide working carbon monoxide detector. Not addressed
Provide a working washer/dryer. Not addressed

Landlords must keep the dwelling unit and all common areas in a good and safe condition. In some instances, tenants and landlords may agree, in writing, that the tenant can make certain repairs and do various maintenance tasks.

Meth Production

Landlords are required to notify potential tenants if a rental unit was used in the production of methamphetamines.

Making Repairs

Landlords are required to make and pay for any repairs to make the unit livable that are not caused by the tenant.

  • Sending Notice – If a tenant request repairs, they must put their request in writing to the landlord. The notice should state the repairs needed and a specific reasonable deadline for making the repairs.
  • Landlord Access – Tenants must give permission to the landlord to access the property in order to make necessary repairs. Landlords should only enter after notice and during reasonable times, usually a 24-hours’ notice is considered reasonable.
Questions? To chat with a South Dakota landlord tenant attorney, Click here

Tenant’s Options if Repairs Aren’t Made

If repairs aren’t made in a timely manner, the tenant has a few possible options for resolving the issue.

  1. Withhold Rent – South Dakota landlord tenant law permits a tenant to withhold rent in response to habitability issues if the costs of the necessary repairs exceed one month’s rent. The tenant should provide the landlord with written notice that rent will be deposit it in a separate bank account, savings account, or loan account intended for the purposes of making the repairs. To withhold rent, the repairs must be affecting the habitability of the premises.
  2. Repair and Deduct – Tenants have the right to repair the issue themselves and deduct a reasonable amount for the repair from the following month’s rent.
  3. Lawsuit – Tenants do have the right to take legal action for damages resulting from habitability issues.
  4. Reporting to Public Officials – Landlords can be reported on a city or county level to housing inspectors if they are found to be in violation of any local housing codes.

Landlord Retaliation

In South Dakota, it is unlawful for a landlord to retaliate (i.e., evict a tenant, raise rent above fair market value, or decrease services) within 180 days because a tenant:

  • Contacted a governmental agency charged with the responsibility of enforcing a building and housing code.
  • Complained to the landlord about habitability issues.
  • Joined a tenant’s organization.