The South Carolina residential lease agreement (“rental agreement”) is used to formalize an agreement between a landlord and tenant to rent real property in exchange for a fee. Governed by South Carolina’s landlord-tenant law, the contract includes terms and conditions outlining the responsibilities of each party.
South Carolina Lease Agreement Disclosures
The following disclosures are either required for some or all residential lease agreements in South Carolina.
There are also a number of optional disclosures and addendums that help reduce future conflicts and/or legal liability in South Carolina.
Landlord’s Name & Address
Applicable to all rental units in South Carolina.
Any individual authorized to manage the rental property, including the landlord and owner, must disclose their name and address so future legal notices and demands that are sent by the tenant can be properly delivered. Generally, this information is provided in the lease agreement and shall be provided to the tenant in writing at or before the commencement of the tenancy.
Security Deposit Inequality Disclosure
Applicable to properties with four adjoining rental units with two or more different security deposit amounts.
If a landlord leases out four or more adjoined units in the same building, the security deposits must either be the same amount or there must be a disclosure in a conspicuous place on the property that provides the method for calculating security deposit charges. This can also be provided directly to a prospective tenant in the lease agreement in addition to the notice.
SECURITY DEPOSIT CALCULATION. This property uses the following method of calculating security deposits due:
[ ] Home Square Footage
[ ] Number of Tenants
[ ] Other:___________________________________________________________
Lead-Based Paint Disclosure
Applicable to any rental units built prior to 1978.
It is a federal law in the United States that any home built prior to 1978 must disclose the risks posed by lead-based paints. This law requires landlords in South Carolina to:
- Fill out and attach this lead-based paint disclosure form to the lease agreement.
- Provide the tenant with an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved pamphlet about the dangers of lead-based paint.
- Provide additional records or reports about the presence or hazards of any known lead-based paint in the unit. For multi-unit buildings with common areas, this includes information from building-wide evaluations.
Optional Disclosures & Addendums (Recommended)
The following lease agreement disclosures and addendums are not required by South Carolina law in residential lease agreements, but either help reduce future conflicts with tenants or reduce legal liability for landlords.
- Medical Marijuana Use – it is recommended to state where medical marijuana use is and isn’t allowed on the property so that expectations are clear. South Carolina law allows landlords to restrict marijuana usage to non-smoking methods only or control where users can smoke so as to not interfere with other tenants.
- Move-in Checklist – it is recommended to provide an itemized list of damages to the property before move-in to make sure tenants are responsible for any serious damages that occur during the lease term. This can be attached to the lease agreement or signed as a separate document.
- Late and Returned Check Fees – it is recommended that landlords disclose in the lease any late fees or returned (bounced) check fees that they intend to charge. South Carolina does not limit how high these fees can be, but they should be considered reasonable (often no more than 10% of rent) and reflect the actual expenses incurred by the landlord as a result of a late payment. They must also be charged only after the agreed upon due date for rent, dictated in the lease.
- Shared Utilities Arrangements – for rental units with shared utilities, it is recommended to disclose the specifics of how they are shared, and how each party’s bill is calculated, so that tenants have a reasonable expectation of what they owe each month.
- Bed Bug Disclosure – for rental units with a history of infestation, it is recommended to provide information on the protocol for handling a bed bug infestation. This addendum will notify the tenant of their obligation to cooperate with bed bug prevention by promptly reporting any sign of infestation to the landlord.
- Asbestos Disclosure – for rental units built prior to 1981, asbestos was a common building material. This disclosure will notify the tenant to take certain precautions to minimize the chance of disturbing the asbestos fibers (i.e. no sanding, pounding, modifications or repairs, without the landlord’s consent). The disclosure will also notify the tenant of their obligation to immediately notify the landlord if any ceilings begin to deteriorate.
- Mold Disclosure – it is recommended to disclose the current mold status of a property in the lease to protect against future liability of mold damages due to the tenant’s negligence during the lease term.