South Carolina Lease Agreement Template – Forbes Advisor


Published: Nov 13, 2023, 4:00am

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A lease agreement is the document created when a landlord enters into a contract with a tenant to rent property.

This article breaks down all the requirements and tells you what you need to know to create a binding rental contract in South Carolina. One of the best ways to ensure you understand how a document works is by looking at a template. You can enter your email address below to get a free South Carolina lease template in your inbox.

Basing your lease on this document can help you ensure you create a legally binding document.

What Is a Lease Agreement?

A lease agreement is a legal contract that outlines the terms and conditions of renting a property. This binding document establishes the rights and responsibilities of both parties—landlord and tenant—throughout the lease term.

The lease details key aspects such as:

  • Rent amount
  • Payment schedule
  • Security deposits
  • Lease duration
  • Maintenance obligations
  • Restrictions on the use of the property

It serves as a vital framework for the landlord-tenant relationship, ensuring clear communication and expectations. It provides legal protection for both parties by defining their respective rights in case of disputes or violations. A well-drafted lease helps prevent misunderstandings. It promotes a harmonious rental experience while adhering to the laws and regulations governing rental agreements in South Carolina.

When Is a Lease Agreement Used in South Carolina?

A rental agreement is used when a property owner wants to rent their property to a tenant. A lease for more than 12 months must be in writing. While it is legal to have an oral lease agreement in South Carolina for a term less than a year, having an agreement in writing is usually a good idea.

Without a written document, it could be challenging to prove that the other party isn’t honoring your agreement, and it may be more difficult to hold them accountable.

Who Typically Creates a Lease Agreement?

The creation of the document is usually left to the landlord, and you may find that a landlord is unwilling to use a lease created by a tenant. This is especially true of residential leases. However, prospective tenants always have the right to negotiate terms with a landlord, but this practice is more common when negotiating a commercial lease.

Regardless of who creates a lease, it can benefit both parties to document all the terms agreed to at the beginning of the landlord-tenant relationship.

What Parties Are Involved in a Lease Agreement?

There are always two parties to a lease: the lessee and the lessor. The lessee is the tenant or tenants who will be using the property. The lessor is the landlord who owns the property and allows its use.

If the tenant or tenants have bad credit or low income, the landlord may require a third party to the lease—a cosigner or guarantor. A guarantor, as the name suggests, is on the lease to guarantee the tenant honors the rental contract. Usually, this means that the guarantor agrees to pay the rent if the tenant doesn’t.

What Should Be Included in a South Carolina Lease Agreement?

Under South Carolina law, a lease agreement has to include:

  • A clear demonstration that the landlord and tenant intend to create a landlord-tenant relationship
  • Identification of all parties
  • A description of the property
  • The amount and term of the rent.
  • The signatures of both parties.

The description of the property can be as simple as the address.

In addition to what’s required to form a written lease in South Carolina, it’s a good idea to include many other elements. The landlord should, for example, be sure to include things like how the rent should be paid, what the penalty is for late or missed payments and any other tenant responsibilities.

The tenant, on the other hand, would want to know:

  • How much notice they need to provide if they want to renew at the end of the lease,
  • When the landlord might ask for access to the property or
  • How to reach the landlord or their agent when something breaks.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How much can a landlord increase the rent in South Carolina?

There are no caps on how much a landlord can increase the rent in most states. In South Carolina, there are no rent controls.

What is the maximum fee for late rent in South Carolina?

Under South Carolina law, there is no limit to the late fee landlords can charge tenants for late rent. Remember, however, that the state maximum may be different from the late fee in your lease. The fee can be less than the state maximum, but it can’t be more than that amount.

What rights does a tenant have in South Carolina?

A lease in South Carolina is a contract between the tenant and landlord. Like any contract, both parties can negotiate the terms—at least in theory. In practice, landlords may be unwilling to alter their residential lease. It doesn’t hurt to ask, however. It’s also important to know that a lease can’t contain terms that are illegal.

It’s important to note that renters have a variety of rights set out in the Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, such as a requirement that any deduction from a security deposit must be itemized in a written notice to the tenant and the landlord must maintain the premises in habitable condition.

Lease Agreements By State

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Jeffrey Johnson started his editorial career nearly 20 years ago as an editor and researcher for McGraw Hill and Pearson. After earning an MFA from Chapman University and his J.D. from the University of Baltimore School of Law, he combined his editorial and writing experience with his legal education. He served as the Managing Legal Editor for the websites Free Advice and Law Firm, and has been featured as a legal expert on The Manifest and Vice.

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