Evicting a tenant in South Carolina involves state notices which act as a first step toward evicting a tenant or remedying issues of non-payment or non-compliance. Each notice is specific to a unique type of eviction, with a required notice period given to the tenant to cure or vacate. If neither has happened by the end of that notice period, the landlord may then file an Application for Ejectment at the Local Magistrate Court.
How to Evict
- Step 1: Send an Eviction Notice
- Step 2: Wait to Hear from the Tenant
- Step 3: File in Court
- Step 4: Serve the Tenant
- Step 5: Appear in Court
- Step 6: Obtain a Writ of Ejectment
- Step 7: Repossess the Property
Before taking matters to court, a landlord in South Carolina may send one of the following eviction notices. Some instances will allow the tenant a state-mandated period of time to cure the offense.
- Non-Payment of Rent (5-Day Notice to Quit) – A landlord is not required to deliver written notice of their intent to evict for non-payment if such notice is outlined in the written lease agreement: “IF YOU DO NOT PAY YOUR RENT ON TIME / This is your notice. If you do not pay rent within five days of the due date, the landlord can start to have you evicted. You will get no other notice as long as you have this rental unit.” If the preceding language is not included in the lease agreement, the landlord must deliver a 5-Day Notice to Quit form if rent is unpaid when due.1
- Non-Compliance (14-Day Notice to Quit) – The 14-day period given to tenants to cure or vacate a breach of their lease agreement does not actually require the breach be remedied within 14 days of the notice. Technically, the remedy must be commenced inside the 14-day period and if pursued in good faith, completed within a reasonable time thereafter.2
- Month-to-Month (30-Day Notice to Quit) – A landlord or tenant may terminate a month-to-month tenancy by giving the other party written notice no less than 30 days before the end of the tenancy.3
- Material Health/Safety Violation (14-Day Notice) – A landlord can serve this 14-day notice if the tenant has violated building, safety, or housing code.4
Many non-payment and non-compliance evictions can be avoided within the notice period if and when the tenant responds to the notice and pays the amount due or cures the violation.
In all instances, if the tenant has neither communicated, paid rent due, cured the violation, or vacated the premises by the end of the notice period, the landlord may choose to file an Application for Ejectment.
Forms to File:
The Summons and Complaint will be served to the tenant either by the sheriff, deputy sheriff, magistrate’s constable, or somebody over the age of 18 who is not involved in the case.
They will either serve them personally, leave a copy with somebody living on the premises, mail via certified mail, or use a commercial delivery service.7
The tenant has 10 days to respond to the court and show cause once they have been served. If they don’t do this within 10 days, a warrant of ejectment will be issued and a special constable or the sheriff will be ordered to execute the warrant.8
If a hearing date wasn’t set by the court when the Summons and Complaint were issued and the tenant wishes to contest the eviction, they may request a hearing within the 10-day period.9
If the court rules in favor of the landlord, a writ of ejectment will be issued within 5 days of the judgment.10 This will be the tenant’s final deadline to vacate the property before a constable or the sheriff will be ordered to forcibly remove them.
When it is time to execute the writ of ejectment, a constable or sheriff will serve the tenant a copy of the writ along with 24-hour notice to vacate voluntarily. If they have not left the property at the end of the 24-hour notice, a deputy sheriff (not the constable) may enter the location in order to remove the tenant.11
Video: Evictions in South Carolina
- § 27-40-710(B)
- § 27-40-710(A)(2)
- § 27-40-720
- § 27-37-40
- § 27-37-100
- § 27-37-160