South Carolina Security Deposit Law

Learn the Security Deposit Limits and Regulations in South Carolina

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South Carolina Security Deposit Law and Renters' Rights. Getty Images/Morsa Images

As a landlord in South Carolina, it is important that you understand the security deposit laws that apply in your state. The laws listed here apply on a statewide level, but it is equally as important that you research the security deposit laws in your local city or municipality because they could differ. Here are some frequently asked questions that cover everything from how much you can charge as a security deposit to reasons you may be able to keep a tenant’s security deposit in the state of South Carolina.

Is There a Security Deposit Limit in South Carolina?

No. There is no statewide limit as to how much a landlord can charge a tenant as a security deposit.

Do You Have to Charge All Tenants the Same Amount as a Security Deposit?

If Units Are Not Comparable:
No, the security deposit does not have to be the same amount. For example, if you have a one bedroom that is $1000 a month and a two bedroom that is $1500 a month, the required security deposits would be different as a security deposit is normally one to two months’ rent. So assuming a required security deposit that is equal to one month’s rent, the security deposit for the one bedroom would be $1000 and the security deposit for the two-bedroom would be $1500, which would be perfectly legal.

If the Units Are Comparable:
No. In South Carolina, landlords who rent more than four adjoining units are not required to charge the same amount of security deposit for similar units.

However, if they do require different amounts for the security deposit for similar units, they must make the other tenants aware of this. The landlord can either:

  1. Post a notice in a communal gathering point, either on the premises or at the rental office, clearly explaining how security deposits are calculated or
  1. Provide each tenant with a written copy of this statement.

If a landlord fails to alert a tenant of the method of calculation for different security deposits, the landlord may not able to keep any of the tenant’s security deposit to cover damages the tenant has caused to their unit.

How Must You Store The Security Deposit in South Carolina?

In the state of South Carolina, there are no specific requirements for storing a tenant’s security deposit. A landlord is not required to store the deposit in a separate interest-bearing account nor must they notify the tenant as to how the security deposit is being stored.

Is Written Notice Required After Receipt of the Security Deposit in South Carolina?

No. A landlord in South Carolina is not required to provide a tenant with written notice after receiving the tenant’s security deposit.

What Are Some Reasons You Can Keep a Tenant’s Security Deposit in South Carolina?

In the state of South Carolina, landlords may be entitled to keep all or a portion of the security deposit for the following reasons:

  • To Cover Unpaid Rent
  • For Damages in Excess of Normal Wear and Tear 500

When Must You Return a Tenant’s Security Deposit in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, a landlord has 30 days from termination of tenancy to return a tenant’s security deposit.

If the landlord has made any deductions from the security deposit, he or she must also include a written itemized statement stating the reason for the deduction, the amount that has been deducted, and any additional money owed if the security deposit is not enough to cover the amount owed.

The tenant must supply the landlord with their new address in writing. The landlord must send the security deposit and the written itemized statement, if necessary, to the forwarding address that has been supplied by the tenant. If the tenant has not supplied the landlord with a new forwarding address, the landlord must send the deposit to the last known address of the tenant.

If a landlord fails to return the money owed to the tenant within this 30-day period, the tenant may be entitled to up to three times the amount that was wrongfully withheld plus attorney fees.

What Happens to the Security Deposit If You Sell Your Property?

The landlord has two options if he or she sells the property:

  1. Return the security deposit owed directly to the tenant and notify the purchaser in writing that the landlord has returned the security deposit to the tenant.
  2. Transfer the security deposit to the buyer and notify the tenant in writing that the new owner of the property is now in possession of their security deposit.

What Is South Carolina’s Security Deposit Law?

For the original text governing security deposit laws in the state of South Carolina, please consult South Carolina Code Annotated § 27-40-410; 27-40-450; and 27-40-520.