Updated on June 25th, 2023
A South Carolina eviction notice is a document that a landlord will serve on a tenant to inform them that they are terminating the lease agreement. Should the cause for termination be due to non-payment of rent or a violation of the lease, the tenant will be given a period in which they can pay the amount owed or cure the violation to remain on the premises. Failure to comply with the terms of the notice can result in the landlord taking legal action and applying for the ejectment of the tenant at the magistrate court with jurisdiction over the property.
5-Day Notice to Quit for Non-Payment – Used to inform the tenant that they have five (5) days to pay the rent amount owed or vacate the property.
14-Day Notice to Quit for Non-Compliance – Provides the tenant with a warning that they must remedy a violation of their lease within fourteen (14) days or vacate the property.
30-Day Notice to Terminate Month-to-Month Tenancy – Enables either party, landlord or tenant, to terminate a month-to-month tenancy.
- Grace Period: Not mentioned in state statutes.
- Non-Payment of Rent (§ 27-40-710(b)): Five (5) Days
- Non-Compliance (§ 27-40-710(a)): Fourteen (14) Days
- Termination (Month-to-Month Lease) (§ 27-40-770(b)): Thirty (30) Days
- Eviction Lawsuit: Ejectment of Tenants Chapter 37
To successfully and legally evict a tenant in South Carolina, a landlord must be sure to adhere to the steps and rules relayed in Title 27, Chapter 37 of the South Carolina Code of Laws (Ejectment of Tenants). They must apply for an ejectment with the magistrate with jurisdiction over the rental property and respect all notice periods granted to the tenant.
Step 1 – Deliver Notice
Section 27-37-10 has determined that grounds for ejectment include non-payment of rent, a violation of the lease agreement, or the expiration of the term of the tenancy. Should any of these occur, the landlord should provide the tenant with the correct notice form (linked below).
- 5-Day Notice to Quit for Non-Payment
- 14-Day Notice to Quit for Non-Compliance
- 30-Day Notice to Terminate Month-to-Month Lease
Step 2 – File Application for Ejectment
If the tenant has been delivered the notice and has not complied with the terms therein (pay rent or remedy the violation), the landlord may begin the ejectment proceedings by filing an Application for Ejectment with the Magistrate Court that has jurisdiction over the property. The magistrate will determine if the landlord-tenant relationship is valid, and if rent is due.
Step 3 – Magistrate Issues Rule
The magistrate will issue a Rule to Vacate or Show Cause that will provide the tenant with ten (10) days in which to vacate the property or show cause for why they should be permitted to stay. A copy of this rule must be served on the tenant (as detailed in § 27-37-30) in the same manner as the service of summons; that is, by certified mail, publication, or personal service (see Rule 4 of the South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure). Each attempt at service must be separated by forty-eight (48) hours and must be delivered at a time of day separated by at least eight (8) hours. It is necessary that after each attempt, the server record the date and time it occurred. Should the first attempt fail, a copy of the rule should be affixed to the most conspicuous part of the property. A second failed attempt requires that the documentation of the two attempts be attached to the copy of the rule and affixed to the same conspicuous part of the property. In addition to posting the copy of the rule to the property, a secondary copy must be delivered by mail as described in § 27-37-30(c)(2) (must have court clerk’s verification).
*It should be noted that rent will continue to accrue so long as the tenant remains on the property following the delivery of the Rule to Vacate or Show Cause. The landlord’s acceptance of any rent shall not waive their right to evict the tenant after the delivery of the Rule.
Step 4 – Tenant Failure to Show Cause
Should the Rule to Vacate or Show Cause be correctly served and the tenant has failed to show cause within the ten (10) day window, the magistrate will provide a written warrant for ejectment (§ 27-37-40). They may also choose to issue a Writ of Ejectment which will be delivered to the tenant by a constable or deputy sheriff indicating that the individual has twenty-four (24) hours to vacate the premises. Failure to do so in this time frame would permit the deputy sheriff, but not the constable, to physically remove the tenant and their property from the premises.
Step 5 – Trial
Should the tenant show cause in the timeframe provided, the case will go to trial. Either party can request a jury trial by submitting a written request no later than five (5) days from the bench trial. During the bench trial or trial by jury, both tenant and landlord will be required to plead their case and show whatever evidence supports it. Should the verdict be in favor of the landlord, the magistrate, within five (5) days will issue a Writ of Ejectment and possession. The tenant will then have twenty-four (24) hours from the delivery of the writ to vacate the premises or be physically removed. A verdict in favor of the tenant allows them to remain on the property.
Step 6 – Appeal
Either party is able to appeal the decision by the court via a Notice of Civil Appeal; however, if the tenant should do so, they will be required to post an appeal bond (the cost of which will be set by the magistrate). The bond must be posted within five (5) days of the service of the notice of appeal.
- Instructions for Eviction Hearings
- Elements of Common Landlord-Tenant Problems
- Rule 4 of the SCRCP
- Map of Magistrate Courts