Last Updated: January 27, 2023.

Procedures for Ending a Lease and Eviction for Failure to Pay Rent in South Carolina

The notice and procedure requirements for terminating a lease in South Carolina are provided in the South Carolina Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, found in the South Carolina Code of Laws at § 27-40-710 et seq. The landlord should follow these steps:

  1. Review the lease agreement. Before proceeding with the termination of the lease, the landlord must carefully review the tenant's lease agreement to determine whether the lease specifies a more extended grace period for the tenant to pay rent than the minimum of five days required by South Carolina law. If the lease specifies a period longer than five days that the landlord must wait before the tenant is in default, your notice to the tenant must reflect the correct number of days.

  2. Check for specific notice language that might save you time. While reviewing the lease, check to see if your tenant's lease contains the following specific language provided under South Carolina law:

    "IF YOU DO NOT PAY YOUR RENT ON TIME: This is your notice. If you do not pay your 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 live in this rental unit."

    If your lease contains the above provision (or words "substantially equivalent"), then the landlord does not need to provide any written notice to the tenant or wait any period of time. Notice is deemed already provided to the tenant, and the landlord may proceed directly to the courthouse and file for eviction. (Skip to #6 in these instructions.)

  3. Confirm the rent remains unpaid, and the allowed period has elapsed. Confirm that the tenant has failed to pay rent within five days of the due date required under South Carolina law (or longer if the lease requires it). If the rent remains unpaid, the landlord may proceed with delivering notice to the tenant.

  4. Serve the tenant with written notice. Provide written notice of nonpayment and the landlord's intention to terminate the rental agreement if the overdue rent and late fees are not paid in full within the period stated in the lease or the minimum of five days required under state law, whichever period is longer. This notice should be in writing and can be delivered personally or by mail to the tenant's last known address. (The notice available for purchase on this page satisfies the requirements under South Carolina law.)

  5. Wait for the notice period to expire. The landlord can terminate the rental agreement if the tenant does not pay the rent within the timeframe specified in the notice. (If the tenant pays all past due rent, including all applicable late fees, then the tenant must be permitted to remain; however, the landlord should keep in mind that no subsequent written notice is required of the landlord for future repeat violations of rent nonpayment.)

  6. File for eviction. If the tenant does not vacate the property after the landlord has terminated the lease agreement, the landlord must file for eviction with the appropriate court in South Carolina.

  7. Attend the hearing. The landlord must attend the court hearing and provide satisfactory evidence establishing nonpayment of rent and proper notice to the tenant.

  8. Coordinate with the Sheriff to execute the eviction. If the court issues judgment in favor of the landlord, the tenant must vacate the property. If the tenant does not vacate the property, the landlord can seek the assistance of the Sheriff's office to enforce the court's order to evict the tenant.