If you have a property in South Carolina that you want to rent, our South Carolina Rental Application template can help you.
You should use a comprehensive South Carolina rental application form to help you collect eviction history, rental history, and financial information from each applicant before offering a lease agreement.
Learn more about local South Carolina rental laws below, and use our sample South Carolina rental application to collect the necessary information from each prospective resident.
South Carolina Rental Application Fees and Security Deposits
According to the South Carolina Landlord and Tenant Act, there is no limit to the maximum rental application fee that a landlord can charge.
However, property managers and owners should charge a reasonable amount to cover the costs of processing the rental application and avoid charging exorbitant application fees.
Otherwise, they may have difficulty finding someone to rent the property.
Furthermore, South Carolina law does not put a cap or maximum on a security deposit or pet deposit that a landlord can charge, but cities and counties are free to impose their caps on security deposits.
At the end of the lease, landlords must return the security deposit but can deduct any accrued rent and damages to the property caused by the tenant.
Any deductions taken from the security deposit must be itemized by the landlord and sent to the tenant.
What South Carolina Landlords Need To Know
In South Carolina, property managers and landlords are prohibited from asking certain questions per the Federal Fair Housing Act and the South Carolina Fair Housing Law.
Under these laws, property owners are not allowed to ask about the following:
- Race, color, or national origin of the applicant
- The religious beliefs of the applicant
- Whether the applicant is married or has children
- Whether the applicant has a disability
- The sexual orientation or gender identity of the applicant
On the other hand, if the owner lives on the property, the building has four dwellings or fewer, and the owner represents himself or herself during the leasing process, the owner may be exempt from specific FHA laws under the Mrs. Murphy exemption.
Even with these exemptions, landlords may never use race as a deciding factor for approval or denial.
Background and Credit Check Authorization
Landlords should conduct a credit check and background check on each applicant but must get the written consent of each applicant before running these types of checks.
The Federal Credit Reporting Act requires this.
We offer a background check authorization form you can use to get the applicant’s consent before conducting your credit and criminal history search.
Landlords should also consider providing the applicant with a copy of his or her credit report and background check.
How to Conduct an Eviction Records Search
- Navigate to the South Carolina Judicial Branch website, Case Records Search
- Choose the county or counties where you want to search
- Follow the instructions on the county court website
If you decide to reject an applicant based on the results of the background check or eviction records search, send a rental application rejection letter explaining your reasons.
Other Resources for Landlords
How To Write a Rental Application
When you are writing a South Carolina rental application, there are several steps you should follow.
- Always start by providing the address of the property you are renting out.
- Ask each applicant for prior rental history and some references.
- Ask the applicant to consent to a background check and credit check.
- Ask the applicant about his or her employment history and financial resources
- If you feel it is important for your property, ask the applicant about his or her smoking history and whether he or she has pets.
Sample South Carolina Rental Application Form
If you would like to save time while screening applicants, consider using our South Carolina rental application template to help frame your form’s questions.