Are you a tenant in South Carolina who is worried about being evicted? It’s important to know the eviction process in case you ever find yourself in this situation. Here is a step-by-step guide to the eviction process in South Carolina:
- If you do not pay rent, violate the rental agreement, or stay in the rental property after the lease term has ended, your landlord can start the eviction process.
- Your landlord must first give you a written notice to vacate the rental property. If your lease is not month-to-month or week-to-week and has ended, your landlord is not required to provide a written notice. If your lease says that the landlord can have you evicted for failure to pay rent, your landlord is not required to give an additional notice before your landlord files for eviction.
- Your landlord will then file an application for ejectment in magistrate court. This application will explain why you should be evicted.
- The magistrate will then issue a rule to vacate or show cause based on your landlord’s allegations.
- The magistrate’s constable or other process server will serve you with the rule. They must make two attempts to serve you in person. If both attempts fail, the third and final attempt will be via mail.
- You then have 10 days to respond to the rule. Usually this means calling the magistrate’s court to request a hearing. But review the Rule or ask the magistrate’s court if you have to make a written response. Also, if you have legal defenses, you should set those out in writing.
- You can either vacate the rental property or file an answer and request a hearing with the magistrate court within 10 days. You should request a hearing whether you plan to vacate or not. If you do not vacate or file an answer, you will be in default and automatically lose.
- At the hearing, your landlord has the burden of proving why you should be evicted. You must prove any defense you assert.
- If the magistrate finds against you, they will issue a writ of ejectment within five days. If the magistrate rules in favor of the tenant, they are not evicted.
- You will be served with the writ and will have 24 hours to vacate the rental property.
- If you do not vacate, law enforcement will conduct a physical set out.
It’s important to remember that eviction is a serious legal matter. If you find yourself facing eviction, it’s best to seek legal advice from a lawyer or a legal aid organization. They can help you understand your rights and options, and may be able to help you negotiate with your landlord. Apply for our services at South Carolina Legal Services by visiting lawhelp.org/sc/online-intake or by calling 1-888-346-5592.
More Eviction Resources from SCLS (all free and do not require signup):
- Eviction classroom: www.learnthelaw.org/group/502/classroom/2293
- Introduction to Evictions (Learn the Law with Clark video): https://youtu.be/zOz736W2Bjk
- Eviction Defense 101 (Level Up Law Episode): www.youtube.com/watch?v=alwKafqb26Y&list=PLJ9Hlm5oxA5uJMJsZ1kgxCRIJz6HCvfWV&index=17
- Eviction Papers, What do They Mean and How Much Time Do I Have? (Level Up Law Episode): www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ovzic4VsvuY&list=PLJ9Hlm5oxA5uJMJsZ1kgxCRIJz6HCvfWV&index=36
- Federally Subsidized Housing and Eviction (Level Up Law Episode): www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ovp7BpF-syg&list=PLJ9Hlm5oxA5uJMJsZ1kgxCRIJz6HCvfWV&index=35
- Appealing an Eviction Decision to the Circuit Court (Level Up Law Episode): www.youtube.com/watch?v=kac2jOl38cc&list=PLJ9Hlm5oxA5uJMJsZ1kgxCRIJz6HCvfWV&index=29