South Carolina Legislature


 

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H*2119
Session 106 (1985-1986) 

H*2119(Rat #0355, Act #0336 of 1986)  General Bill, By Washington, 
W.S. Anderson, L. Blanding, J. Faber, T. Ferguson, H.H. Keyserling, D.E. Martin, 
H.L. Mitchell, A.V. Rawl, T.F. Rogers, Sheheen, J.H. Toal, J.M. White, 
D. Williams and R.R. Woods

Similar(S 482) A Bill to provide for the South Carolina Residential Landlord and Tenant Act which regulates the renting and leasing of certain dwelling units located within this State and which includes provisions to establish jurisdiction and the method of obtaining jurisdiction over the parties involved, to make certain definitions, to impose an obligation of good faith in the performance and enforcement of duties and obligations, to prohibit unconscionability, to provide for the terms and conditions of rental agreements and the effect of unsigned or undelivered rental agreements, to prohibit certain provisions in rental agreements, to provide for landlord obligations, liability and remedies, to provide for tenant obligations, liability and remedies, to provide for manner of termination of tenancies and holdover remedies, to prohibit retaliatory conduct, to provide that Chapter 35, Title 27, Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976, relating to creation, establishment and termination of leasehold estates, Chapter 37, Title 27, relating to ejectment of tenants, and Article 3, Chapter 39, Title 27, relating to collection of rent by distraint shall not be applicable to the leasing or renting of any real property otherwise governed under the provisions of this Act, and to amend the Code by adding Section 27-37-160 so as to establish certain procedures to be followed by constables or deputy sheriffs when executing writs of ejectment. 01/10/85 House Introduced and read first time HJ-248 01/10/85 House Referred to Committee on Labor, Commerce and Industry HJ-248 04/24/85 House Committee report: Favorable with amendment Labor, Commerce and Industry HJ-2644 04/30/85 House Objection by Rep. P. Bradley, Rigdon, Brett, Aydlette, Davenport, Day, HJ-2749 04/30/85 House Objection by Rep. Pearce & Barfield HJ-2749 05/22/85 House Special order, set for following consideration of H 2266 (Under H-2955) HJ-3359 05/23/85 House Objection withdrawn by Rep. Barfield HJ-3475 05/28/85 House Objection withdrawn by Rep. Brett HJ-3549 05/28/85 House Amended HJ-3554 05/28/85 House Read second time HJ-3588 05/29/85 House Objection withdrawn by Rep. Rigdon HJ-3625 05/29/85 House Read third time and sent to Senate 05/30/85 Senate Introduced and read first time SJ-2377 05/30/85 Senate Referred to Committee on Judiciary SJ-2377 05/30/85 Senate Committee report: Favorable Judiciary SJ-2400 06/04/85 Senate Special order SJ-2779 02/05/86 Senate Amended SJ-458 02/05/86 Senate Read second time SJ-465 02/05/86 Senate Ordered to third reading with notice of amendments SJ-465 02/06/86 Senate Read third time SJ-510 02/06/86 Senate Returned SJ-510 02/19/86 House Concurred in Senate amendment and enrolled HJ-870 03/04/86 Ratified R 355 03/10/86 Signed By Governor 03/10/86 Effective date 07/08/86 03/10/86 Act No. 336 03/10/86 Act takes effect 120 days after approval 03/20/86 Copies available


(A336, R355, H2119)

AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR THE SOUTH CAROLINA RESIDENTIAL LANDLORD AND TENANT ACT WHICH REGULATES THE RENTING AND LEASING OF CERTAIN DWELLING UNITS LOCATED WITHIN THIS STATE AND WHICH INCLUDES PROVISIONS TO ESTABLISH JURISDICTION AND THE METHOD OF OBTAINING JURISDICTION OVER THE PARTIES INVOLVED, TO MAKE CERTAIN DEFINITIONS, TO IMPOSE AN OBLIGATION OF GOOD FAITH IN THE PERFORMANCE AND ENFORCEMENT OF DUTIES AND OBLIGATIONS, TO PROHIBIT UNCONSCIONABILITY, TO PROVIDE FOR THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF RENTAL AGREEMENTS AND THE EFFECT OF UNSIGNED OR UNDELIVERED RENTAL AGREEMENTS, TO PROHIBIT CERTAIN PROVISIONS IN RENTAL AGREEMENTS, TO PROVIDE FOR LANDLORD OBLIGATIONS, LIABILITY AND REMEDIES, TO PROVIDE FOR TENANT OBLIGATIONS, LIABILITY AND REMEDIES, TO PROVIDE FOR MANNER OF TERMINATION OF TENANCIES AND HOLDOVER REMEDIES, TO PROHIBIT RETALIATORY CONDUCT, TO PROVIDE THAT CHAPTER 35, TITLE 27, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO CREATION, ESTABLISHMENT AND TERMINATION OF LEASEHOLD ESTATES, CHAPTER 37, TITLE 27, RELATING TO EJECTMENT OF TENANTS, AND ARTICLE 3, CHAPTER 39, TITLE 27, RELATING TO COLLECTION OF RENT BY DISTRAINT IS NOT APPLICABLE TO THE LEASING OR RENTING OF ANY REAL PROPERTY OTHERWISE GOVERNED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT, AND TO AMEND THE CODE BY ADDING SECTION 27-37-160 SO AS TO ESTABLISH CERTAIN PROCEDURES TO BE FOLLOWED BY CONSTABLES OR DEPUTY SHERIFFS WHEN EXECUTING WRITS OF EJECTMENT.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:

Landlord and Tenant Act

SECTION 1. There is enacted the South Carolina Residential Landlord and Tenant Act as follows:

INDEX

Article I.

General Provisions and Definitions

Part I.

Short Title, Construction, Application,

and Subject Matter of the Act

Section 1. Short Title

Section 2. Purposes: Rules of Construction

Section 3. Supplementary Rules of Law

Applicable

Section 4. Construction Against Implicit

Repeal

Section 5. Administration of Remedies;

Enforcement

Section 6. Settlement of Disputed Claim or

Right

Part II.

Scope and Jurisdiction

Section 7. Territorial Application

Section 8. Exclusions from Application of Act

Section 9. Jurisdiction and Service of Process

Part III.

General Definitions and Principles

Interpretation; Notice

Section 10. General Definitions

Section 11. Obligation of Good Faith

Section 12. Unconscionability

Section 13. Notice

Part IV.

General Provisions

Section 14. Terms and Conditions of Rental

Agreement

Section 15. Effect of Unsigned or Undelivered

Rental Agreement

Section 16. Prohibited Provisions in Rental

Agreements

Section 17. Separation of Rents and

Obligations to Maintain Property

Forbidden

Article II.

Landlord Obligations

Section 18. Security Deposits; Prepaid Rent

Section 19. Disclosure

Section 20. Landlord to Deliver Possession of

Dwelling Unit

Section 21. Landlord to Maintain Premises

Section 22. Limitation of Liability

Article III.

Tenant Obligations

Section 23. Tenant to Maintain Dwelling Unit

Section 24. Rules and Regulations

Section 25. Access

Section 26. Tenant to Use and Occupy

Article IV.

Remedies

Part I.

Tenant Remedies

Section 27. Noncompliance by the Landlord in

General

Section 28. Failure to Deliver Possession

Section 29. Wrong Failure to Provide Essential

Services

Section 30. Landlord's Noncompliance as

Defense to Action for Possession

or Rent

Section 31. Fire or Casualty Damage

Section 32. Tenant's Remedies for Landlord's

Unlawful Ouster or Exclusion

Part II.

Landlord Remedies

Section 33. Noncompliance with Rental

Agreement; Failure to Pay Rent

Section 34. Noncompliance Affecting Health and

Safety

Section 35. Remedies for Absence, Nonuse, and

Abandonment

Section 36. Waiver of Landlord's Right to

Terminate

Section 37. Landlord's Lien; Distress

Proceeding

Section 38. Remedy after Termination

Section 39. Recovery of Possession Limited

Section 40. Periodic Tenancy; Holdover

Remedies

Section 41. Landlord and Tenant Remedies for

Abuse of Access

Section 42. Payment of Rent into Court

Section 43. Undertaking on Appeal and Order

Staying Execution

Article V.

Retaliatory Conduct Prohibited:

Miscellaneous

Section 44. Conflict with Title 27

Section 45. Severability

Section 46. Prior Transactions

Article I

General Provisions and Definitions

Part I

Short Title, Construction, Application,

and Subject Matter of the Act

Section 1. Short Title. This act is known and may be cited as the South Carolina Residential Landlord and Tenant Act.

Section 2. Purposes; Rules of Construction.

(a) This act must be liberally construed and applied to promote its underlying purposes and policies.

(b) Underlying purposes and policies of this act are

(1) to simplify, clarify, modernize and revise the law governing rental of dwelling units and the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants;

(2) to encourage landlords and tenants to maintain and improve the quality of housing.

Section 3. Supplementary Principles of Law Applicable. Unless displaced by the provisions of this act, the principles of law and equity, including the law relating to capacity to contract, mutuality of obligations, principal and agent, real property, public health, safety and fire prevention, estoppel, fraud, misrepresentation, duress, coercion, mistake, bankruptcy, or other validating or invalidating cause shall supplement the provisions of this act.

Section 4. Construction Against Implicit Repeal. This act being a general act intended as a unified coverage of its subject matter, no part of it is to be construed as impliedly repealed by subsequent legislation if that construction can reasonably be avoided.

Section 5. Administration of Remedies; Enforcement. (a) The remedies provided by this act must be so administered that an aggrieved party may recover appropriate damages. The aggrieved party has a duty to mitigate damages.

(b) Any right or obligation declared by this act is enforceable by action unless the provision declaring it specifies a different and limited effect.

Section 6. Settlement of Disputed Claim or Right. A claim or right arising under this act or on a rental agreement, if disputed in good faith, may be settled by agreement.

Part II

Scope and Jurisdiction

Section 7. Territorial Application. This act applies to, regulates, and determines rights, obligations, and remedies under a rental agreement, wherever made, for a dwelling unit located within this State.

Section 8. Exclusions from Application of Act. The following arrangements are not governed by this act:

(1) residence at an institution, public or private, if incidental to detention or the provision of medical, geriatric, educational, counseling, religious, or similar service;

(2) occupancy under a contract of sale of a dwelling unit or the property of which it is a part, if the occupant is the purchaser or a person who succeeds to his interest;

(3) occupancy by a member or a fraternal or social organization in the portion of a structure operated for the benefit of the organization;

(4) transient occupancy in a hotel, motel, or other accommodations subject to the sales tax on accommodations as provided by Section 12-35-1120 of the 1976 Code;

(5) occupancy by an employee of a landlord whose right to occupancy is conditional upon employment in and about the premises;

(6) occupancy by an owner of a condominium unit or a holder of a proprietary lease in a cooperative;

(7) occupancy under a rental agreement covering the premises used by the occupant primarily for agricultural purposes;

(8) occupancy under a rental agreement in a premises regulated by the provisions of Chapter 32 of Title 27 of the 1976 Code (Vacation Time Sharing Plan Act).

Section 9. Jurisdiction and Service of Process. (a) The circuit courts and magistrate courts of this State shall exercise concurrent jurisdiction over any landlord with respect to any conduct in this State governed by this act or with respect to any claim arising from a transaction subject to this act. In addition to any other method provided by rule or by statute, personal jurisdiction over a landlord may be acquired in a civil action or proceeding instituted in the court of common pleas or magistrate court by the service of process in the manner provided by this section.

(b) If a landlord is not a resident of this State or is a corporation not authorized to do business in this State and engaged in any conduct in this State governed by this act, or engaged in a transaction subject to this act, he may designate an agent upon whom service of process may be made in this State. The agent must be a resident of this State or a corporation authorized to do business in this State. The designation must be in writing and filed with the Secretary of State. If no designation is made and filed or if process cannot be served in this State upon the designated agent, process may be served upon the Secretary of State, but service upon him is not effective unless the plaintiff or petitioner forthwith mails a copy of the process and pleading by registered or certified mail requiring a signed receipt to the defendant or respondent at his last reasonably ascertainable address. An affidavit of compliance with this section must be filed with the court of the county wherein the action is instituted on or before the return day of the process, if any, or within any further time the court allows.

Part III

General Definitions and Principles

of Interpretation Notice

Section 10. General Definitions. Subject to additional definitions contained in subsequent articles of this act which apply to specific articles or parts of this act, and unless the context otherwise requires, in this act:

( 1) 'action' includes recoupment,

counterclaim, set-off, suit in equity, and any other proceeding in which rights are determined, including an action for possession;

( 2) 'building and housing codes' include any law, ordinance, or governmental regulation concerning fitness for habitation, or the construction, maintenance, operation, occupancy, use, or appearance of any premise, or dwelling unit;

( 3) 'dwelling unit' means a structure or the part of a structure that is used as a home, residence, or sleeping place by one person who maintains a household or by two or more persons who maintain a common household and includes landlord-owned mobile homes. Property that is leased for the exclusive purpose of being renovated by the lessee is not considered a dwelling unit within the meaning of this act;

( 4) 'fair-market rental value' means the actual periodic rental payment for comparable rental property to which a willing landlord and a willing tenant would agree. In determining the fair-market rental value, the court may consider appraisals offered by the tenant, landlord, realty experts, and such other relevant evidence;

( 5) 'good faith' means honesty in fact in the conduct of the transaction concerned;

( 6) 'landlord' means the owner, lessor, or sublessor of the premises, and it also means a manager of the premises who fails to disclose as required by Section 19 of Article II;

( 7) 'organization' includes a corporation, government, governmental subdivision or agency, business trust, estate, trust, partnership or association, two or more persons having a joint or common interest, and any other legal or commercial entity;

( 8) 'owner' means one or more persons, jointly or severally, in whom is vested (i) all or part of the legal title to property or (ii) all or part of the beneficial ownership and a right to present use and enjoyment of the premises. The term includes a mortgagee in possession;

( 9) 'person' includes an individual or organization;

(10) 'premises' means a dwelling unit and the structure of which it is a part and facilities and appurtenances therein and grounds, areas, and facilities held out for the use of tenants generally or whose use is promised to the tenant;

(11) 'rent' means the consideration payable for use of the premises including late charges whether payable in lump sum or periodic payments, excluding security deposits or other charges;

(12) 'rental agreement' means all agreements, written or oral, and valid rules and regulations adopted under Section 24 of Article III embodying the terms and conditions concerning the use and occupancy of a dwelling unit and premises;

(13) 'roomer' means a person occupying a dwelling unit that does not include a toilet and either a bathtub or a shower and a refrigerator, stove, and kitchen sink, all provided by the landlord, and where one or more of these facilities are used in common by occupants in the structure;

(14) 'single family residence' means a structure maintained and used as a single dwelling unit. Notwithstanding that a dwelling unit shares one or more walls with another dwelling unit, it is a single family residence if it has direct access to a street or thoroughfare and shares neither heating facilities, hot water equipment, nor any other essential facility or service with any other dwelling unit;

(15) 'tenant' means a person entitled under a rental agreement to occupy a dwelling unit to the exclusion of others;

(16) 'wilful' means an attempt to intentionally avoid obligations under the rental agreement or the provisions of this act;

(17) 'essential services' means sanitary plumbing or sewer services; electricity; gas, where it is used for heat, hot water, or cooking;

running water, and reasonable amounts of hot water and heat, except where the building that includes the dwelling unit is not required by law to be equipped for that purpose, or the dwelling unit is so constructed that heat or hot water is generated by an installation within the exclusive control of the tenant and supplied by a direct public utility connection.

Section 11. Obligation of Good Faith. Every duty under this act and every act which must be performed as a condition precedent to the exercise of a right or remedy under this act imposes an obligation of good faith in its performances or enforcement.

Section 12. Unconscionability. (a) If the

court as a matter of law, finds:

(1) a rental agreement was unconscionable when made, the court may refuse to enforce the rental agreement;

(2) any provision of a rental agreement was unconscionable when made, the court may enforce the remainder of the agreement without the unconscionable provision or limit the application of any unconscionable provision to avoid an unconscionable result; or

(3) a settlement in which a party waives or agrees to forego a claim or right under this act or under a rental agreement was unconscionable when made, the court may refuse to enforce the settlement, enforce the remainder of the settlement without the unconscionable provision, or limit the application of any unconscionable provision to avoid an unconscionable result.

(b) If unconscionability is put into issue by a party or by the court upon its own motion, the parties must be afforded a reasonable opportunity to present evidence as to the setting, purpose, and effect of the rental agreement or settlement to aid the court in making the determination.

Section 13. Notice.

(a) A person has notice of a fact if:

(1) he has actual knowledge of it,

(2) he has received a notice or notification of it, or

(3) from all the facts and circumstances known to him at the time in question he has reason to know that it exists. A person 'knows' or 'has knowledge' of a fact if he has actual knowledge of it.

(b) A person 'notifies' or 'gives' a notice or notification to another person by taking steps reasonably calculated to inform the other in ordinary course whether or not the other actually comes to know of it. A person 'receives' a notice or notification when:

(1) it comes to his attention; or

(2) in the case of the landlord, it is delivered at the place of business of the landlord through which the rental agreement was made or at any place held out by him as the place for receipt of the communication; or

(3) in the case of the tenant, it is delivered in hand to the tenant or mailed by registered or certified mail to him at the place held out by him as the place for receipt of the communication, or in the absence of the designation, to his last known place of residence. Proof of mailing pursuant to this subsection constitutes notice without proof of receipt.

(c) 'Notice', knowledge, or a notice or notification received by an organization is effective for a particular transaction from the time it is brought to the attention of the individual conducting that transaction, and in any event from the time it would have been brought to his attention if the organization had exercised reasonable diligence.

(d) The time within which an act is to be done must be computed by reference to Section 15-1-20 of the 1976 Code.

Part IV

General Provisions

Section 14. Terms and Conditions of Rental Agreement.

(a) A landlord and a tenant may include in a rental agreement terms and conditions not prohibited by this act or other rule of law, including rent, term of the agreement, and other provisions governing the rights and obligations of the parties.

(b) In absence of agreement, the tenant shall pay as rent the fair-market rental value for the use and occupancy of the dwelling unit.

(c) Rent is payable without demand or notice at the time and place agreed upon by the parties. Unless the tenant is otherwise notified in writing, rent is payable at the dwelling unit and periodic rent is payable at the beginning of any term of one month or less and otherwise in equal monthly installments at the beginning of each month. Unless otherwise agreed, rent is uniformly apportionable from day to day.

(d) Unless the rental agreement fixes a definite term, the tenancy is week to week in case of a roomer who pays weekly rent and in all other cases month to month.

Section 15. Effect of Unsigned or Undelivered Rental Agreement.

(a) If the landlord does not sign and deliver a written rental agreement which has been signed and delivered to the landlord by the tenant, acceptance of rent without reservation by the landlord gives the rental agreement the same effect as if it had been signed and delivered by the landlord.

(b) If the tenant does not sign and deliver a written rental agreement which has been signed and delivered to the tenant by the landlord, acceptance of possession and payment of rent without reservation gives the rental agreement the same effect as if it had been signed and delivered by the tenant.

(c) If a rental agreement given effect by the operation of this section provides for a term longer than one year, it is effective for only one year.

Section 16. Prohibited Provisions in Rental Agreements.

(a) A rental agreement may not provide that the tenant:

(1) agrees to waive or forego rights or remedies under this act;

(2) authorizes any person to confess judgment on a claim arising out of the rental agreement;

(3) agrees to the exculpation or limitation of any liability of the landlord arising under law or to indemnify the landlord for that liability or the costs connected therewith.

(b) A provision prohibited by subsection (a) included in a rental agreement is unenforceable. If a landlord deliberately uses a rental agreement containing provisions known by him to be prohibited and attempts to exercise the rights created by the agreement, the tenant may recover in addition to his actual damages an amount not to exceed the security deposit and reasonable attorney's fees. If a landlord maliciously uses a rental agreement containing provisions known by him to be prohibited and attempts to exercise the rights created thereby, the tenant may recover in addition to his actual damages an amount not to exceed three months' periodic rent and reasonable attorney's fees.

(c) The provisions of this section shall not operate so as to invalidate bona fide liquidated damage provisions which shall establish the amount of damages for loss of rent resulting from a premature termination of a lease.

Section 17. Separation of Rents and Obligations to Maintain Property Forbidden.

A rental agreement, assignment, conveyance, trust deed, mortgage, or security instrument may not permit the receipt of rent absent the obligation to comply with Section 21(a) of Article II.

Article II

Landlord Obligations

Section 18. Security Deposits; Prepaid Rent.

(a) Upon termination of the tenancy, property or money held by the landlord as security may be applied to the payment of accrued rent and the amount of damages which the landlord has suffered by reason of the tenant's noncompliance with Section 23 of Article III. Any deduction

from the security deposit must be itemized by the landlord in a written notice to the tenant together with the amount due, if any, within thirty days after termination of the tenancy and delivery of possession and demand by the tenant, whichever is later. The tenant shall provide the landlord in writing with a forwarding address or new address to which the written notice and amount due from the landlord may be sent. If the tenant fails to provide the landlord with the forwarding or new address, the tenant is not entitled to damages under this subsection provided the landlord (1) had no notice of the tenant's whereabouts and (2) mailed the written notice and amount due, if any, to the tenant's last known address.

(b) If the landlord fails to return any prepaid rent required to be paid to the tenants under this act, the tenant may recover the property and money in an amount equal to three times the amount wrongfully withheld and reasonable attorney's fees.

(c) If a landlord (1) rents more than four adjoining dwelling units on the premises, and (2) imposes different standards for calculating security deposits required of different tenants on the premises, then, prior to the consummation of the rental agreement, the landlord shall either post in a conspicuous place on the premises, or at the place at which rental is paid a statement clearly indicating the standards by which such security deposits are calculated, or shall provide each prospective tenant with a statement setting forth the standards. If a landlord fails to comply with this subsection as to a tenant, the difference between the security deposit required of the tenant and the lowest security deposit required of any other tenant of a comparable dwelling unit on the premises is not subject to deductions for damages by reason of the tenant's noncompliance with Section 23 of Article III. (d) This section does not preclude the landlord or tenant from recovering other damages to which he may be entitled under this act or otherwise.

(e) Subject to the provisions of Section 22, the holder of the landlord's interest in the premises at the time of the termination of the tenancy is bound by this section.

Section 19. Disclosure.

(a) A landlord or any person authorized to enter into a rental agreement on his behalf shall disclose to the tenant in writing at or before the commencement of the tenancy the name and address of an owner of the premises or a person authorized to act on behalf of the owner as agent, inter alia, for purposes of service of process and receiving or receipting notices or demands.

(b) The information required to be furnished by this section must be kept current and this section extends to and is enforceable against any successor landlord, owner, or manager.

(c) A person authorized to enter in a rental agreement on behalf of a landlord who fails to comply with subsection (a) with regard to a rental agreement entered into on behalf of the landlord becomes an agent of the landlord for purposes of that rental agreement for:

(1) service of process and receiving and receipting for notices and demands;

(2) performing the obligations of the landlord under this act and under the rental agreement and expending or making available for the performance of the obligations all rent collected from the premises and retained by the person on behalf of the landlord.

Section 20. Landlord to Deliver Possession of Dwelling Unit.

At the commencement of the term a landlord shall deliver possession of the premises to the tenant in compliance with the rental agreement and Section 21 of this article. The landlord may bring an action for possession against any person wrongfully in possession and may recover the damages provided in Section 40(c) of Article IV.

Section 2l. Landlord to Maintain Premises.

(a) A landlord shall:

(1) comply with the requirements of applicable building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety;

(2) make all repairs and do whatever is reasonably necessary to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition;

(3) keep all common areas of the premises in a reasonably safe condition, and, for premises containing more than four dwelling units, keep in a reasonably clean condition;

(4) make available running water and reasonable amounts of hot water at all times and reasonable heat except where the building that includes the dwelling unit is not required by law to be equipped for that purpose, or the dwelling unit is so constructed that heat or hot water is generated by an installation within the exclusive control of the tenant and supplied by a direct public utility connection;

(5) maintain in reasonably good and safe working order and condition all electrical, gas, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air conditioning, and other facilities and appliances, including elevators, supplied or required to be supplied by him. Appliances present in the dwelling unit are presumed to be supplied by the landlord unless specifically excluded by the rental agreement. No appliances or facilities necessary to the provision of essential services may be excluded.

(b) If the duty imposed by paragraph (1) of subsection (a) is greater than any duty imposed by any other paragraph of that subsection, the landlord's duty must be determined by reference to paragraph (1) of subsection (a).

(c) The landlord and tenant of a single family residence may agree in writing that the tenant perform the landlord's duties specified in paragraph (5) of subsection (a) and also specified repairs, maintenance tasks, alterations, and remodeling, but only if the transaction is entered into in good faith and not for the purpose of evading the obligations of the landlord.

(d) The landlord and tenant of any dwelling unit other than a single family residence may agree that the tenant is to perform specified repairs, maintenance tasks, alterations, or remodeling only if:

(1) the agreement of the parties is entered into in good faith and not for the purpose of evading the obligations of the landlord;

(2) the work is not necessary to cure noncompliance with subsection (a)(1) of this section;

(3) the agreement does not diminish or affect the obligations of the landlord to other tenants in the premises.

Section 22. Limitation of Liability.

(a) Unless otherwise agreed, a landlord who conveys the premises that include a dwelling unit subject to a rental agreement in a good faith sale to a bona fide purchaser is relieved of liability under the rental agreement and this act as to events occurring after written notice to the tenant of the conveyance. However, he remains liable to the tenant for security recoverable by the tenant under Section 18 of this article, unless the security deposit is transferred from the seller to the purchaser and the tenant is notified in writing a reasonable time after the transaction in which case the purchaser is liable under Section 18.

(b) Unless otherwise agreed, a manager of the premises that includes a dwelling unit is relieved of liability under the rental agreement and this act as to events occurring after written notice to the tenant of the termination of his management.

Article III

Tenant Obligations

Section 23. Tenant to Maintain Dwelling Unit.

A tenant shall:

(1) comply with all obligations primarily imposed upon tenants by applicable provisions of building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety;

(2) keep the dwelling unit and that part of the premises that he uses reasonably safe and reasonably clean;

(3) dispose from his dwelling unit all ashes, garbage, rubbish, and other waste in a reasonably clean and safe manner;

(4) keep all plumbing fixtures in the dwelling unit or used by the tenant reasonably clean;

(5) use in a reasonable manner all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, and other facilities and appliances including elevators in the premises;

(6) not deliberately or negligently destroy, deface, damage, impair, or remove any part of the premises or knowingly permit any person to do so who is on the premises with the tenant's permission or who is allowed access to the premises by the tenant;

(7) conduct himself and require other persons on the premises with the tenant's permission or who are allowed access to the premises by the tenant to conduct themselves in a manner that will not disturb other tenant's peaceful enjoyment of the premises;

(8) comply with the lease and rules and regulations which are enforceable pursuant to Section 24.

Section 24. Rules and Regulations.

(a) A landlord, from time to time, may adopt rules or regulations, however described, concerning the tenant's use and occupancy of the premises. They are enforceable against the tenant only if:

(1) their purpose is to promote the convenience, safety, or welfare of the tenants in the premises, preserve the landlord's property from abusive use, or make a fair distribution of services and facilities held out for the tenants generally;

(2) They are reasonably related to the purpose for which they are adopted;

(3) they apply to all tenants in the premises in a fair manner;

(4) they are sufficiently explicit in their prohibition, direction, or limitation of the tenant's conduct to fairly inform him of what he must or must not do to comply;

(5) they are not for the purpose of evading the obligations of the landlord;

(6) the tenant has notice of them at the time he enters into the rental agreement, or when they are adopted.

(b) Rules or regulations adopted after a tenant enters into a rental agreement are not valid as to such tenant if the rules or regulations substantially modify the tenant's bargain and after receiving notice upon adoption of his right to object, the tenant objects in writing to the landlord within thirty days after promulgation.

Section 25. Access.

(a) A tenant shall not unreasonably withhold consent to the landlord to enter into the dwelling unit in order to inspect the premises, make necessary or agreed repairs, decorations, alterations, or improvements, supply necessary or agreed services, or exhibit the dwelling unit to prospective or actual purchasers, mortgagees, tenants, workmen, or contractors.

(b) A landlord or his agent may enter the dwelling unit without consent of the tenant:

(1) At any time in case of emergency - prospective changes in weather conditions which pose a likelihood of danger to the property may be considered an emergency;

(2) Between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. for the purpose of providing regularly scheduled periodic services such as changing furnace and air-conditioning filters, providing termite, insect, or pest treatment, and the like, provided that the right to enter to provide regularly scheduled periodic services is conspicuously set forth in writing in the rental agreement and that prior to entering, the landlord announces his intent to enter to perform services; or

(3) Between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. for the purpose of providing services requested by the tenant and that prior to entering, the landlord announces his intent to enter to perform services.

(c) A landlord shall not abuse the right of access or use it to harass the tenant. Except in cases under item (b) above, the landlord shall give the tenant at least twenty-four hours notice of his intent to enter and may enter only at reasonable times.

(d) A landlord has no other right of access except:

(1) pursuant to court order;

(2) as permitted by Sections 34 and 35 of Article IV;

(3) when accompanied by a law enforcement officer at reasonable times for the purpose of service of process in ejectment proceedings; or

(4) unless the tenant has abandoned or surrendered the premises.

Section 26. Tenant to Use and Occupy.

Unless otherwise agreed, a tenant shall occupy his dwelling unit only as a dwelling unit and shall not conduct or permit any illegal activities thereon.

Article IV

Remedies

Part I

Tenant Remedies

Section 27. Noncompliance by the Landlord in General.

(a) Except as provided in this act, if there is a material noncompliance by the landlord with the rental agreement or a noncompliance with Section 21 of Article II materially affecting health and safety or the physical condition of the property, the tenant may deliver a written notice to the landlord specifying the acts and omissions constituting the breach and that the rental agreement will terminate upon a date not less than fourteen days after receipt of the notice if the breach is not remedied within fourteen days. The rental agreement shall terminate as provided in the notice except that:

(1) The rental agreement shall not terminate by reason of the breach:

(i) if the breach is remedial by repairs or otherwise and the landlord adequately remedies the breach before the date specified in the notice; or

(ii) if such remedy for a breach not affecting health and safety cannot be remedied within fourteen days, but is commenced within the fourteen-day period and is pursued in good faith to completion within a reasonable time.

(2) The tenant may not terminate for a condition caused by the deliberate or negligent act or omission of the tenant, a member of his family, or other person on the premises with the tenant's permission or who is allowed access to the premises by the tenant.

(b) Except as provided in this act, the tenant may recover actual damages and obtain injunctive relief in a magistrate's or circuit court, without posting bond, for any noncompliance by the landlord with the rental agreement or Section 21 of Article II. If the landlord's noncompliance is wilful, the tenant may recover reasonable attorney's fees.

(c) If the rental agreement is terminated, the landlord shall return security recoverable by the tenant under Section 18 of Article II. If the landlord's noncompliance is wilful, the tenant may recover reasonable attorney's fees.

Section 28. Failure to Deliver Possession.

(a) If the landlord fails to deliver possession of the dwelling unit to the tenant as provided in Section 20 of Article II, rent abates until possession is delivered and the tenant may:

(1) terminate the rental agreement upon at least five days' written notice to the landlord and upon termination the landlord shall return all prepaid rent and security; or

(2) demand performance of the rental agreement by the landlord and, if the tenant elects, maintain an action for possession of the dwelling unit against the landlord or any person wrongfully in possession and recover the actual damages sustained by him. Where the landlord is unable to deliver possession due to a previous tenant remaining in possession without the landlord's consent, after the expiration of the term of their rental agreement or its termination, the landlord is not liable for damages pursuant to this subsection, if the landlord made reasonable efforts to obtain possession of the premises.

(b) If a person's failure to deliver possession is wilful and not in good faith, an aggrieved person may recover from that person an amount not more than three months' periodic rent or twice the actual damages sustained, whichever is greater, and reasonable attorney's fees.

Section 29. Wrongful Failure to Supply Essential Services.

(a) If the landlord is negligent or wilful in failing to provide essential services as required by the rental agreement or Section 21 of Article II, the tenant may give written notice to the landlord specifying the breach and may:

(1) procure reasonable amounts of the required essential services during the period of the landlord's noncompliance and deduct their actual and reasonable cost from the rent; or

(2) recover damages based upon the diminution in the fair-market rental value of the dwelling unit and reasonable attorney's fees.

(b) If the tenant proceeds under this section, he may not proceed under Section 27 of this article as to that breach.

(c) Under no circumstances should this section be interpreted to authorize the tenant to make repairs on the rental property and deduct the cost of the repairs from rent. In the event that the tenant unlawfully acts without the landlord's consent and authorizes repairs, any mechanic's lien arising therefrom shall be unenforceable.

(d) Rights of the tenant under this section do not arise until he has given notice to the landlord and the landlord fails to act within a reasonable time or if the condition was caused by the deliberate or negligent act or omission of the tenant, a member of his family, or other person on the premises with the tenant's permission or who is allowed access to the premises by the tenant.

Section 30. Landlord's Noncompliance as

Defense to Action for Possession or Rent.

(a) In an action for possession based upon nonpayment of the rent or in an action for rent concerning a period when the tenant is in possession, the tenant may rely on the rental agreement or the provisions of this act to assert defenses and to counterclaim for any amount recoverable thereunder. If the defense or counterclaim by the tenant is without merit and is not raised in good faith, the landlord may recover, in addition to actual damages, reasonable attorney's fees.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a), a tenant is considered to have waived violation of a landlord's duty to maintain the premises as set forth by the rental agreement or violation of the landlord's duties under Section 21 of this act as a defense in an action for possession based upon nonpayment of rent or in an action for rent concerning a period where:

(1) The landlord has no notice of the violation of the duties fourteen days before rent is due for violations of Section 21 involving services other than essential services; or

(2) The landlord has no notice before rent is due which provides a reasonable opportunity to make emergency repairs necessary for the provision of essential services.

(c) In an action for rent concerning a period when the tenant is not in possession, he may assert defenses and counterclaims as provided in subsection (a) but is not required to pay any rent as required by Section 42.

Section 31. Fire or Casualty Damage.

(a) If the dwelling unit or premises are damaged or destroyed by fire or casualty to the extent that normal use and occupancy of the dwelling unit is substantially impaired, the tenant may:

(1) immediately vacate the premises and notify the landlord in writing within seven days thereafter of his intention to terminate the rental agreement, in which case the rental agreement terminates as of the date of vacating; or

(2) if continued occupancy is lawful, vacate any part of the dwelling unit rendered unusable by the fire or casualty, in which case the tenant's liability for rent is reduced in proportion to the diminution in the fair-market rental value of the dwelling unit.

(b) If the rental agreement is terminated, the landlord shall return security recoverable under Section 18 of Article II and all prepaid rent. Accounting for rent in the event of termination or apportionment must be made as of the date of the fire or casualty.

Section 32. Tenant's Remedies for Landlord's Unlawful Ouster or Exclusion.

If a landlord unlawfully removes or excludes the tenant from the premises, or wilfully diminishes services to tenant by interrupting or causing interruption of essential services, the tenant may recover possession or terminate the rental agreement and, in either case, recover an amount equal to three months' periodic rent or twice the actual damages sustained by him, whichever is greater, and reasonable attorney's fees. If the rental agreement is terminated the landlord shall return security recoverable under Section 18 of Article II.

Part II

Landlord Remedies

Section 33. Noncompliance with Rental

Agreement; Failure to Pay Rent.

(a) Except as provided in this act, if there is a noncompliance by the tenant with the rental agreement other than nonpayment of rent or a noncompliance with Section 23 of Article III materially affecting health and safety or the physical condition of the property, the landlord may deliver a written notice to the tenant specifying the acts and omissions constituting the breach and that the rental agreement will terminate upon a date not less than fourteen days after receipt of the notice, if the breach is not remedied in fourteen days. The rental agreement shall terminate as provided in the notice except that:

(1) if the breach is remediable by repairs or otherwise and the tenant adequately remedies the breach before the date specified in the notice, or

(2) if such remedy cannot be completed within fourteen days, but is commenced within the fourteen-day period and is pursued in good faith to completion within a reasonable time, the rental agreement shall not terminate by reason of the breach.

(b) If rent is unpaid when due and the tenant fails to pay rent within five days from the date due, the landlord may terminate the rental agreement provided the landlord has given the tenant written notice of nonpayment and his intention to terminate the rental agreement if the rent is not paid within that period. The landlord's obligation to provide notice under this section is satisfied for any lease term after the landlord has given one such notice to the tenant or if the notice is contained in conspicuous language in a written rental agreement.

(c) Except as provided in this act, the landlord may recover actual damages and obtain injunctive relief in magistrate's or circuit court without posting bond for any noncompliance by the tenant with the rental agreement or Section 23 of Article III. If the tenant's noncompliance is wilful other than nonpayment of rent, the landlord may recover reasonable attorney's fees. If the tenant's nonpayment of rent is not in good faith, the landlord is entitled to reasonable attorney's fees.

Section 34. Noncompliance Affecting Health and Safety.

(a) If there is noncompliance by the tenant with Section 23 of Article III materially affecting health and safety that can be remedied by repair, replacement of a damaged item, or cleaning, and the tenant fails to comply as promptly as conditions require in case of emergency or within fourteen days after written notice by the landlord specifying the breach and requesting that the tenant remedy it within that period of time, the landlord may enter the dwelling unit and cause the work to be done in a workmanlike manner and shall in addition have the remedies available under this act.

(b) If there is noncompliance by the tenant with Section 23 of Article III materially affecting health and safety other than as set forth in subsection (a) above, and the tenant fails to comply as promptly as conditions require in case of emergency, or within fourteen days after written notice by the landlord if it is not an emergency, specifying the breach and requesting that the tenant remedy within that period of time, the landlord may terminate the rental agreement.

Section 35. Remedies for Absence, Nonuse, and Abandonment.

(a) The unexplained absence of a tenant from a dwelling unit for a period of fifteen days after default in the payment of rent must be construed as abandonment of the dwelling unit.

(b) If the tenant abandons the dwelling unit, the landlord shall make reasonable efforts to rent it at a fair rental. If the landlord rents the dwelling unit for a term beginning before the expiration of the rental agreement, it terminates as of the date of the new tenancy, subject to the landlord's remedies under Section 38. If the landlord fails to use reasonable efforts to rent the dwelling unit at a fair rental or if the landlord accepts the abandonment as a surrender, the rental agreement is considered to be terminated by the landlord as of the date the landlord has notice of the abandonment. If the tenancy is from month to month or week to week, the term of the rental agreement for this purpose is considered to be a month or a week, as the case may be.

(c) When a dwelling unit has been abandoned or the rental agreement has come to an end and the tenant has removed a substantial portion of his property or voluntarily and permanently terminated his utilities and has left personal property in the dwelling unit or on the premises with a fair-market value of five hundred dollars or less, the landlord may enter the dwelling unit, using forceable entry if required, and dispose of the property.

(d) When a dwelling unit has been abandoned or the rental agreement has come to an end and the tenant has left personal property in the dwelling unit or on the premises in the cases not covered by subsection (c) above, the landlord may have the property removed only pursuant to the provisions of Sections 27-37-10 to 27-37-150 of the 1976 Code.

(e) Where property is disposed of by the landlord pursuant to subsection (c) and the property was in excess of five hundred dollars, the landlord is not liable unless the landlord was grossly negligent.

Section 36. Landlord's Lien; Distress

Proceeding.

(a) A contractual lien or contractual security interest on behalf of the landlord in the tenant's household goods is not enforceable unless perfected before the effective date of this act.

(b) A landlord may enforce collection of rent by distress only pursuant to Chapter 39, Title 27 of the 1976 Code; however, the tenant may raise defenses to the issuance of a distress warrant pursuant to the provisions of this act or the rental agreement and may take advantage of the property exemptions found in Section 15-41-200 of the 1976 Code.

Section 37. Remedy after Termination.

If the rental agreement is terminated, the landlord has a right to possession and for rent and a separate claim for actual damages for breach of the rental agreement and reasonable attorney's fees.

Section 38. Recovery of Possession Limited.

A landlord may not recover or take possession of the dwelling unit by action or otherwise, including wilful diminution of required essential services to the tenant by interrupting or causing the interruption of services, except in case of abandonment, surrender, termination, or as permitted in this act.

Section 39. Periodic Tenancy; Holdover

Remedies.

(a) The landlord or the tenant may terminate a week-to-week tenancy by a written notice given to the other at least seven days before the termination date specified in the notice.

(b) The landlord or the tenant may terminate a month-to-month tenancy by a written notice given to the other at least thirty days before the termination date specified in the notice.

(c) If the tenant remains in possession without the landlord's consent after expiration of the term of the rental agreement or its termination, the landlord may bring an action for possession. If the holdover is not in good faith, the landlord may recover reasonable attorney's fees. If the tenant's holdover is a wilful violation of the provisions of this act or the rental agreement, the landlord may also recover an amount not more than three months periodic rent or twice the actual damages sustained by him, whichever is greater and reasonable attorney's fees. If the landlord consents to the tenant's continued occupancy, Section 14(d) of Article I applies.

Section 40. Landlord and Tenant Remedies for Abuse of Access.

(a) If the tenant refuses to allow lawful access, the landlord may obtain injunctive relief in magistrates' or circuit court without posting bond to compel access, or terminate the rental agreement. In either case the landlord may recover actual damages and reasonable attorney's fees.

(b) If the landlord knowingly makes an unlawful entry or repeated lawful entry in an unreasonable manner or makes repeated demands for entry otherwise lawful but which have the effect of unreasonably harassing the tenant, the tenant may obtain injunctive relief in magistrates' or circuit court without posting bond to prevent the recurrence of the conduct or terminate the rental agreement. In either case the tenant may recover actual damages and reasonable attorney's fees.

Section 41. Payment of Rent During Pendency of Action.

In any action where the landlord sues for possession and the tenant raises defenses or counterclaims pursuant to this act or the rental agreement:

(a) The tenant is required to pay the landlord all rent which becomes due after the issuance of a written rule requiring the tenant to vacate or show cause as rent becomes due and the landlord is required to provide the tenant with a written receipt for each payment except when the tenant pays by check. If the landlord and tenant disagree as to the amount of rent or the time of payments thereof, the court shall hold a hearing as soon as feasible after the issues have been joined, and preliminarily determine the matter. In the event that the basis for the disagreement of the amount of rent due is the landlord's alleged violation of the rental agreement or the provisions of this act, the rent to be paid must be the fair-market rental value of the premises at the time of the hearing. Rent must not be abated for a condition caused by the deliberate or negligent act or omission of the tenant, a member of his family, or other person on the premises with his permission or who is allowed access to the premises by the tenant.

(b) The tenant is required to pay the landlord all rent allegedly owed prior to the issuance of the rule, provided, however, that in lieu of the payment the tenant may be allowed to submit to the court a receipt and cancelled check, or both, indicating that payment has been made to the landlord.

In the event that the amount of rent is in controversy, the court shall determine the amount of rent to be paid to the landlord in the same manner as in subsection (a) or (b) of this section.

(c) Should the tenant not appear and show cause within ten days, the court shall issue a warrant of ejectment pursuant to Section 27-37-40 of the 1976 Code.

Should the tenant appear in response to the rule and allege that rent due under subsections (a) or (b) has been paid, the court shall determine the issue. If the tenant has failed to comply with subsections (a) or (b), the court shall issue a warrant of ejectment and the landlord must be placed in full possession of the premises by the sheriff, deputy, or constable.

(d) If the amount of rent due is determined at final adjudication to be less than alleged by the landlord, judgment must be entered for the tenant if he has complied fully with the provisions of this section.

Section 42. Undertaking on Appeal and Order Staying Execution.

(a) Upon appeal to the circuit court, the case must be heard, in a manner consistent with other appeals from magistrates' court, as soon as is feasible after the appeal is docketed.

(b) It is sufficient to stay execution of a judgment for ejectment that the tenant sign an undertaking that he will pay to the landlord the amount of rent, determined by the magistrate in accordance with Section 41, as it becomes due periodically after the judgment was entered. Any magistrate, clerk, or circuit court judge shall order a stay of execution upon the undertaking.

(c) The undertaking by the tenant and the order staying execution may be substantially in the following form:

State of South Carolina

County of _________

_____________ Landlord

vs.

_____________ Tenant

Bond to Stay

Execution on Appeal

to Circuit Court

Now comes the tenant in the above entitled action and respectfully shows the court that a judgment of ejectment was issued against the tenant and for the landlord on the _______ day of _______ , 19_______ , by the magistrate. Tenant has appealed the judgment to the circuit court.

Pursuant to the findings of the magistrate, the tenant is obligated to pay rent in the amount of $________ per ________ , due on the ___________ day of each __________ .

Tenant hereby undertakes to pay the periodic rent hereinafter due according to the aforesaid findings of the court and moves the circuit court to stay execution on the judgment for ejectment until this matter is heard on appeal and decided by the circuit court.

This the __________ day of ________ , 19______

_______________________________

Tenant

Upon execution of the above bond, execution on the judgment of ejectment is hereby stayed until the action is heard on appeal and decided by the circuit court. If tenant fails to make any rental payment within five days of the due date, upon application of the landlord, the stay of execution shall dissolve, the appeal by the tenant to the circuit court on issues dealing with possession must be dismissed and the sheriff may dispossess the tenant.

This the ______ day of ______ ,19______

Judge

(d) If either party disputes the amount of the payment or the due date in the undertaking, the aggrieved party may move for modification of the terms of the undertaking before the circuit court. Upon the motion and upon notice to all interested parties, the court shall hold a hearing as soon as is feasible after the filing of the motion and determine what modifications, if any, are appropriate. No judgment for ejectment may be executed pending a hearing on the motion, provided the tenant complied with the terms of the undertaking.

(e) If the tenant fails to make a payment within five days of the due date according to the undertaking and order staying execution, the clerk, upon application of the landlord, shall issue a warrant of ejectment to be executed pursuant to Section 27-37-40 of the 1976 Code.

(f)(1) Upon appeal to the Supreme Court, it is sufficient to stay execution of a judgment for ejectment that the tenant sign an undertaking that he will pay to the landlord the amount of rent, determined by order of the judge of the circuit court, as it becomes due periodically after judgment was entered. The judge of the court having jurisdiction shall order stay of execution upon the undertaking.

(2) The tenant's failure to comply with the terms of the undertaking entitles the landlord to execution of the judgment for possession in accordance with the provisions of subsection (e) of this section.

Article V

Retaliatory Conduct Prohibited; Miscellaneous

Section 43. Retaliatory Conduct Prohibited.

(a) Except as provided in this section, a landlord shall not retaliate by increasing rent to an amount in excess of fair-market value or decreasing essential services or by bringing an action for possession after:

(1) the tenant has complained to a governmental agency charged with responsibility for enforcement of a building or housing code of a violation applicable to the premises materially affecting health and safety; or

(2) the tenant has complained to the landlord of a violation of this act.

(b) If the landlord acts in violation of subsection (a), the tenant is entitled to the remedies provided in Section 32 of Article IV as a defense in any retaliatory action against him for possession. If the defense by the tenant is without merit, the landlord is entitled to reasonable attorney's fees. If the defense is raised in bad faith, the landlord may recover up to three month's periodic rent or treble the actual damages, whichever is greater. If the landlord recovers damages under this section, he may not also recover damages under Section 39.

(c) Notwithstanding subsections (a) and (b), a landlord may bring an action for possession if:

(1) the violation of the applicable building or housing code was caused primarily by lack of reasonable care by the tenant, a member of his family, or other person on the premises with his permission or who is allowed access to the premises by the tenant, or

(2) there is material noncompliance by the tenant under Section 33 or Section 34; or

(3) compliance with the applicable building or housing code requires alteration, remodeling, or demolition which would effectively deprive the tenant of use of the dwelling unit.

(d) The maintenance of an action under subsection (c) does not release the landlord from liability under subsection (b) of Section 27 of Article IV.

(e) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) a landlord who rents more than four adjoining dwelling units on the premises may increase rent without there being a presumption of retaliation, provided that the increase applies uniformly to all tenants, or so long as the rent does not exceed the fair-market value.

(f) In an action for possession where the tenant intends to raise a defense under this section, the tenant must notify the landlord in writing within ten days after service of the Rule to Vacate or Show Cause of his intent to do so. After the tenant has filed an Answer to the Rule, the court shall hear the matter as promptly as is feasible.

(g) If the landlord retaliates against the tenant for engaging in conduct protected under section (a) by refusing to renew the lease, and if the tenant is not in default as to payment of rent, the landlord may not recover possession of the dwelling unit for seventy-five days and may not increase rent to an amount in excess of fair-market value or decrease essential services pending the recovery of the dwelling unit, provided that the tenant proves the landlord's violation of this act, the landlord had notice of such violation, and the landlord had notice of the tenant's complaint prior to expiration of the lease.

(h) Any landlord who acts in retaliation against the tenant for engaging in protected conduct is liable for damages up to three month's rent or treble the actual damages sustained by the tenant, whichever is greater, and reasonable attorney's fees. Nothing in this section may be construed to prohibit an action for damages after a landlord has recovered possession of the dwelling unit in subsection (c), provided the ejectment was primarily in retaliation against the tenant's protected conduct.

Section 44. Conflict with Title 27.

Chapter 35, Title 27, Chapter 37, Title 27, and Article 3, Chapter 39, Title 27, of the 1976 Code, are not applicable to the leasing or renting or to leases or rental agreements concerning any real property insofar as they are inconsistent with the provisions of this act, including the rights and remedies of landlords and tenants thereto.

Section 45. Severability.

If any provision of this act or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or application of this act which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this act are severable.

Section 46. Prior Transactions.

Transactions entered into before the effective date of this act, and not extended or renewed on or after that date, and the rights, duties, and interests flowing from them remain valid and may be terminated, completed, consummated, or enforced as required or permitted by any statute or other law amended or repealed by this act as though the repeal or amendment had not occurred."

Index and Analysis lines

SECTION 2. The index and the analysis lines after the respective articles, parts, and sections of the South Carolina Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, as contained in Section 1 of this act, are not a part of the act itself but are provided for explanatory and informational purposes only.

Writ of ejectment, execution

SECTION 3. The 1976 Code is amended by adding:

"Section 27-37-160. In executing a writ of ejectment, the constable or deputy sheriff shall proceed to the premises, present to the occupants a copy of the writ and give the occupants an opportunity to vacate voluntarily. If the occupants refuse to vacate or the premises appear unoccupied, the constable or deputy sheriff shall announce his identity and purpose. If necessary, the deputy sheriff, but not a constable, may then enter the premises by force, using the least destructive means possible, in order to effectuate the ejectment. Discretion may be exercised by the constable or deputy sheriff in granting a delay in the dispossession of ill or elderly tenants."

Time effective

SECTION 4. This act shall take effect one hundred twenty days after approval by the Governor and shall apply to leases or rental agreements entered into or extended or renewed on or after that date.




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