Tenant Law in South Carolina
In Bluffton, South Carolina, relationships between tenants and landlords can sometimes become strained.
Tenants and landlords have many legal rights and responsibilities. In general, these rights don't conflict with one another, as long as both parties are clear about what they are, and act accordingly.
Landlord's Rights in Bluffton, SC
The most basic right that landlords have is the right to be paid the agreed-upon rent by their tenant. Obviously, renting apartments is how landlords make a living, so they are entitled to collect the rent that the tenant agreed to pay.
They additionally have a right to compensation for any damage that a tenant causes, beyond ordinary wear and tear. Landlords are free to bill the tenants for repairs to damage they caused, and deduct the cost from the security deposit.
Tenant's Rights in Bluffton, SC
At the most basic level, tenants have a basic right to what they're paying for: a habitable living environment. Consequently, landlords in Bluffton, South Carolina must ensure that the units they rent to tenants meet some basic standards for human habitation. These requirements vary from state to state, but are often fairly easy to meet. There are no legal criteria that rented units be pretty, particularly spacious, or luxurious. They simply have to be fit for human beings to live in them. To be considered "habitable," rented units must have water, electricity, some form of heating (if the local climate necessitates it), and adequate protection from the elements (proper insulation, no roof leaks, windows that close, etc.).
Moreover, tenants are entitled to common areas that are reasonable safe and sanitary. The common areas of an apartment building would include lobbies, laundry rooms, stairwells, hallways, and fire escapes (basically, any part of the building which all of the tenants can access). In Bluffton, South Carolina, these areas must be kept reasonably clean and safe.
A tenant also has a right, under federal law and the laws of South Carolina to be free from discrimination in housing based on race, color, national origin, religion, or gender. Landlords can additionally not discriminate against persons with disabilities, and must make reasonable accommodations for those disabilities.
Finally, tenants are legally protected from arbitrary eviction. Landlords usually must have a very good reason to evict a tenant before the lease agreement reaches the end of its term (at this point, they are of course allowed to decline to renew the lease). Of course, if the tenant breaches the lease agreement (such as by failing to pay rent, damaging the property, or violating other reasonable rules the landlord has put in the lease), the landlord, like a party to any other contract, is free to terminate the agreement and evict the breaching tenant.
Can a Bluffton, South Carolina Landlord/Tenant Lawyer Help?
Landlords and tenants typically prefer to avoid getting into fights with one another, for apparent reasons. A harmonious relationship is profitable for everyone involved. To that end, the advice of a good Bluffton, South Carolina landlord/tenant attorney can help defuse arguments before they become too serious.