Tenant Law in South Carolina
In Sumter, South Carolina, relationships between tenants and landlords can sometimes become strained.
Tenants and landlords have several 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 Sumter, SC
Landlords are, of course, entitled to collect rent from their tenants. If a tenant fails to pay the agreed-upon rent, the landlord is usually able to evict the tenant without too much trouble, though the process can sometimes get fairly complicated.
Additionally, landlords can bill the tenant for any damage they cause to the unit, whether it was intentional or negligent. The costs of repairs for such damage can be deducted from a tenant's security deposit, but it should be noted that tenants aren't accountable for normal wear and tear, over which they have little control.
Tenant's Rights in Sumter, SC
Most basically, tenants have a right to get what they're paying for: a dwelling fit for human habitation. To this end, landlords have to ensure that the units they rent meet Sumter, South Carolina's minimum standards for habitability. These requirements are normallyy not difficult to meet. They include basic amenities such as running water, electricity, a working phone line, heating, and protection from the elements.
Additionally, tenants have rights to common areas that are free of physical obstructions, as well as serious health and safety hazards. Common areas are the places in apartment buildings and other residential complexes which every tenant can access, and include hallways, stairwells, and fire escapes. In Sumter, South Carolina, these areas must be kept in a safe condition, at the landlord's expense.
Tenants also have rights, under federal and South Carolina law, to not be victims of racial, ethnic, or gender discrimination in housing, whether they are renting or buying. Additionally, landlords are not allowed to discriminate against tenants based on physical disabilities. They must also allow physically-disabled tenants to make reasonable modifications to the apartment to make it more accessible. However, the landlord can require tenants to remove those modifications and restore the property to its original condition once the tenant moves out.
Finally, tenants in most states have a right to be free from unfair eviction. Typically, lease agreements last for a set period of time, and both parties are bound by that contract. Landlords cannot arbitrarily evict clients while the lease is still in effect.
Can a Sumter, South Carolina Landlord/Tenant Lawyer Help?
Landlords and tenants normally prefer to avoid getting into fights with one another, for evident reasons. A harmonious relationship is profitable for everyone involved. To that end, the advice of a good Sumter, South Carolina landlord/tenant attorney can help defuse arguments before they become too serious.