Eviction for Reasons Other than Non-Payment in South Carolina

Eviction is a term that is often associated with non-payment of rent. Still, there are various other reasons why a tenant might be evicted from their rental property. While evictions for non-payment are the most common, landlords can also evict tenants for violating the terms of their lease, causing damage to the property, engaging in illegal activities, or creating a disturbance that disrupts the peace and well-being of other tenants. In this article, we will explore the other reasons tenants can be evicted from their rental properties and their rights in these situations.

Eviction for Constant Minor Nuisance

A reason for eviction is the tenant being a nuisance to the community, but what if what they are doing is a minor nuisance?

Damaging the property

If a tenant causes damage to the property, accidental damage of walls, appliances, or fixtures. Before beginning the eviction process, the landlord typically must give the tenant notice of the damage and an opportunity to fix it. If the tenant fails to remedy the damage or vacate the property, the landlord may then file for eviction. Ultimately, tenants are responsible for treating the property with care and respect to avoid costly repairs and legal issues.

Safety violations

Safety violations can also be a valid reason for a landlord to start the eviction process. If a tenant engages in behavior that threatens the safety of themselves, other tenants, or the property, the landlord may decide to take legal action to remove the tenant from the premises. Safety violations can include actions such as storing hazardous materials on the property and using appliances or equipment improperly. Tenants are responsible for ensuring the safety of themselves and others on the property to avoid costly repairs and legal issues.

Health violations

Health violations can trigger the eviction process if a tenant violates health and sanitation standards in a way that creates a risk to their health or the well-being of others. Examples of health violations include smoking in non-smoking areas, allowing mold or mildew to grow, and failing to keep the property clean and sanitary. To avoid legal consequences and maintain a safe and healthy living environment, tenants must make sure to adhere to health and sanitation standards set by their lease agreement and local regulations.


Criminal activity can be a valid reason for a landlord to start the eviction process. If a tenant engages in criminal behavior on the property, such as possessing small amounts of drugs, petty theft, or simple assault. Tenants are responsible for complying with the law and maintaining a safe and peaceful living environment for themselves and other tenants.

The process of eviction for minor nuisances

This process is similar to eviction for non-payment of rent. In South Carolina, a landlord can evict a tenant for violating the rental agreement by following these steps:

  1. Issue a written warning 

It is usually best to provide the tenant with a written warning before the 14-day notice. If they disregard the warning, then you should serve the tenant with a 14-day notice. 

  1. 14-day notice-to-cure 

The 14-day notice-to-cure provides them with 14 days to cure the violating activity, or at least to make a good faith effort to stop it, or face eviction. The notice must specify the nature of the violation and the date by which the tenant must cure the violation or vacate the property. If they do not comply within 14 days, the eviction process can begin.

  1. File for eviction at court

Go to the magistrate’s office and file for eviction. The magistrate’s office of the Lowcountry is located in Bluffton for properties in Bluffton, Hilton Head, and Okatie. For Hardeeville evictions, you must go to the Jasper County Magistrate Court in Ridgeland. You, or your property manager, should bring any proof, such as pictures or statements that show that the tenant has not been adhering to the lease, a signed copy of the lease, and copies of any warning notices you or the HOA has sent to the tenant. The cost to file is $45. At this point, you will be given a court date about two to three weeks out. If the tenant fails to cure the violation or vacate the property, the landlord may file a complaint with the court seeking an eviction order. 

  1. Evidence to show for lease violations

The landlord must provide evidence of the violation. This can include pictures or HOA complaints of the violation.

  1. Court hearing 

On the day of the hearing, you or your property manager should bring the documentation you brought to the magistrate’s office to file the eviction. The judge will ask you, the plaintiff, why you want to evict. If you come prepared and provide ample proof that the tenant refuses to comply with the lease or community guidelines, then the judge should side with the plaintiff and provide a writ of ejectment. The tenant will be

notified to vacate the property within a specified period, usually seven days. Writs of ejectment are usually provided to the tenant on a Friday, so the tenant has until Monday to pack up their belongings and leave your property. 

  1. If the tenant does not vacate the property 

On Monday, you will meet with the sheriff at the property, and the sheriff will search the residence to ensure it is clear before allowing you or your property manager in. If the evicted tenant still has not left, then the sheriff arrests them, and now either you or someone you hire will have to remove the items from the house and set them on the curb.

The evicted tenant has 48 hours to collect their items. If after 48 hours they have not, you can take custody of the items and either take them to the dump or try to sell them.

Major Nuisance or Other Prohibited Activities

What is a Major Nuisance: Commission of an illegal act on the premises of the rental unit?

This eviction process is almost identical to eviction for being a constant minor nuisance. The difference is that the judge will be more understanding if you don’t send notices to your tenant to comply with the lease or HOA rules due to the severity of the tenant’s infraction. 

A writ of ejectment is then issued, and the tenant will have a few days to remove their items from the property. Any damage to the home can be taken out of the tenant’s security deposit.

Here are some of the major nuisances you can evict for:

Hoa Violation

The HOA of Margaritaville® is different from the HOA of Sun City®, which is different from that of Pinecrest®. Therefore, depending on the community, different HOA violations carry different penalties. A tenant being a major nuisance is pretty cut-and-dry, and as long as you have ample proof and/ or the HOA notice, then the judge should side with the landlord.


If a tenant engages in criminal behavior on the property, such as drug dealing, grand larceny, or aggravated assault.

Damaging the property

If the tenant Intentionally damages the property, then this is grounds for immediate eviction.

Abandonment of the rental unit by the tenant

Abandonment of a rental unit by a tenant refers to the situation when a tenant leaves the property without any notice, without intending to return or fulfill their rental obligations, and without making arrangements with the landlord. Abandonment can cause problems for both landlords and tenants. It’s essential for both landlords and tenants to understand their rights and obligations when it comes to the abandonment of a rental unit to avoid potential legal issues.

Non-renewal of the lease after the end of the rental period.

The non-renewal of a lease after the end of the rental period refers to a situation where a landlord chooses not to extend the lease agreement with their tenant beyond the agreed-upon rental period. A tenant is expected to move out when a lease expires unless a new agreement is reached. The non-renewal of a lease can happen for various reasons, such as the landlord’s plan to renovate the property or to use it for personal reasons. A tenant should be notified of non-renewal according to the lease terms or the law in their jurisdiction.

Hopefully, you will never have to evict a tenant. Still, if you must, it is important to understand the procedure to perform an eviction successfully. Proper tenant screening should be followed to lessen the chances of dealing with this kind of tenant. If you need information on screening a tenant for your Bluffton or Hilton Head rental property following South Carolina laws and regulations, check out this article. If you do not feel comfortable screening tenants  or managing your rental properties, reach out to us. RMA manages rental properties in Bluffton, Hilton Head, Okatie/ Sun City®, and Hardeeville/ Margaritaville®.

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