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DIY Landlord Tip of the Week: Security Deposits

Protect your real estate investment with one simple tool: a Security Deposit. Here are 3 easy tips to ensure you get the details right. Call our team at the Charleston Property Company at 843-737-6034 if need additional assistance with security deposits.

Know the rules
In South Carolina, landlords may require a security deposit to cover 1.) Damages to the property over and above normal wear and tear and 2.) Unpaid rent.

Resource: Deducting Cleaning and Repair Costs from a Security Deposit

There is no limit to the amount you may charge for a security deposit, and you do not have to pay interest on the deposit to the tenant.

You must, however, return the security deposit to the tenant within 30 days of the tenant vacating the property. If you deduct for damages or unpaid rent, you must provide a statement with an itemized list of deductions, amount deducted from the deposit, and additional money to be charged if the deposit did not cover the amount owed. 

Review the SC Landlord-Tenant Act for all details and check out for aneasy guide to state laws. You can also use these resources for additional information on legal compliance for landlords in South Carolina. 

Use a Checklist
While a walk-through inspection is not required in South Carolina, scheduling pre-move and closeout inspections with tenants is the best way to protect and document your property. Use a detailed checklist and take photographs or video to record specific conditions. This will make it easier to demonstrate damages that were above and beyond normal and wear. 

You also can manage a checklist and photographs with an app, such as Happy InspectorSnapInspect, or others. 

Resource: 5 Property Inspection Apps for Your Tablet or Smartphone.


Document, Document, Document

Landlords in South Carolina do not have to keep security deposits in a separate bank account, but you should create a fair system of setting, collecting and holding security deposits. Be consistent and  make sure to have reasonable, market rate costs for any repairs, as these can be grounds for a challenge from tenants. 

Best items for documentation include:
•Inspection checklist and photographs/video
•Receipts and invoices

Being able to show documentation will protect you in case of dispute with your tenants.

If you have additional questions on security deposits, please call the Charleston Property Company team at 843.737.6034.

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