Last year, the Supreme Court ended the eviction moratorium that prevented many landlords from evicting their tenants. Now, more states are allowing evictions to go forward.
If you need to evict a tenant, what are the proper steps? When do you need to provide a notice of eviction, and when do they have to leave? Read on for everything you need to know about this process!
1. Give a Written Notice of Eviction
The first thing you need to do is provide written notice to the tenant with the reasons you are starting the eviction process. In South Carolina, there are different notices depending on why you're evicting your tenant.
If your tenant hasn't paid their rent, you need to give a 5 Day Notice to Pay. If they don't pay their rent within five days, you can continue the eviction process. Bear in mind, this countdown starts once the tenant receives a copy of the eviction notice!
If you're evicting your tenant for breaching their rental agreement or lease terms, you need to provide a 14 Day Notice to Comply. However, if they've simply reached the end of their lease and you don't want to renew, you have to provide either a 7 Day or a 30 Day Notice to Quit, depending on whether their rent is paid weekly or monthly.
However, in certain circumstances, such as finding illegal activities during a rental property inspection, you may not need to give written notice before starting your eviction process.
But what is proof of service on an eviction notice? This means that you need to prove that you delivered the notice to the tenants. To ensure you get proof of service, you can send the eviction notice by certified mail with a return receipt.
2. Give Tenants an Opportunity to Correct Issues
Usually, you must provide tenants time to rectify their issues. The amount of time depends on the number of days in the notice.
For example, if you send a 5 Day Notice to Pay, the tenant has five days to fully pay their past due rent. If they don't pay by then, you can move forward with the eviction proceedings.
If you're evicting a tenant because of damage to the property or failure to abide by the contract, they have two weeks to begin fixing things. They don't have to fix everything, but as long as they start correcting their issues, the eviction process usually can't continue.
3. File With the Court
After this, you need to file an eviction request with the court. You need to provide details on why you're seeking eviction!
Filing an eviction request with the court also comes with fees. In the Columbia area, this is usually about $40 for the Order to Show Cause, and another $10 for the Writ of Ejectment.
4. Summons, Then Court
If you're granted an Order to Show Cause, it will then be served to the tenant. This is often done by a sheriff or sheriff's deputy, but other people can also deliver it.
Once the tenant receives this Order, they have ten days to respond. During this time, they can contest the tenant eviction notice and argue why they shouldn't be evicted. Sometimes, the tenant or landlord will request a jury trial, which can slow the process down significantly.
5. Writ of Ejectment
If the court rules in favor of the landlord, they will issue a Writ of Ejectment. This is delivered to the tenant, and is their last notice to vacate the property.
Once the writ is issued, the tenant has 24 hours to move everything off the property. If the tenant still refuses to leave, the sheriff's department then has legal authority to remove them.
Learn More About Managing Rental Properties
Knowing the steps to evict a tenant is very important, and it's critical to follow every step from the notice of eviction letter all the way to the final court decision. But knowing how to handle these situations can be tricky, particularly if you're new to the process!
If you'd like to learn more about the eviction process or property management in general, contact us! We're eager to help you with all of your property questions and concerns.