Can I Evict a Roommate With No Lease in South Carolina?

The leasing process typically starts with a written contract. In some arrangements, such as with roommates, a verbal contract may seem reasonable. But when a roommate violates a basic rental agreement, such as sharing utilities or rental fees, trouble can begin without a written contract. However, in South Carolina, the court system recognizes verbal rental contracts and enforces laws related to leasing violations.


Rental Contracts

In South Carolina, a verbal rental agreement is a valid contract. As a result, the magistrate courts in South Carolina can enforce verbal contracts as if they were in writing. Several situations may arise that could spark the eviction process. However, a landlord cannot evict a roommate for breaking the conditions of a lease unless those conditions are in writing.


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Failure to Pay Rent

Landlords, or leaseholders, can evict roommates for failure to pay rental fees. But the roommate must be at least five days late with the payment when there is a verbal contract. On the sixth day of delinquency, the landlord can contact the magistrate court in his area to initiate the eviction process. Landlords may also initiate eviction proceedings when the end of the verbal contract arrives. For example, a roommate who overstays the end of the contract term is subject to the eviction process.


Eviction Process

Leaseholders in South Carolina cannot perform "self-help evictions." The state requires that the leaseholder complete the legal process to complete an eviction. The landlord must complete an Affidavit and Application of Ejectment and file the appropriate fee. The roommate is then given 10 days to vacate or file an answer in court. If the roommate does not file an answer, move or settle the claim, the leaseholder must file a Writ of Ejectment, which gives the tenant five additional days to vacate the property. In the event the tenant does not move, the leaseholder can request that the constable complete the eviction.



After the completion of the eviction process, the leaseholder is required to perform specific duties. The leaseholder can deduct damages or late rental fees from the roommate's security deposit. In this case, the leaseholder must provide a detailed summary of the reason for the deductions and their amounts. In the event the roommate is owed funds from the deposit, the leaseholder must return the funds within 30 days in South Carolina.