Katie, Other/Just Looking in South Carolina

If I have lived in a house in SC for many years and the landlord never made a lease can they claim I owe back

Asked by Katie, South Carolina Fri Jul 25, 2008

rent or does it end up being her word against mine?

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Here's my best advice: contact your local magistrate's office. He or she will be the authority who will make the ruling on this case anyway. You will have to have your receipts, cancelled checks, etc. to prove your payment history. I don't know enough details on this, but it sounds like you guys had an oral contract to me. In other words, the law states (in everyday terms) that your pattern of behavior over a period of time establishes your intentions; therefore, if you continued to occupy the property and pay your rent, and the landlord continued to allow you to live there and did not file any eviction notices, you two must have had an oral understanding. Therefore, you had an oral contract. I am from South Carolina and know how that those "good old boy" handshakes and verbal agreements only cause BIG problems in the long run. Just chalk it up as a valuable lesson learned and ALWAYS have a very specific and detailed rental agreement next time you rent. On the flip side, the burden of proof will also have to rest on the landlord(with receipts, etc) to prove that you are in arrears.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 30, 2008
Katie:

I would refer you to Section 27-40-320 of the South Carolina Code of Laws. Oral lease can be enforceable for up to one year. Hence, both of your actions could constitute an ORAL LEASE.

However, I would consult an attorney or the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission. GOOD LUCK!


SECTION 27-40-320. Effect of unsigned or undelivered rental agreement.

(a) If the landlord does not sign and deliver a written rental agreement which has been signed and delivered to the landlord by the tenant, acceptance of rent without reservation by the landlord gives the rental agreement the same effect as if it had been signed and delivered by the landlord.

(b) If the tenant does not sign and deliver a written rental agreement which has been signed and delivered to the tenant by the landlord, acceptance of possession and payment of rent without reservation gives the rental agreement the same effect as if it had been signed and delivered by the tenant.

(c) If a rental agreement given effect by the operation of this section provides for a term longer than one year, it is effective for only one year.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 25, 2008
Do you have cancelled checks, or other proof of payment? In any case, you probably shoud talk with an attorney.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 25, 2008
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