Rights, Regulations, & Landlord Tenant Laws - South Dakota 
In the Mount Rushmore State of South Dakota, landlords and tenants must navigate a complex network of local and state rental laws. Often called landlord-tenant laws, these statutes impact landlords’ and renters’ rights and obligations, along with the landlord-tenant relationship. Comprehending and adhering to these regulations can be a considerable challenge, even for seasoned rental property owners and tenants.
To help overcome this challenge, we've compiled this comprehensive guide, addressing vital rental topics such as lease agreements, evictions, tenant screening, and more. Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, this guide will equip you with a thorough understanding of South Dakota's laws, as outlined in the South Dakota Codified Laws Title 43-32.
Landlords will discover how to safeguard their rental properties and cultivate positive relationships with tenants, while tenants will acquire the essential knowledge required to assert their basic rights.
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South Dakota landlord tenant law fast facts
South Dakota landlord responsibilities and rights
South Dakota state law grants landlords certain rights that allow them to efficiently run their rental properties protected from legal issues. A few of their main rights include:
- Charging and collecting rent payments when due
- Collecting security deposits to cover unexpected costs at the end of the lease term or upon lease termination
- Pursuing a formal eviction if the tenant breaches the lease agreement
South Dakota landlords also have a set of obligations to uphold that ensure a safe and smooth tenancy for renters. Their key duties include:
- Providing tenants with a safe, habitable rental property free of housing discrimination
- Making repairs within a “reasonable time” after receiving written notice from tenants
- Returning the tenant’s security deposit within 14 days after the lease period ends
South Dakota tenant responsibilities and rights
South Dakota tenants also have a set of fundamental rights that work to protect their safety and well-being while residing in a rental unit. Their main rights are as follows:
- The right to habitability: living in a habitable rental property that meets local and state health and safety codes
- Having repairs made in 14 days after providing the landlord with written notice
- Taking legal action if the landlord violates the rental agreement
Renters in South Dakota have their own set of duties to uphold. Generally, these obligations ensure the rental is maintained and the landlord goes financially unharmed. In South Dakota, tenants must:
- Pay rent when due
- Make small repairs and perform maintenance as necessary
- Keep the unit in safe and habitable condition, including keeping it clean and sanitary
- Keep plumbing, electrical, and heating systems in working order
- Not disturb other renters or neighbors
South Dakota landlord tenant laws through the rental cycle
South Dakota rental application and tenant screening laws
South Dakota’s rental application and tenant screening laws are fairly straightforward. There is no limit on how much a landlord can charge for a rental application fee, however, it must be reasonable, and they are non-refundable. Additionally, landlords cannot ask any questions that may lead to housing discrimination.
While South Dakota does not limit which background checks landlords can run, they must first obtain the prospective tenant’s written consent.
South Dakota lease agreement and termination laws
In South Dakota, a lease or rental agreement may be written or oral. Oral leases are only valid for up to one year, and leases for periods longer than a year must be in writing. It’s always advised to document a rental agreement in writing as it grants key responsibilities to both landlords and tenants.
Beyond mandatory disclosures, South Dakota does not require any specific clauses to be included in lease agreements. However, landlords should always include information like their name, address, and phone number, plus the rent amount and due date, in the lease. Learn what other information you should include in your rental agreement today.
To terminate a lease, a landlord must provide a 7-day notice for week-to-week leases and a 30-day notice for month-to-month. For yearly leases, the tenant and landlord can come to an agreement in advance.
South Dakota renters can also terminate lease agreements early for the following legal reasons:
- Active military duty
- Early termination clause
- Landlord harassment
- Uninhabitable unit
South Dakota security deposit laws
South Dakota law allows landlords to collect a security deposit at the start of the lease period to cover unforeseen costs upon lease termination or the end of the lease period. Landlords cannot charge more than the equivalent of one month’s rent for the deposit. However, they can charge more under special circumstances like pets.
At the end of the lease term, the landlord must return the tenant’s security deposit within 14 days (or 45 days if the tenant requests a written and itemized account of deductions). Landlords can make deductions from the security deposit for reasons including rental damage exceeding normal wear and tear, costs outlined in the lease, and unpaid rent, late fees, and utilities.
If the landlord fails to comply with the notice period or wrongfully withholds funds, tenants can sue for the full security deposit, plus court costs and damages up to $200.
South Dakota rent laws
South Dakota does not have rent control laws and prohibits its cities and states from creating their own laws. This allows landlords in the state to charge any amount of rent and increase rent as often as they choose, as long as it’s not during the lease period (unless the lease specifically allows for it). Before increasing rent, landlords must provide a 30-day advance notice, alerting the tenant to the rent change.
If the tenant fails to pay rent on time, landlords are not required to provide a grace period before charging a reasonable late fee. But to charge a late fee, it must be disclosed in the lease.
South Dakota tenants are allowed to withhold rent in specific instances when the landlord has failed to repair serious issues, breaking the warranty of habitability.
South Dakota repair and maintenance laws
In South Dakota, a landlord must make repairs within a “reasonable amount” of time after receiving written notice from tenants
If the landlord fails to make repairs within a timely manner, renters can cancel the lease agreement or use the “repair and deduct” remedy in which they make small repairs themselves and deduct the cost from the following rent payment. Only when the landlord has failed to repair severe issues that break the warranty of habitability and the issue costs more than one month’s rent to fix can tenants withhold rent payments.
South Dakota notice of entry laws
South Dakota landlords can enter the rental premises for reasonable purposes related to the tenancy, including maintenance and inspections. Unless for an emergency, landlords are required to provide at least a 24-hour notice before entering and must enter at a reasonable time of day.
South Dakota eviction laws
South Dakota law allows landlords to evict tenants for specific legal reasons. Before the eviction process can start, landlords must provide a specific notice period, dependent on the reason for eviction. The reasons for eviction and associated notice periods are as follows:
- Nonpayment of rent: If the tenant doesn’t pay rent on time, the landlord may issue a 3-day notice to quit. If the tenant does not vacate the premises, the landlord can begin the eviction process.
- Lease violation: If the tenant violates the lease agreement, the landlord may begin the eviction procedure immediately. No notice is required.
- Sale of rental: If a rental unit is being sold and the tenancy won’t continue with the new homeowners, the landlord may issue a 3-day notice to quit.
- No lease/end of lease: If the tenant holds over or stays past the end of the tenancy, the landlord can issue a notice to quit. The notice period depends on the length of the tenancy. Week-to-week leases require a 7-day notice to quit and month-to-month leases require a 30-day notice to quit. There is no statute specifying the required notice periods for other types of tenancies.
South Dakota landlord tenant laws continued
Along with covering rental matters such as repairs and security deposits, South Carolina law also deals with issues like landlord retaliation, discrimination, and other aspects. Explore some of these regulations below.
South Dakota tenants are protected from housing discrimination under the Federal Fair Housing Act. It prohibits landlords from discriminating against renters based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability. However, these regulations do not apply to some rentals operated by religious organizations or owner-occupied homes.
If a landlord violates housing discrimination laws, such as by refusing to rent to a tenant or falsely claiming a rental unit is unavailable, tenants can seek legal help and file a complaint with the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.
It’s illegal for South Dakota landlords to retaliate against tenants for taking protected actions like reporting landlords to authorities for health and safety violations. Raising rent past fair market value, reducing services like water or gas, and giving notice to vacate (outside the terms of the lease) are all considered forms of retaliation in South Dakota.
South Dakota residential landlords must provide tenants with several disclosures at the start of a lease term. Those disclosures include:
- Lead-based paint: Landlords who own rental units built before 1978 must provide information about the concentration of lead-based paints.
- Methamphetamine: Landlords must disclose if they know that the property has been used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine drugs.
Navigating South Dakota’s landlord tenant laws with confidence
South Dakota's rental laws have been thoughtfully constructed to provide a well-defined framework outlining the rights and obligations of both landlords and tenants. While these regulations primarily foster a fair rental process, they also contribute to healthy landlord-tenant relationships.
By comprehending and adhering to these laws, landlords can protect their real estate investments, plus cultivate a positive relationship with their tenants. Likewise, tenants can assert their legal rights with confidence when the need arises. In addition to reading this guide, landlords and tenants should continue to educate themselves on the state’s regulations, as the rental landscape is always evolving.
Landlords, if you need help with collecting rent or creating a lease agreement, and tenants, if you are looking to boost your credit, Azibo has got you covered. Learn about all of the benefits of using our free rental software today!
South Dakota landlord tenant law FAQ
Is South Dakota considered a landlord-friendly state?
Yes, South Dakota is generally considered a landlord-friendly state–evident in its 34th place on the list of landlord-friendly states. The state doesn’t have rent control, grace period laws, or any limits on late fees. Additionally, there is no specific time requirement for making repairs, which can be beneficial for landlords. Looking to invest in real estate? Learn how to pick a landlord-friendly state now!
What is the limit a landlord or tenant can sue for in South Dakota Small Claims Court?
South Dakota’s Small Claims Court handles disputes involving only small amounts of money, allowing for cases to be handled in a simplified and expedited manner. Small Claims Court in South Dakota will hear rental cases for up to $12,000. The process takes approximately one to two months.
What are the laws surrounding changing the locks in South Dakota?
South Dakota law does not regulate changing the locks of a rental unit. Thus, tenants are legally allowed to change the locks unless the lease agreement says otherwise. It’s also important to note that landlords cannot unilaterally change the locks on their tenants, as this can be considered a form of “self-help” eviction.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this post does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials are for general informational purposes only. This content may not constitute the most up-to-date legal information. No reader, user, or browser of this article should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information herein without first seeking the advice of a legal professional.