South Dakota Landlord Tenant Laws

Residential Landlord Tenant Laws in South Dakota

When considering tenancy in South Dakota, there are a number of regulations that are contained within a few different laws; the Lease of Real Property §§ 43-32-1 to 43-32-30, Limitation of Actions §§ 15-2-1 to 15-2-36, and Forcible Entry and Detainer §§ 21-16-1 to 21-16-12. Your local realtor may be very familiar with these, as the South Dakota Realtors Association often helps clients find and lease the perfect rental property. Getting familiar with these regulations will help your landlord tenant relationship, as you will understand your responsibilities as a tenant as well as your landlord’s responsibilities.

Why Should I Sign a Lease?

While it is possible to rent without a lease, it is much better to have a lease. Your lease not only outlines what is expected of both landlord and tenant regarding your rental experience, but it also functions as a written record to protect both parties. There are many ambiguous details that are not regulated by South Dakota, so including these in the lease removes any doubt or concern. A lease will contain a move in date, the date rent is due and how much it is. It will list the amount of the deposit and provide a record of receipt. It will include whether or not pets are allowed, and if they are, a physical description and number of pets, and any pet deposit. A lease may include a move in walk through checklist, which can be invaluable when moving out, proving damages that may have existed when you moved in, like small stains on the carpet.

South Dakota doesn’t provide statutes governing rental grace periods, prepaid rent, and late fees, but each of these items may be included in the lease. There are no statutes regarding abandonment or early termination fees, or requiring the landlord to mitigate the tenant’s damages by re-renting as soon as possible or allowing landlords to recover court and attorney costs. That said, these may be part of your lease, so make sure you read it thoroughly and understand what you are agreeing to. If you are seeking remedy in the South Dakota Small Claims Courts, you will be limited to $12,000

In South Dakota, statute §§ 43-32-12 requires rent be paid at month’s end. Statute §§ 43-32-13 requires a 30 day notice before rent is increased. Returned check fees are allowed up to $40, but a sign indicating such must be placed in an area that is easily seen, or tenants must be notified in writing.

South Dakota allows tenants to affect repairs that make the property, “fit for habitation,” and to withhold rent to make them. However, the tenant must provide the landlord with a written notice of intent. If the landlord fails to make the repairs, the tenant may make them and deduct it from the rent and must give the landlord a written accounting of the repairs. If the repairs exceed one month’s rent, the tenant may place the rent in its own account. The tenant will provide the landlord with proof and a record of the deposits. If repairs aren’tmade by the time the repair cost is reached in the account, the tenant may make the repairs and then supply the landlord with an accounting of the repairs. If there is rent remaining, the tenant must pay the landlord §§ 43-32-9).

Although there is no statute governing the right of the tenant to withhold rent if the landlord fails to provide essential services such as water, heat and trash removal the tenant may argue that these are needed to make the property habitable under the prior statute.

Security Deposits

South Dakota requires return of security deposits to be made within two weeks of the tenant’s vacancy. If there are any withholdings, the landlord must notify the tenant within this two week period and then supply the tenant with an itemization within 45 days, but the tenant must request the deposit be returned §§ 43-32-24. Security Deposits may only be used to cover the cost of unpaid rent or to affect repairs to damages that are outside of normal wear and tear §§ 43-32-24.

There are no statutes governing the receipt of the security deposit, or regarding record keeping of monies withheld from the deposit. If the landlord fails to comply with the statutes governing the return of the deposit, any failure to comply will allow the tenant to seek damages in the amount of $200 and must return the entire deposit §§ 43-32-24.

Take Notice

In South Dakota there are a number of regulations that govern required notices as well as the landlord’s right to entry. This ensures a tenant’s privacy, but still allows the landlord to care for the property. Statute §§ 43-32-32 allows landlords the right to enter without notice in the event of an emergency. It also allows landlords to enter the property for showings after giving the tenant a 24 hour notice in writing and only during reasonable hours. This statute allows landlords to enter with 24 hours written notice to affect repairs and perform maintenance during reasonable hours.

Tenants on a predetermined end date lease are not required to give notice as stated in statute (§§ 43-32-22(1). A tenant giving notice of the end of tenancy on yearly leases must give notice of intent to remain, and it is required to be agreed upon by both parties (§§ 43-32-5. Notice of lease termination by the tenant on a month to month lease must supply a 30 day written notice §§ 43-32-13 & §§ 43-8-8. When a tenant rents weekly and the lease is open ended, a seven day notice is required §§ 43-32-15.

Landlords may give a tenant a 24 hour notice to vacate when the tenant violates their tenant duties, or other action that can be remedied with eviction or doesn’t act to remedy issues to prevent eviction §§ 21-16-1(7). In weekly tenancies, rent’s due and owing after the week passes. If the tenant fails to pay rent, the landlord may serve a written notice to vacate §§ 43-32-12 & §§ 21-16-1(4). The landlord may give a three day written notice for non-payment of rent for any other rental period §§ 21-16-1-(4). Landlords may serve a written notice to evict tenants for violating the lease. The may also send notice if repairs have not been made that are to be performed by the tenant §§ 43-32-18.

Landlords are not allowed to use tactics such as lockouts and utility shut off to force a tenant out §§ 43-32-6.

Details and Other Notes

Consumers are encouraged to read pdfs: South Dakota Consumer Handbook Office of the Attorney General Jerry Long (pgs 44-55) Landlord Tenant Issues and Landlord Tenant Disputes. Tenants and landlords should also be familiar with both the Landlord Duties §§ 43-32-6 and Tenant Duties §§ 43-32-6. These statutes provide a basic level of reasonable responsibilities and rights for both.

Landlord’s Duties include keeping the dwelling habitable and in a livable condition, keeping up with maintenance and repairs. Landlords must disclose lead to prospective tenants, supplying them with a pamphlet regarding the hazards of lead-based paint. If the property has been used to make methamphetamine, this information must also be disclosed if the landlord has knowledge of such behavior §§ 43-32-30.

Tenant Duties include keeping the dwelling habitable, preserving and repairing any damages caused from negligent behavior. If in this endeavor, the tenant contacts a governmental agency regarding a safety or health concern, the landlord may not serve a retaliatory eviction or deny the tenant a lease renewal §§ 43-32-27 & §§ 43-32-28.


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Lisa Bass - October 10, 2016

If u have a companion letter after paying a deposit for your pet. Do they have to give it back while still living @ same complex. I moved to the second floor do to life threatening sircome Stantes. Gun held to my held in lobby on Sept 9th.


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