Knowing Your Rights and Responsibilities
When you make the decision to move off campus, you become a citizen of a new, larger and more complex community. With such a move, you will be taking on certain rights and responsibilities. The following resources can provide you with information about your legal rights and responsibilities as a renter.
The following are South Dakota laws. For more information, contact:
Dakota Plains Legal Services
528 Kansas City Street, Suite #1
Rapid City, SD 57701
DAMAGES FOR TORTS
Treble damages for forcible exclusion from real property.
For forcibly ejecting or excluding a person from the possession of real property, the measure of damages is three times such a sum as would compensate for the detriment caused to him by the act complained of. Title 21, Chap. 21-3, § 21-3-6.
Double damages for failure of tenant to give up premises after notice of intention.
For the failure of a tenant to give up the premises held by him, when he has given notice of his intention to do so, the measure of damages is double the rent which he ought otherwise to pay. Title 21, Chap. 21-3, § 21-3-7, See Cal Civ Code, § 3344.
Double damages for holding over by tenant after expiration of term and notice to quit.
For willfully holding over real properly, by a tenant after the end of this term, and after notice to quit has been duly given, and demand of possession made, the measure of damages is double the yearly value of the property, for the time of withholding, in addition to compensation for the detriment occasioned thereby. Title 21, Chap. 21-3, § 21-3-8.
Leasing of real property defined.
Leasing is a contract by which one (the lessor or landlord) gives to another (the lessee or tenant) temporary possession and use of real property for reward and the lessee agrees to return such property to the lessor at a future time. Title 43, § 43-32-1.
Limited term of lease – Agricultural land – Municipal lots.
No lease or grant of agricultural land for a longer period than twenty years, in which shall be reserved any rent or service of any kind, shall be valid. No lease or grant of any municipal lot for a longer period than ninety-nine years, in which shall be reserved any rent or service of any kind, shall be valid. Title 43, § 43-32-2, See Cal Civ Code, § 717.
Hiring of real property presumed for one year – Exception.
A hiring of real property, other than lodgings in places where there is no usage on the subject, is presumed to be for one year from its commencement unless otherwise expressed in the hiring. Title 43, § 43-32-3.
Hiring of lodgings – Length of term – Presumption.
A hiring of lodgings for an unspecified term is presumed to have been made for such length of time as the parties adopt for the estimation of the rent. Thus a hiring at a weekly rate of rent is presumed to be for one week. In the absence of any agreement respecting the length of time of the rent, the hiring is presumed to be monthly. Title 43, § 43-32-4.
Lease of real property for more than one year – Written contract necessary.
No agreement for the leasing of real property or an interest therein for a longer period than one year is valid unless the same, or some note or memorandum thereof, be in writing, signed by the lessor or his agent thereunto authorized in writing. Title 43, § 43-32-5, See Cal Civ Code, § 1741.
Obligations of lessor of real property – Tenant’s remedies against lessor.
A lessor shall deliver the leased premises to the lessee and secure his quiet enjoyment thereof against all lawful claimants. If the lessor of residential property unlawfully removes or excludes the tenant from the premises or willfully diminishes services to the tenant by interrupting or causing the interruption of electric, gas, water, or other essential service to the tenant, the tenant may sue for injunctive relief, recover possession by suit, or terminate the rental agreement and, in any case, recover from the lessor damages in an amount equal to two months rent and the return of any advance rent and deposit paid to the lessor by the lessee. Title 43, § 43-32-6.
Maximum security deposit for residential premises – Larger deposit by mutual agreement.
Any deposit of money, the function of which is to secure the performance of a residential rental agreement or any part of such an agreement, shall be deemed to be a security deposit. A lessor of residential premises may not demand or receive a security deposit, however denominated, in an amount or value in excess of one month’s rent except that a larger deposit may be agreed upon between the lessor and lessee where special conditions pose a danger to maintenance of the premises. Title 43, § 43-32-6.1.
Hiring part of room for dwelling – Right to whole of the room for term agreed upon.
Double letting relieves tenant from obligation to pay rent. Title 43, § 43-32-7. Repealed by SL 1983, ch13, § 29.
Residential lessor to keep premises in repair – Disrepair caused by lessee – Agreements for repairs in lieu of rent – Liability to third persons unaffected.
In every hiring of residential premises, whether in writing or parol, the lessor shall keep the premises and all common areas in reasonable repair and fit for human habitation and in good and safe working order during the term of the lease except when the disrepair has been caused by the negligent, willful or malicious conduct of the lessee or a person under his direction or control. The lessor shall maintain in good and safe working order and condition all electrical, plumbing or heating systems of the premises, except when the disrepair has been caused by the negligent, willful or malicious conduct of the lessee or a person under his direction or control.
The parties to a lease or hiring of residential premises may not waive or modify the requirements imposed by this section; however, the lessor may agree with the lessee that the lessee shall perform specified repairs or maintenance in lieu of rent.
The provisions of this section shall be in addition to any covenants or conditions imposed by law or ordinance or by the terms of the lease. Nothing in this section shall be construed to alter the liability of the lessor or lessee or residential premises for injury to third parties. Title 43, § 43-32-8, See Cal Civ Code, § 1941.
Failure of lessor to repair premises – Lessee’s remedies.
If within a reasonable time after notice to the lessor of conditions requiring repair to make the premises fit for human habitation and to place the same in good and safe working order which the lessor ought to repair he neglects to do so, the lessee may repair the same himself and deduct the expense of such repairs from the rent, or otherwise recover it from the lessor; or the lessee may vacate the premises, in which case he shall be discharged from additional charges of rent or performance of other conditions. If the cost of necessary repairs exceeds one month’s rent, after written notice stating the specific reason for the withholding, the lessee may withhold payment of rent and immediately deposit it in a separate bank or savings and loan account, written evidence of such action to be provided to the lessor upon deposit, maintained only for the purpose of making repairs until such time as the lessor makes the repairs, at which time the lessee shall release the deposit to the lessor or until sufficient money is accumulated in the account for the lessee to cause the repairs to be made and paid for. Title 43, § 43-32-9, See Civ Code, § 1942.
Preservation of premises by lessee.
In every hiring of residential premises, whether in writing or parol, shall preserve the premises, appliances, appurtenances and other leased personalty in good condition, and repair all deteriorations or damage thereto occasioned by his negligent, willful or malicious conduct or such conduct of persons acting under his direction or control. Title 43, § 43-32-10.
Use of premises when leased for particular or specified purpose – Responsibility of lessee – Rescission of contract.
If premises are leased for a particular and specified purpose the tenant must not use the premises for other purposes; and if he does, the landlord may hold him responsible for the safety of the premises during such use, at all events, or he may treat the contract as thereby rescinded. Title 43, § 43-32-11.
Time for payment of rent – Agricultural and wildland – Lodging – Termination of hiring.
When there is no contract or usage to the contrary, the rent of agricultural and wildland is payable yearly at the end of each year. Rents of lodgings are payable monthly at the end of each month. Other rents are payable quarterly at the end of each quarter from the time the hiring takes effect. The rent for a hiring shorter than the periods herein specified is payable at the termination of the hiring. Title 43, § 43-32-12.
Modification of lease – Written notice by landlord, effect – Termination by tenant.
In all leases of lands or tenements or of any interest therein from month to month the landlord may, upon giving notice in writing at least thirty days before the expiration of the month, modify the terms of the lease to take effect at the expiration of the month. The notice, when served upon the tenant, shall of itself operate and be effectual to create and establish as a part of the lease the terms, rent, and conditions specified in the notice, if the tenant shall continue to hold the premises after the expiration of the month. The tenant may terminate his lease effective the first day of the next month by providing notice of termination to the landlord within fifteen days of receipt by the tenant of the notice of modification. Title 43, § 43-32-13.
Retention of possession by lessee after expiration of hiring – Acceptance of rent by lessor – Renewal of hiring – Terms.
If a lessee of real property remains in possession thereof after the expiration of the hiring and the lessor accepts rent from him, the parties are presumed to have renewed the hiring on the same terms and for the same time, not exceeding one year. Title 43, § 43-32-14.
Renewal of hiring of real property presumed unless notice given of termination.
A hiring of real property for a term not specified by the parties is deemed to be renewed as stated in § 43-32-14 at the end of the term implied by law unless one of the parties gives notice to the other of his intention to terminate the same at least as long before the expiration thereof as the term of the hiring itself, not exceeding one month. Title 43, § 43-32-15, See Cal Civ Code, § 1945.
Tenant receiving notice of adverse proceedings – Duty to inform landlord.
Every tenant who receives notice of any proceeding to recover the real property occupied by him or the possession thereof must immediately inform his landlord of the same and also deliver to the landlord the notice, if in writing, and is responsible to the landlord for all damages which he may sustain by reason of any omission to inform him of the notice or to deliver to him, if in writing. Title 43, § 43-32-16.
Attornment of tenant to stranger, validity – Consent of landlord – Judgment.
The attornment of a tenant to a stranger is void unless it is made with the consent of the landlord or in conswauence of a judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction. Title 43, § 43-32-17.
Termination of lease by landlord before end of agreed term – Use of premises by tenant contrary to agreement – Neglect of tenant to make repairs.
A landlord may terminate a lease and reclaim the premises before the end of the agreed term: (1) When the tenant uses or permits a use of the premises in a manner contrary to the lease agreement; (2) When the tenant does not within a reasonable time after request make such repairs as he may be bound to make. Title 43, § 43-32-18.
Termination of lease by tenant – Neglect of landlord to place tenant in quiet possession of premises – Neglect to keep premises in good condition – Destruction of premises.
A tenant may terminate a lease before the end of the term:
- When the landlord does not within a reasonable time after request fulfill his obligations, if any, as to placing and securing the tenant in quiet possession of the premises or putting the premises into good condition or repairing the same; or
- Then the greater part of the leased premises or that part which was, and which the landlord had at the time of leasing, reason to believe was the material inducement to the tenant to enter into the contract, is destroyed, from any other cause than the ordinary negligence of the tenant.
Title 43, § 43-32-19.
Assignment of lease by lessee – Breach of agreement – Recovery of possession – Exception – Security for loan.
Whatever remedies the lessor of any real property has against his immediate lessee for the breach of any agreement in the lease or for recovery of the possession, he has against the assignees of the lessee for any cause of action accruing while they are such assignees, except where the assignment is made by way of security for a loan and is not accompanied by possession of the premises. Title 43, § 43-32-20.
Assignment of lease by lessor – Breach of agreement – Remedies of lessee – Covenants excepted.
Whatever remedies the lessee of any real property may have against his immediate lessor, for the breach of any agreement in the lease, he may have against the assigns of the lessor, and the assigns of the lessee may have against the lessor and his assigns, except upon covenants against encumbrances or relating to the title or possession of the premises. Tiele 43, § 43-32-21.
Termination of lease – Agreed term – Mutual consent – Acquisition of superior title by tenant.
A lease is terminated:
- By the expiration of the agreed term;
- By the mutual consent of the parties;
- By the tenant acquiring a title to the lease premises superior to that of the landlord.
Title 43, § 43-32-22.1.
Continuation of farm lease absent notice – Time for notice – Termination without notice in case of default – Grassland included.
In the case of farm tenants, occupying and cultivating agricultural land of forty acres or more, under an oral lease, the tenancy shall continue for the following crop year upon the same terms and conditions as the original lease unless written notice for termination is given by either party to the other by September first, whereupon the tenancy shall terminate March first following. The tenancy may not continue because of absence of notice if there is default in the performance of the existing rental agreement. For the purpose of this section, agricultural land includes grasslands, either native or tame. Title 43, § 43-32-23.
Termination of lease at pleasure of either party – Death or incapacity to contract – Exception.
If a lease is terminable at the pleasure of one of the parties, it is terminated by notice to the other of such party’s death or incapacity to contract. In other cases it is not terminated by such death or incapacity. Title 43, § 43-32-23.
Return of security deposit after termination of tenancy – Withholding – Itemized accounting – Forfeiture of withholding rights – Punitive damages.
Every lessor of residential premises shall, within two weeks after the termination of the tenancy and receipt of the tenant’s mailing address or delivery instructions, return the security deposit to the tenant, or furnish to the tenant, a written statement showing the specific reason for the withholding of the deposit or any portion thereof. The lessor may withhold from such deposit only such amounts as are reasonably necessary to remedy tenant defaults in the payment of rent or of other funds due to the landlord pursuant to an agreement or to restore the premises to their condition at the commencement of the tenancy, ordinary wear and tear excepted. Within forty-five days after termination of the tenancy, upon request of the lessee, the lessor shall provide the lessee with an itemized accounting of any deposit withheld. Any lessor of residential premises who fails to comply with this section shall forfeit all rights to withhold any portion of such deposit. The bad faith retention of a deposit or any portion of a deposit by a lessor of residential premises in violation of this section, including failure to provide the written statement and itemized accounting required by this section, shall subject the lessor to punitive damages not to exceed two hundred dollars. Title 43, § 43-32-24.
Small amount of tenant’s property left on premises presumed abandoned – Disposal by lessor.
The property of a lessee, the total reasonable value of which does not exceed on hundred dollars, left on leased residential premises by the lessee for ten days after the lessee has quit the premises, is presumed to have been abandoned by the tenant and the lessor of the residential premises may dispose of the abandoned property. Title 43, § 43-32-25.
Storage of tenant’s valuable property left on premises – Lien – Disposal as abandoned after waiting period.
The property of a lessee, of a total reasonable value exceeding one hundred dollars, left on leased residential premises by the lessee after the lessee has quit the premises, shall be stored by the lessor. The lessor shall have a lien on the property to the extent of the costs of hauling and storing the property. After storing the property for thirty days or more the lessor may treat the property as abandoned and dispose of it. Title 43, § 43-32-26.
Cause of action against lessor for retaliatory conduct.
A cause of action may arise in favor of a lessee and against a lessor of residential property; including a manufactured or mobile home community owner, for retaliation by the lessor against the lessee if the lessor increases rents above fair market value; if the lessor decreases electric, gas, water, or sewer services; or if the lessor gives the lessee notice to vacate the premises when such notice is not based upon a breach of the terms of the lease; subsequent to any of the following special events:
- The lessor has received written notice from the lessee or a governmental agency charged with responsibility for enforcement of a building or housing code ciolation applicable to the premises and materially affecting health and safety, and the complaint isdetermined to be reported in good faith; or
- The lessee has given written notice to the lessor of a condition requiring repair pursuant to § 43-32-9; or
- The lessee has organized or become a member of a tenant’s union or organization. It shall be a defense to this cause of action that the notice to vacate the premises was given by the lessor more than one hundred eighty days after the occurrence of a special event. The failure of the lessor to renew any written lease prior to or upon its expiration, is not retaliation. Title 43, § 43-32-27.
Lessee’s remedies for retaliatory conduct by lessor.
If the lessor acts in violation of § 43-32-27, the lessee is entitled to the remedies provided in § 43-32-27, the lessee is entitled to the remedies provided in § 43-32-6. The court may award the lessee reasonable attorney’s fees, not to exceed five hundred dollars. Title 43, § 43-32-28.
Rights and remedies preserved.
All other rights or remedies of the lessor and the lessee pursuant to any other provision of the law are preserved, except as modified by §§ 43-32-27 and 43-32-28. Title 43, § 43-32-29.