What is a 14 Day Letter? (Letter and Sample Included)

Tenants who are struggling to get their landlord to make repairs, especially repairs materially affecting the health and safety or physical condition of their property, should send their landlord a letter regarding the landlord’s duty to fix the property (per SC Code Ann. § 27-40-610). This is called a 14 Day Letter.

When writing a 14 Day Letter, a tenant is putting their landlord on notice that something major is wrong with their apartment and their landlord has a duty to fix it. Tenants should list clearly every problem they are facing in their letter: if there is a growing black substance they believe to be mold, insect or vermin infestation, broken appliances, flooding, damage to stairways or balconies, a lack of AC or heating, etc. If a landlord does not start making repairs in fourteen days, tenants can use these letters to file a claim in magistrate court against their landlord to get out of their lease or ask that a court mandate that their landlord make these repairs.

Tenants should make at least two copies of this letter: one to give to the landlord and one for the tenant to keep. Please note that tenants should keep paying their rent, even if their landlord does not make these necessary fixes, to protect themselves from the risk of eviction. 

Tips for Sending a 14 Day Letter

  1. If you are staying in a Housing Authority property, also send your letter to the Housing Authority directly.

  2. List all worries you have about the health and safety of your living situation. These worries might mean physical damage or defect to the property. Physical damage or defect may include: Growing black substance you think could be mold. Flooding or other damage from moisture. Broken structures such as stairs or balconies. Rodent or insect infestation. Sewage problems. Not having access to heat, electricity, or water because of something out of your control.  

    • NOTE: Damage caused by you or someone in your household is a tenant’s responsibility, not a landlord’s. Tenants are responsible for keeping their units in good condition and not damaging the space beyond usual wear and tear.

  3. Keep a copy of your letter for yourself! You will want to remember specifically what you asked to be fixed.”

  4. Make sure to create a way to prove that the property manager received your letter.

    You can do this in several ways:

    • Have whoever receives the letter sign an acknowledgement of receipt (a sample form is attached here).
    • Ask if property management has a stamp that says “Received” that they can use to stamp. Date your copy and theirs.
    • Send the landlord’s copy certified mail. This will cost you $5 but is a reliable way to  prove that the letter is received.
    • Bring the letter to the property manager in person. Bring a friend with you to witness them receiving it. Be sure both you and your friend write down the name of the person who takes the letter and date.

  5. If your landlord asks you to file complaints through an internet portal, send a letter in addition to what you send through the portal. This is to make sure that property management hears your concerns loud and clear.

  6. REMEMBER: if property management is going to fix the problem, they are going to need to come to your unit. Make sure you are not violating any terms of your lease when you ask property management to come fix a problem.

    Common lease violations could be:

    • Household members that are not listed on your lease or approved by your landlord. This can be especially tricky if you live in a Housing Authority property.
    • Pets that are not allowed in your lease (ex: breeds that are not allowed on your lease, if you are required to pay a pet deposit and haven’t done so, etc.)
    • Property damage that was caused by you, other household members, or your personal guests.

  7. Call a lawyer if you have questions or if property management doesn’t respond within fourteen days. You can call South Carolina Legal Services at 1-803-744-9430 in Richland or Lexington counties or 1-888-346-5592 from other parts of the state. If you do not qualify for their services, you can also call the South Carolina Bar’s Lawyer Referral Service at 1-800-868-2284.

14 Day Letter and Acceptance Receipt

The following is a blank 14 day letter form. On the second page, there is a yellow form that provides information on what to include in each section. If you live in a housing authority home, a separate form has been included on page 3 and 4. Finally, the acceptance letter can be found on the final page.

Acceptance receipts can be useful when hand-delivering these notices to landlords to make sure that a tenant can prove their landlord got the letter. Acceptance receipts need to be signed by the person who receives the letter and dated. It can be useful to have two copies – one left with the property manager or landlord that they have signed and dated, and one that the tenant keeps.

If you have further questions, email us at [email protected] for more details. If you live in a Housing Authority home, please see the next section.

For information on tenant rights and rental challenges in South Carolina, visit scjustice.org/tenantvoices.