Who is protected by these housing laws? What protections do these laws offer?
South Dakota offers various housing/tenancy-related laws that protect victims of abuse.
First, your landlord cannot terminate your lease, or otherwise penalize you for calling the police or other emergency assistance in response to domestic violence, domestic abuse, unlawful sexual behavior, or stalking. Furthermore, in your lease, you cannot give up your right to call the police or other emergency assistance for help during your tenancy.1
Second, if you or someone in your household is the victim of domestic abuse, unlawful sexual behavior, or stalking, you can terminate your lease early if you:
- notify your landlord in writing that the termination is because of your fear of immediate danger or injury to you or someone in your household; and
- give your landlord one of the following documents:
- a police report written within the past 30 days documenting the domestic abuse, unlawful sexual behavior, or stalking;
- a valid protection order issued within the past 30 days because of the domestic abuse, unlawful sexual behavior, or stalking;
- a written statement from a licensed health care provider who confirms that s/he has examined the victim within the past 30 days and that s/he believes that the domestic abuse, unlawful sexual behavior, or stalking was committed.2
Note: You will not have to pay an early lease termination fee or the rent for the months after you leave the residence.2 See Once I terminate my lease, will I owe the landlord any money? for more information.
Lastly, you cannot be evicted solely because you are a victim of domestic abuse, unlawful sexual behavior, or stalking – although you can be evicted for other reasons.1
1 SDCL § 43-32-18.1
2 SDCL § 43-32-19.1
Once I terminate my lease, will I owe the landlord any money?
If you end your lease early under South Dakota’s housing law you cannot be charged early termination fees or rent for the months after you move out.1 However, if you damaged the property or if you owe any back rent prior to leaving the property, you would still owe the landlord money to pay for the damage or back rent. Your landlord could use your security deposit to pay for damage and/or back rent, and then return the rest to you. If your landlord does not return your security deposit, you may have to take him/her to court and ask for a judge to award the amount of the deposit to you.
1 SDCL § 43-32-19.1
If I tell my landlord my new address, can the landlord tell this to anyone?
You may decide to give your landlord your new address so that your security deposit check can be mailed to you. However, your landlord is not allowed to tell anyone your new address or other contact information unless you agree (consent) or unless s/he is required by law to do so.1
1 SDCL § 43-32-19.2