Charleston County Council moves closer to new short-term rental regulations

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Charleston County Council voted Tuesday night to give preliminary approval on short-term rental regulations in unincorporated portions of the county.

The proposed regulations came after several months of complaints about short-term rentals from county residents. 

Patrick Bell has been working with the county to draft the regulation and said this would make Charleston County more consistent with the City of Charleston’s regulations.

"This is just the evolution of the industry kind of like Uber did several years ago," said Bell.

The draft of the regulations notes several nuisances residents believe come from short-term rentals, including noise, trash, traffic, parking, safety and other issues. 

"We're just wanting reasonable regulations to make sure that it protects the quality of neighborhoods while protecting the property rights of people that want to do short-term rental," said Bell.

The regulations would restrict short-term rentals to 72 days in Charleston County, unless an application for an Extended Home Rental is filed, which would allow the short-term rental to last for 144 days. 

Those who are approved to have Commercial Guest Homes will not be restricted to the number of days a rental can last but will have to be within a certain zone and meet detailed requirements. 

"It depends on the area within the county but there are limits on the number of days a property can be rented in a year, said Bell. “There's limits on the amount of off-street parking that's required for a house to qualify, so there's a lot of little details."

Application fees differ for each type of short-term rental the regulations outline. The cost to apply for a short-term rental is $50, the cost for an Extended Home Rental application is $100, and a Commercial Guest Home application will cost $150. 

In addition to application fees, all short-term rentals would require a zoning permit and business license.

Those costs will be cut in half if an application is filed between July 1 and Dec. 31. 

There are currently no regulations for short-term rentals in the unincorporated part of the county. Bell said that’s a problem since more people want to do that now.

“There’s only a few hundred in the unincorporated areas that are being rented short term, but we expect more to come our way now that the city of Charleston has passed their ordinance,” said Bell.

The ordinance still needs to receive second and third approval from Charleston County Council.

Copyright 2018 WCSC. All rights reserved. 

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