Short Term Rentals


The City of Charleston passed a new ordinance regulating short term rentals recently. These new guidelines make it anything but easy to turn your property into a vacation rental. In order to qualify as a legal short term renting, the residential property must serve as the owner’s full time primary residence and the owner must sleep overnight at the property whenever it’s being rented! You also have to check wether the rental meets the proper zoning criteria based on property location and the property must contain a third parking space. Once these guidelines are met, one must submit an application to the City Permit Center which includes: an appropriately drawn floor plan, a site plan showing all parking, and documentation proving that the property is a primary residence. The final task of the short term rental application is to obtain a business license. After all these hoops, it doesn’t even seem worth it to a homeowner struggling to make ends meet. However, this is exactly what the city intended, and ordinances akin to this one purposefully protects the massive hotel industry to the detriment of local home owners. To prove their dedication to preventing visitors enjoy local homes, the city has announced that they’re accepting bids to hire a firm to use algorithms that will search the Internet and catch 100% of noncomplying short term rentals. Although better than the initial total ban, the future looks bright for massive hotel owners and bleak for homeowners as well as visitors wanting to save a few bucks and have a local experience.