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Charleston's Short-Term Rental Task Force to ask city for 'emergency enforcement' for illegal rentals

Source: Live 5 News Source: Live 5 News
CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -

The City of Charleston's Short-Term Rental Task Force is recommending that the city undertake emergency enforcement measures to address illegal short-term rentals.

The recommendation is for the planning commission and city council. 

The task-force would like what they call "reasonable" enforcement to be put in place prior to creating new short-term rental regulations.

When it comes to short-term rentals in Charleston there's a difference in opinions. Those who support it and those who don't.

There were several people who spoke at the task force meeting on Tuesday afternoon.

"If you're going to allow it in one area, I don't think it's fair to me as long as I do abide by the rules set in place," one Charleston resident said who supports rentals.

Another resident has had issues with his neighbor having an illegal short-term rental.

"We are living next to a full-time under supervised hotel with no security, no parking plan and spotty maintenance," he said.

The issue that concerns many are the hundreds of illegal rentals in Charleston.

A 2012 law in the City of Charleston makes it illegal to rent your home for less than 30 days with one exception: those in commercially zoned parts of
the Canonborough Elliotborough neighborhood.

The Short-Term Rental Task Force's duty is to set new rental regulations and find ways to better enforce them.

Denise Holtz is the founder and president of the South Carolina Vacation Rental Managers Association.

"We'd love to see it be open up for every homeowner," Holtz said. "As a property owner I don't want anyone telling me what I can or cannot do with my property."

The task force discussed that if short-term rentals were granted to more parts of the city, the old and historic parts would likely have different rules.

They also mostly agreed that if rules are changed for the existing area where short-term rentals are allowed that they would allow those who are currently legal and compliant to keep renting their space.

"It needs to be regulated, there needs to be sensible rules in place so the bad actors like the one's they talked about can be handled, and those property owners and property managers can be banned from the practice," Holtz said.

A new poll released Tuesday by a website that lists short-term rentals, HomeAway, finds that out of 574 Charleston voters, 51 percent support allowing short-term rentals in all parts of the city.

The survey also revealed that 33 percent of the voters oppose. 

A representative with HomeAway was at the Monday meeting to discuss how the task force could use its website platform to customize what information people would be required to enter for posting short-term rental openings.

The task force is planning to make a formal recommendation for new regulations to the planning commission sometime next month with a goal of having new regulations in effect by the end of the year. 

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