MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCSC) - The Town of Mount Pleasant could soon decide to further cap the number of short-term rentals allowed within its borders.
Currently, the town allows up to one percent of its dwellings to be used as short-term rentals, which include individual rental properties at which people can stay for fewer than 30 days. Hotels, inns and motels are not included.
Planning director Michele Reed said the town has issued nearly as many permits as allowed – just over 400. Many of the short-term rentals the town has seen are concentrated in older neighborhoods and those without homeowners associations that may have their own rules prohibiting rentals, she said.
“Going in, we knew there was going to be a concentration of them in our older neighborhoods, and so we’re definitely seeing that now,” she said. “Now that the program has been in place, we’ve issued permits for a year, we’re definitely seeing that, and so I think it was just kind of a response to that.”
Since Jan. 1, 2020, homeowners who want to use their properties for short-term rentals have to get a permit and a business license from the town.
The council is considering increasing fines for those who don’t get those permits. The new ordinance suggests a $100 late fee for existing operators and a $500 penalty for those operating illegally who need to apply for a permit.
Reed said someone who operates illegally and continues to do so will be subject to the town’s regular code enforcement process, which includes fines and tickets.
The proposed ordinance claims the new fees and rules help protect the character of the town and allow government to better manage the inventory of rentals.
Homeowner Kathryn Faulkner said she understands why the increased traffic could be concerning for neighbors, but the current restrictions on short-term rentals keep her from seriously considering renting out her home to make money in retirement.
“The more stipulations, the more frustrating it gets for you and less profitable,” she said.
A public hearing is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Mount Pleasant Municipal Complex.