Charleston City Council working to revise rental registration ordinance

Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 9:53 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 17, 2022 at 11:17 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Charleston City Council deferred Tuesday a proposed ordinance that would create a rental registry that would help the City connect with landlords to more easily resolve issues at their properties. Now, officials say work is being done to revise the proposed ordinance.

On the peninsula, there is a diverse group of renters, which includes a large college student population.

“A lot of problems occur with off-campus students who reside in the neighborhoods surrounding the College of Charleston,” Dan Riccio, the director of livability and tourism for the City of Charleston, said. “A lot of nuisance issues with noise, with loud parties, with trash.”

A rental registry has been discussed for years to help strike a balance between landlords, renters and full-time residents that live near rental properties. Riccio says there has been concern over the past few years over the amount of time it takes to locate property owners, which makes it difficult to address problems at their properties quickly. Many rental properties are licensed under LLCs, and often, the websites for the LLCs do not provide contact information.

“We just want an issue that arises at these properties to be handled appropriately and in an expedited manner,” Riccio said.

The goal of the rental registration is to have information for a landlord or property manager that resides within thirty miles of Charleston, so that they can respond to calls from livability or the police if issues occur at their property. If the landlord or property manager does not live in close proximity of Charleston, they would have to designate a person that lives within thirty miles.

The ordinance discussed at Tuesday’s meeting included two other parts, an accountability measure and a section that would make sure landlords brought property up to a certain standard. At the meeting, councilmembers expressed concerns about the latter.

Councilmember Jason Sakran said some councilmembers worried that if all rentals had to be up to a certain standard, landlords would be required to renovate their properties, which would lead to more costs, increase rent and make the issue of affordable housing worse.

Now, Sakran says council has decided that they should focus their efforts on creating the rental registry ordinance.

“We can focus on livability, we can contact landlords, and ultimately just make our neighborhoods more safer, quieter, and more livable for families,” Sakran said.

Sakran says work will be done to create changes to the proposed ordinance, and it will go before council for a first reading in September. He says the hope is to get it finalized in October.

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