Charleston City Council defers vote on stricter enforcement measures for short-term rentals

VIDEO: City council may approve stricter enforcement measures for short-term rentals

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Charleston City Council deferred a vote Monday night to approve stricter enforcement rules for short-term rentals.

According to city officials, amendments are being added to the ordinance with a second and final reading scheduled for April 10.

The new rules are designed to cut down the number of illegal short-term rentals.  A short-term rental is defined as a home that is rented for under 30 days.

They are banned in most of the peninsula and are allowed only with permission from the city.

"It's not enforceable now," said Buddy Lenhart who lives downtown."There's no enforcement at all."

Department of Livability and Tourism Director Dan Riccio says current rules are hard to enforce.

Riccio says under a proposed ordinance, property owners who want to rent out their homes will have to get a permit from the city and list the permit when advertising a rental.

Otherwise, they could be fined up to $1,087.

Homeowners who continue to break the law after receiving a summons could be fined for each day the property is illegally rented, according to Riccio.

In addition, property owners will have to physically live at the house while it is being rented.

"Everybody now focuses on how they're gonna stay in their most favorite place somewhere else," said Jerry Smith who lives in downtown."That's not what this is about. It's about preserving residential neighborhoods."

Riccio plans to hire three officers whose only job will be to enforce the regulations.

He also says his department will use computer software to track down violators.

One part of the ordinance that could be changed is the requirement that rentals in most of the city be at least 50 years old.

Under the proposed ordinance there will be three classes for short-term rentals.

In the Old and Historic District, only homes in the National Historic Register would qualify for short-term rentals.

In Cannonborough-Elliotborough short-term rentals would be allowed only in homes that are zoned commercial.

The last class would include the rest of the city, including neighborhoods above the Crosstown and homes in West Ashley, James, Johns and Daniel islands.

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