Charleston Short Term Rentals

Guide to City of Charleston Short Term Rental Ordinance

The City of Charleston recently passed an ordinance to regulate Short Term Rentals (STRs) that took effect starting July 10th, 2018.

 

To qualify for a legal short term rental your residential property must meet the following criteria: 

1.      The property must serve as the owner’s full-time primary residence. This will be verified by the county’s 4% tax exemption for the owner occupied property.

2.      Meet zoning criteria based on your location in four categories: Category 1 (Old & Historic District),  Category 2 (outside existing STR Overlay/Old and Historic District on peninsula), Category 3 (non peninsula area), or the Short Term Rental Overlay. See more information on Zoning Requirements below.

3.      Contain a third parking space for the additional STR use. If the property contains multiple dwelling units, each unit must have adequate legal parking in addition to the one required for the STR.

 

To begin listing a qualifying residential unit, you must:

1.      Submit an application online or at the City of Charleston Permit Center located on the 1st floor of the Gaillard Center at 2 George Street. Applications must include the following:

a.      Floor plans drawn to scale of the habitable structures on the property that clearly designate all rooms to be used by STR guest, and the specific room or rooms to be used by guests for sleeping.

b.      A site plan of the lot showing the location of the proposed residential STR unit and the required off-street parking spaces and driveways.

c.       Documents showing the address of the property being applied for that prove the primary residence and 4% tax status, including but not limited to: the applicants drivers’ license or state-issued ID, the applicant’s voter registration card, a letter from the county auditor or assessor attesting to the 4% tax status of the property.

2.      Obtain a business license – all business license must be renewed 1 year from the original issuance date. Business License

3.      Obtain a short term rental permit – permit will be issued after application is approved and must be renewed annually at the beginning of each calendar year)

 

Online Permit Applications 

See all applications here:

Charleston STR Applications

 

To submit a permit online you must register for a Customer Access Portal account through the city of Charleston. To register see CAP Online Authorization Form

 


 

Zoning Requirements 

 

Category 1 

 Category 1 corresponds to the area of the peninsula in the Old and Historic District (area in light purple on the map below). In addition to meeting the general requirements listed above, the units within Category 1 must meet the following requirements:

1.      Property shall not contain more than one (1) STR unit.

2.      Property shall provide one (1) off street parking space in addition to providing required off street parking for the existing uses on the property.

3.      The STR unit shall be located within an existing structure or accessory building that is individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

 

Category 1

Category 2

   Category 2 corresponds to areas of the peninsula outside of the Short Term Rental Overlay and the Old and Historic District (area in light red on the map below). In addition to meeting the general requirements for all short term rentals listed above, the units within Category 2 must meet the following requirements:

1.      Property shall not contain more than one (1) STR unit.

2.      Property shall provide one (1) off street parking space in addition to providing required off street parking for the existing uses on the property.

3.      The STR unit shall be located in a building constructed 50 or more years ago.

Category 2

Category 3 

   Category 3 corresponds to all areas of the city off of the peninsula including West Ashley, Johns Island, James Island, and Daniel Island (area in light green on the map below). In addition to meeting the general requirements for all short term rentals listed above, the units within Category 3 must meet the following requirements:

1.      Property shall provide one (1) off street parking space in addition to providing required off street parking for the existing uses on the property.

Category 3