Mount Pleasant could still cap short-term rentals

MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) – The City of Mount Pleasant may soon decide to further limit the number of short-term rentals allowed within its borders.

Currently, the city allows up to 1% of its homes to be used as short-term rentals, which includes individual rental properties where people can stay for less than 30 days. Hotels, inns and motels are not included.

Planning director Michele Reed said the city has issued almost as many permits as it is authorized – just over 400. Most of the short-term rentals the city has seen are concentrated in neighborhoods with more old ones and those without homeowners associations who may have their own rules prohibiting rentals, she says.

“Coming in, we knew there would be a concentration of them in our older neighborhoods, so we’re definitely seeing that now,” she said. “Now that the program is in place, we’ve been licensing for a year, we’re definitely seeing that, and so I think it was just kind of a response to that.”

As of January 1, 2020, landlords who wish to use their properties for short-term rentals must obtain a permit and business license from the city.

The council is considering increasing fines for those who fail to obtain these permits. The new order suggests a $100 late fee for existing operators and a $500 penalty for those operating illegally who must apply for a permit.

Reed said anyone who operates illegally and continues to do so will be subject to the city’s regular code enforcement process, which includes fines and tickets.

The proposed ordinance says the new fees and rules help protect the city’s character and allow the government to better manage rental inventory.

Owner Kathryn Faulkner said she understands why increased traffic may be a concern for neighbors, but current restrictions on short-term rentals prevent her from seriously considering renting out her home to earn money retired.

“The more stipulations, the more frustrating it becomes for you and the less profitable it becomes,” she said.

A public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Mount Pleasant Municipal Complex.

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