Over 30 fined since Charleston's short term rental rules went into effect

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - 35 people have been brought to court and fined for violating the City of Charleston’s short term rental rules after new regulations went into effect more than six months ago.

Those rules made it easier to enforce that short term rentals, like Airbnb or HomeAway, are illegal to operate unless a person has a permit. Property owners who violate the rules can be fined $1,000 per offense, which could mean $1,000 for every night they are operating.

The city doesn’t just fine a person caught operating though. They first send the homeowner a warning letter with a 10-day grace period to respond. If they continued operating without a permit, then they'd be taken to court.

Charleston director of planning Jacob Lindsey, said the new regulations are “100 percent enforceable.”

"We require that short term renter operators live on their property,” Lindsey said. “That means you have someone there who's looking after the property to make sure that parties aren't taking place and protecting the quality of life for the street and the neighborhood."

The city uses advanced software which scans short-term-rental websites and finds those operating within the city. It then goes through a verification process by the city before issuing warning letters. 1,622 units have been flagged on these sites and are undergoing review. More than 250 warning letters have already been issued.

Only 101 new units have been permitted since July.

If you would like to make your voice heard on this issue, the city is hosting a public meeting on Thursday from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Charleston Museum.

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