Short Term Rentals

As of January 1, 2020, the Town of Mount Pleasant implemented regulations regarding the use of residential dwelling units as short-term rentals. Residents who plan to use residential homes, accessory dwellings, or portions of their homes as short-term rentals will be required to have a short-term rental permit and a business license.

As of January 1, 2020, the following rules/regulations apply:

  • Any structure utilized as a short term rental must meet the definition of a dwelling or accessory dwelling. These definitions are defined in section 156.007 of the Town’s Zoning Code.  Any structure utilized as a short term rental must have been properly permitted and received all approvals, including but not limited to a certificate of occupancy. Additionally, short term rentals shall be prohibited in multi-family dwellings, the Old Village Historic District, and within neighborhoods that specifically prohibit short term rental activity through their homeowner association (HOA) covenants and restrictions.  
  • A short term rental permit application will need to be completed and approved in order to operate a short term rental, whether for an entire house, accessory dwelling, or a room (up to six rooms) in your house (a special exception from the Board of Zoning Appeals is no longer be needed). 
  • Applications will only be accepted online through our website. A $250 non-refundable application review fee will be required at the time of application. All applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-serve basis and evaluated to determine if all requirements have been met before being approved and a short term rental permit issued.
  • A short term rental permit is required in order to get a business license for short term rentals. 
  • The maximum number of short term rental permits issued will be capped to 1% of the total number of dwelling units in the Town as of January 1st of each year. Once the maximum number of short term rental permits has been reached, no additional permits will be issued for that year. These permits will be issued on a first-come, first-serve basis.
  • If you were legally operating a short-term rental (entire house or bed and breakfast), had a business license, and paid all accommodations taxes prior to January 1, 2020, the 1% cap will not apply. All short term rentals in existence as of the effective date of this ordinance (January 1, 2020) shall be subject to the provisions of section 156.142 of the Town’s Zoning Code regarding nonconforming structure and uses.
  • Anyone submitting for a new permit prior to July 1, 2021, will need to re-apply for a new permit on July 1, 2021.

Short-term Rental Permit Application and Re-Application Process

Property owners wanting short-term rentals must apply for a short-term rental permit each year.   The property owner (or their agent) can apply for a short-term rental permit (please note, that the application review fee is non-refundable). Re-application for a short-term rental permit cannot be completed prior to the start of the new permit year, and doing so will cause denial of the permit application. In addition to filling out the application and paying the appropriate review fee, the following information must be uploaded with the application: 

  • Property Owner Affidavitapply online pic Opens in new window
  • Copy of current liability insurance 
  • Proof of property taxes paid 
  • Site plan showing location of short-term rental unit(s) and parking 
  • Proof of sales and use taxes paid (only required if operating as a short-term rental prior to the application date) 
  • Proof of accommodations taxes paid (only required if operating as a short-term rental prior to the application date)

More information on the application process and requirements can be found by viewing the ordinance.  

Sales and Accommodation Taxes 

The rules for when you are required to collect sales and accommodation taxes are complicated and depend on whether your house is a primary residence (4% assessment) or a secondary residence (6% assessment) and how many days of the year it is rented. There are several types of taxes that must be collected, and some are paid to the state and some to Charleston County. Please visit the SC Department of Revenue website with specific questions about state taxes you may owe or contact them at 803-898-5970. 

For information about county taxes you may owe, please visit the Charleston County website or contact them at 843-202-6095.