Short Term Rentals

*New** Short Term Rental Ordinance effective January 1, 2020

Beginning January 1, 2020, the Town of Mount Pleasant will implement 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.

 What does this mean? 

Until January 1, 2020, the following rules/regulations apply:

  • You can rent out your entire house (owner does not live on-site) on a short-term basis, unless otherwise restricted.  You will need to have a business license and must pay accommodations taxes. 
  • If you rent out a room (up to six rooms) in your house or an accessory dwelling (ADU) on a short-term basis and you live on-site, this is considered a bed and breakfast and you need to have a special exception from the Board of Zoning Appeals. Once the special exception is approved, you will also need a business license and must pay accommodations taxes.

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.  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 will no longer be needed). 
  • Applications will only be accepted online through our website. A $250 non-refundable 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. 
  • 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.

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 844-898-8542 (option 6).  For information about county taxes you may owe, please visit the Charleston County website or contact them at 843-202-6095. 

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

Additional explanatory information will be provided over the next few months until the new system is implemented.  Check back for updates!