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Short Term Rental Permit Information

Short Term Rental Application Workshop

The City will host two open house workshops where citizens can meet with city staff to review the process of applying for Short Term Rental permits under the new ordinance, which goes into effect on July 10, 2018.

Thursday, June 21 from 5 to 7 p.m. in Ballroom 1 at the Gaillard Center (2 George Street)
Monday, June 25 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the first floor Public Meeting Room at the Gaillard Center

City staff from various departments will be available to answer citizens’ questions throughout the duration of both workshops. A guide to the online application process will be available on the city’s website by June 21 for those unable to attend.


The City of Charleston has recently passed an
ordinance to regulate short term rentals STRs in all areas of the city, which will take effect on July 10th, 2018. To qualify for legal short term renting under this new ordinance, the residential property must:

  • Serve as the owner’s full time primary residence, as verified by receiving the County’s 4% tax exemption for owner-occupied property.
- While the host does not have to be present for the complete duration of their guests’ stay, they   must be “generally available” and sleep overnight at the property whenever it is being rented.
  • Meet zone specific criteria based on property location in either 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
  • Contain a third parking space for the additional STR use. If the property contains multiple Dwelling Units, each must have adequate legal parking in addition to the one required STR space.

In order to begin listing a qualifying residential unit, you must:

  • Submit an application online or at the City of Charleston Permit Center located on the 1st floor of the Gaillard Center at 2 George St. Applications must include:
- Floor plans drawn to scale of the habitable structures on the property that clearly designate all   rooms to be used by STR guests, and the specific room or rooms to be used by guests for   sleeping
- A site plan of the lot showing the location of the proposed Residential STR unit and the required   off-street parking spaces and driveways
- For information on how to create a site plan, click here
- 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 applicant’s 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

- All business licenses must be renewed 1 year from the original issuance date
  • 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) 
- Permit numbers must be included in any/all online advertisements

Online permit applications

To apply for a permit online you must register for a CAP account. There are two steps to complete to register for an account. Accounts cannot be approved before both steps are complete:
  1. First you must complete the CAP Account authorization form. When completing the form please use "Short Term Rental" as the business name. 
  2. Once you submit the form you will be directed to the Customer Access Portal page to register for an account.

Application materials are being prepared and will be released shortly before July 10.

More questions? Check out the FAQ sheet