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Posted on: February 10, 2020

Town Adopts New Regulations for Short Term Rentals

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SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (Monday, February 10, 2020) - The Town of Summerville has adopted new regulations for the operation of Short Term Rentals (STR). STRs are defined in the Town’s Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) as “the leasing or rental of an entire or extra dwelling unit by a permanent resident typically using a hosting platform in increments of less than one month.”

Property owners who are operating or who are considering operating a STR in Summerville will need to register their rental with the Town. Applicants can apply for a Lodging Conditional Use permit and/or Special Exception to operate a STR through the Town’s online Citizenserve portal, which can be accessed on the Town’s website:

STRs are permitted uses in the Town’s D-MX, UC-MX, N-B, and G-B zoning. Property owners that wish to operate STRs on properties that are zoned with those categories will need to obtain a business license and have the property inspected to operate a business within town.

In the N-R, N-MX, GR-2, GR-3, GR-5, MF-R, and MH-R zoning districts, STRs are considered conditional uses and must meet the conditions established in Section 3.4.3.D of the UDO to be permitted to operate. For properties that are zoned GR-3 and GR-5, the conditions stated in 3.4.3.D will still need to be met, but the property owner will also need to apply for a Special Exception, which requires approval through the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Section 3.4.3 LODGING as defined in the Unified Development Ordinance

D. Short Term Rental (N-R, N-MX, GR-2, GR-3, GR-5, MF-R, MH-R)

  1. Determination of Short-Term Rental Offering: Any online advertisement posted by the owner or Permanent Resident is sufficient to determine that a unit is being offered as a short-term rental.
  2. Owner-Occupancy Required: The Short-Term Rental shall be owned and operated by at least 50 percent of the record owner(s) of the real property upon which the bed and breakfast is located and shall be a resident(s) of the subject property; for purposes of this zoning chapter, to qualify as a resident(s) of a property, the person(s) shall use that property as their legal voting address, South Carolina driver’s license address or South Carolina identification card address and four percent homeowners assessment ratio address, and shall actually reside on the property at least 183 days each year and be on site at any time guest are registered. A bed and breakfast owned by a limited liability corporation (LLC), corporation or any other type of business entity, at least 50 percent of the ownership of said LLC, corporation or other type of business entity shall be by the resident(s) as described above together with the same restrictions and qualifications set forth.
  3. Business License Required: A Permanent Resident offering a residential unit for Short-Term Rental shall maintain a valid business license.
  4. Peaceful Enjoyment by Neighbors: Such use shall create no disturbing or offensive noise, vibration, smoke, dust, odor, heat, glare, unhealthy or unsightly condition, traffic, or parking problems.
  5. Insurance Required: Valid liability insurance is required for the Owner, Property management company/or any other entity. Valid insurance is required for each unit being licensed for short term rentals.
  6. Safety Inspection: An initial safety inspection shall be conducted by the Town. Additional inspections for compliance with the regulations in this section may be performed by the Town if deemed necessary and with 24 hour notice to the permit holder/property manager.
  7. Records Required: The Permanent Resident shall maintain records for two years demonstrating compliance with these provisions, including but not limited to information demonstrating Primary Residency, the number of days per calendar year he or she occupied the residential unit, the number of days per calendar year the residential unit has been rented as a Short-Term Rental, and compliance with the insurance requirement in this section. These records shall be made available to the Town upon request.

Town Council voted to adopt the new UDO on October 10, 2019.

For further information or for questions please contact the Planning Department at (843) 851-4214.


Unified Development Ordinance (UDO)
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