By Stephanie Brasswell Edgerton for The Island Connection
The Kiawah Island Town Council has approved a revised ordinance that includes a combination of measures intended to better regulate the operation and impact of short-term rental homes on the community.
The law, approved by the Council Nov. 5, goes into effect Jan. 1, 2020. It also establishes a limit to the total number of rental units that will be licensed in certain single-family residential neighborhoods. Currently, about 1,300 of the town’s approximately 3,400 properties are licensed for short-term rental use.
“The ordinance has a couple of different goals. Short-term rentals have always been an important part of the community, but the town and our property owners see a need for better regulation and more responsive enforcement of those regulations,” Mayor Craig Weaver commented. “The second aim of the new regulation is to better enable the community to preserve the residential character of Kiawah’s singlefamily, residential neighborhoods.”
Under Kiawah Island’s short-term rental regulations, all rental properties must be licensed by the town and must adhere to specific requirements affecting occupancy, parking, advertising, payment of required accommodation taxes and conformance with building safety code requirements. The new rules also require all rental units to have a local property contact to address renter problems and prohibit the rental of only a portion of a home. In addition, commercial rental businesses such as private destination clubs must conform to short-term rental regulations as a requirement for operating in the town.
The ordinance amendments allow for additional enforceable penalties for problem renters and property owners and hold rental owners and managers jointly responsible for conforming to regulations.
Town Administrator Stephanie Tillerson stated, “The Town will take on a stronger enforcement role and will be adding additional code enforcement officers and expanding hours into the evening.”