By Theresa Stratford for The Island Connection
Town Administrator Joe Cronin provided an update on short-term rentals on Seabrook Island at the Aug. 24 Town Council meeting. Cronin said that the week before the meeting, they surpassed their 500th short-term rental permit for the 2021 calendar year. He mentioned that there are actually 501 active rentals. There are 20 other rentals that had short-term rental permits that have recently been sold to new owners. “If the person sells the property, the new owner has to get a new license,” he said.
Cronin presented the data of what types of properties have the short-term rental status. He broke them out as those within an association or regime and he used some of the terminology from the proposed development standards ordinance to break them out as: condos, townhomes, cluster homes and single family homes (with and without a regime). The names of the developments were also broken out in terms of the amount of short-term rentals in those areas.
The breakdown for the 501 short-term rental properties are:
• 404 are located in an association or regime.
■ 79 are cluster homes
■ 198 are condos
■ 26 are single-family homes inside an association or regime
■ 101 are townhomes
• 97 are located outside an association or regime (all of these are single-family homes).
Cronin went on to say that about 80% of the short-term rental properties are defined as multi-family developments, while 20% are more scattered throughout the island in single-family neighborhoods. He said that of the total number of condos and townhomes on Seabrook Island, roughly 35% are being offered for rent at any point during the calendar year, while only about 11% of the total amount of single-family homes on the island are offered for rent. Cronin pointed out that the numbers continuously change throughout the year. Council Member Jeri Finke pointed out that the short-term rentals are not active for rent throughout the year.
“The ordinance requires you to have a short term rental permit even if you rent one night to someone in a year,” she said. “On average they rent for about 72 days a year – usually Memorial Day through Labor Day. All those people are not on the island continuously throughout the year.” Finke also pointed out that single family homes and condo regimes are “all residential neighborhoods.” She added, “They are all deserving of the same protection the ordinance gives for problem rentals.” Cronin concluded that there was a spike in May and early June with short-term rentals because of the PGA Championship held on Kiawah Island from May 17 to May 23. He said he doesn’t think they will have that same number next year. “There were 495 active during that time period – pretty much all due to the golf tournament.” He said that in late summer, they typically have 470 to 475 short-term rentals occupied.
“Many homeowners are occupying their own homes in the summer months and not renting them, so it is important to note these are private homes and are being used for private use many times throughout the year,” Cronin added.