MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCSC) – One Mount Pleasant resident says a lack of short-term rental regulation has turned some of the town’s neighborhoods into hospitality districts.
“I want to be able to raise my kids in a town where I was raised and my friends were raised, and I want my children to grow up with the children of my friends, I don’t see that happening at this point in time,” Mount Pleasant Resident Cameron Swails says.
He says the excess of short-term rentals has priced people out of town.
“It is important for people who want to live in Mount Pleasant to be able to live in Mount Pleasant, and not a lot of people can do that,” Swails says.
There are 400 issued short-term rental permits in the town, but Swails says he thinks there are many more in operation.
“The problem is regulation,” he says, “I don’t see that Mount Pleasant is doing that or has a plan to change how they do it.”
Documents from Mount Pleasant show, since 2021, eight citations were handed out to six properties, all for operating without a permit. The town collected $5,292.50 in fines from those citations.
For comparison, the City of Charleston has collected $652,099 in fines from short-term rentals since 2018, according to data provided by the city. Charleston currently has 665 active permits, the data shows.
The town’s short-term rental coordinator, Jane Yager-Baumrind, says she finds the majority of illegally operating short-term rentals through a monitoring software called “Rentalscape.”
Once she comes across an illegal listing, she says she’ll make contact through the advertisement and 95% of the time they’ll immediately resolve the issue.
“The citations are written when somebody refuses to comply or acts like the rules don’t apply to them,” Mount Pleasant Mayor Will Haynie says. “The number of citations is not a total indicator.”
Haynie says the town didn’t write the short-term rental ordinance to ignore it, and that anyone who thinks they aren’t doing enough regulation should provide evidence.
“If they don’t think we’ve written enough violations up, then they need to let us know where these violations are,” Haynie says.
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