Folly Beach STR Compliance Update: August 2023

STR Update

City Council amended the licensing, registration, and code enforcement procedures for short term rentals on 9/13/2022. The changes were enacted by Ordinance 027-22 and included new documentation for registration approval, an overhaul of the rental strike process, and changes to rental specific private event requirements.

The passage of Ordinance 027-22 was paired with increased staffing for short term rental compliance and general code enforcement. Short term rental compliance includes both field work (confirming parking plans, patrolling for house numbers and garbage can violations, responding to noise or occupancy complaints, etc.) and administrative duties (processing licenses and registrations, monitoring advertisements, confirming tax records, managing appeals, etc.).  When in the field, compliance officers are also responsible for general code enforcement at all properties (house numbers, garbage cans, business license and permitting requirements for contractors, noise, and nuisance complaints, etc.).

Two of the original four hires for STR compliance left their positions early on due to the evolving job duties as the city worked to define the scope, schedule, and daily workflow for the new department. Staffing levels will be fully restored by end of July. Despite these early growing pains, STR staff have processed 1,074 rental licenses and 746 rental registrations as of July 3. This equates to approximately 1,800 hours related to processing applications. The city hopes to have final 2023 license and registration numbers by the end of July.

In addition to administrative code work, STR officers have been in the field monitoring turtle lighting, garbage cans, and house numbers. They are also researching advertising violations including bedroom/occupancy counts and missing information. Staff have issued and prosecuted citations related to STR activity and denial appeals have been heard by the city’s licensing judge. 

The city’s primary goal for STR and general code enforcement is compliance, not revenue or overly aggressive prosecution. Staff members pursue warnings and proactive notices prior to issuing citations. Should an owner, agent, or guest ignore the warnings, tickets are issued. When a ticket results in a convictions for an STR related offense, a strike will be issued to the property. After three strikes in a year, a rental property may lose their license.

Aaron Pope

City Administrator