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Short Term Rental Permit Information

Short Term Rental Application Guide


If you are having issues with your CAP Account or Fire Inspection, please call the Fire Marshal or Department of Information Technology at the following numbers:

The Fire Marshal can be reached at 843-724-3429 or 843-724-7185

Information Technology can be reached at 843-722-4357 or 843-805-3222


The City of Charleston has recently passed an
ordinance to regulate short term rentals STRs in all areas of the city, which will take effect on July 10th, 2018. To qualify for legal short term renting under this new ordinance, the residential property must:

  • Serve as the owner’s full time primary residence, as verified by receiving the County’s 4% tax exemption for owner-occupied property.
- While the host does not have to be present for the complete duration of their guests’ stay, they   must be “generally available” and sleep overnight at the property whenever it is being rented.
  • Meet zone specific criteria based on property location in either Category 1 (Old & Historic District), Category 2 (outside existing STR Overlay/Old and Historic District on peninsula), Category 3 (non-peninsula area), or the Short Term Rental Overlay
  • Contain a third parking space for the additional STR use. If the property contains multiple Dwelling Units, each must have adequate legal parking in addition to the one required STR space.

In order to begin listing a qualifying residential unit, you must:

  • Submit an application online or at the City of Charleston Permit Center located on the 1st floor of the Gaillard Center at 2 George St. Applications must include:
- Floor plans drawn to scale of the habitable structures on the property that clearly designate all   rooms to be used by STR guests, and the specific room or rooms to be used by guests for   sleeping. Floor plans are not required to be drawn by a design professional.
- For examples of basic floor plan examples, click here.
- A site plan of the lot showing the location of the proposed Residential STR unit and the required   off-street parking spaces and driveways
- For information on how to create a site plan, click here
- Documents showing the address of the property being applied for that prove the primary   residence and 4% tax status including but not limited to:
- The applicant’s drivers’ license or state-issued ID
- A letter from the County auditor or assessor attesting to the 4% tax status of the

- All business licenses must be renewed 1 year from the original issuance date
  • Obtain a short term rental permit (permit will be issued after application is approved and must be renewed annually at the beginning of each calendar year) 
- Permit numbers must be included in any/all online advertisements

Online permit applications

To apply for a permit online you must register for a CAP account. There are two steps to complete in order to register for an account. Accounts cannot be approved until both steps are complete:
  1. First you must complete the CAP Account authorization form. When completing the form please use "Home Owner Short Term Rental" as the Primary Type of CAP Account Requested. 
  2. Once you submit the form you will be directed to the Customer Access Portal page to register for an account.
Once your account is approved you will be able to submit your application online. See our Permit Submission User Guide for step by step instructions on how to apply online

Application materials are being prepared and will be released shortly before July 10.

Fire & Safety Information

Short Term Rental - Self Survey Fire Inspection

More questions? Contact us at or 843-724-3781
Click here for STR Permit Application Materials & Check out the FAQ sheet

Additional Information

NOTE: If applying online use the Internet Explorer internet browser and remember to upload the appropriate attachments before submitting your application. Failing to do so can slow down the review process for your application. Please see our Permit Submission User Guide for step by step instructions on how to apply online. 

To file a complaint regarding an STR please submit a request online through our Citizen Support Center or call 843-724-7311

Did you know? You can search for active permits using the permit search option on the CitizenAccess Portal. You can search by address or permit type. STR permits are categorized as operational permits.