Charleston zoning regulations define an Accommodations Use to include hotels, motels, inns, bed and breakfasts, short term rentals, rooming and boarding houses, hostels, lodging units, resort units, condominiums, cooperatives, apartments or other units that are included in a “Vacation Time Sharing Plan” or “Vacation Time Sharing Lease Plan”, and all similar uses where the intended and/or usual occupancy would not exceed 29 consecutive days. A Residence Club Use is also defined as an Accommodations Use. All proposed Accommodations Uses, except bed and breakfasts and short term rentals, must be located within the Accommodations Overlay Zone and receive the approval of the Board of Zoning Appeals-Zoning pursuant to § 54-220.  A Residential Use is distinguished from an Accommodations Use by the term of the occupancy and the characteristics of the use itself. A Residential Use requires a minimum term of occupancy of 30 consecutive days and cannot be a commercial use. 


Short term rentals are a distinct type of accommodations use consisting of a limited number of fully functioning private dwelling units that are rented to families for periods of between one (1) day and 29 days. Pursuant to § 54-227, to receive the approval of the Zoning Division, the short term rental must be located within the Short Term Rental Overlay Zone and be zoned CT, LB, GB, UT, MU-1, MU-1/WH, MU-2, MU-2/WH (commercial zoning districts). A City of Charleston Business License is required.