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Southern Hospitality With AirBnb

One of Charleston’s finest characteristics is our residents’ undying commitment to southern hospitality. Charlestonians have so much rich history, culture, cuisine, and events to share with the world and Airbnb has made that so much easier to do.  Many of our local friends have inquired about the possibility of sharing their homes through Airbnb so here are some great things to consider before proceeding on this hospitable adventure.

Before you list a home on Airbnb, residents need to contact the city’s Department of Planning, Preservation, and Sustainability to obtain a short-term rental zoning permit.  Prior to February 26, 2018, short term rentals were prohibited by the Charleston City Council. However, a task force was established to look into the possibility of allowing short-term rentals in the city, and here is what they are proposing to go into effect in April 2018:

  • Property owners must get a short-term rental permit.
  • Class 1 includes the Old and Historic District on the lower peninsula and only houses listed on the National Register of Historic Places are eligible for a short-term rental permit.
  • Class 2 is for the rest of the peninsula where only homes that are 50 years old or more can obtain short-term rental permits.
  • Class 3 will include the rest of the city beyond the peninsula where there will not be an age limit on the properties seeking short-term rental permits.
  • There will be NO whole-house rentals.
  • Property owners must be on your property while it is being rented out.
  • Property owners may not advertise with any signs on your property.
  • Property owners must have a general liability policy.
  • Property owners must update your Short-Term Rental permit each year.

*****For complete rules and explanations, be sure to contact your local city government office: Department of Planning, Preservation, and Sustainability.

Once rental permits are obtained, listing extra rooms on Airbnb becomes quite simple. Begin by visiting the AirBnb.com website and create an account. Next, select the tab that says Become A Host. Following the prompts on the screen will help you easily get your space listed in no time flat. Here’s what you will be asked:

  1. Home Type. Select Apartment, House, or other. From there, it will ask you to narrow down the type of property from a list that includes a tiny house, townhouse, chalet, cabin, etc. and ask you to clarify whether the guest will have a private room, shared room, or the entire space.
  2. Beds Available. The prompts on the screen will continue to help you describe your space by asking how many beds are available, the room arrangements, or common areas that could be used for sleeping.

  3. Bathrooms. Simply list the number of available bathrooms and if they will be shared by yourself or other guests.

  4. Address. Enter the address of your property. This is not shared with anyone until they are confirmed guests.
  5. Amenities. Here you will let guests know what amenities they will have such as sheets, towels, wifi, TV, heat, air conditioning, pools, hot tubs, etc.

  6. Pictures. Airbnb will guide you through the process of adding photos to your listing and providing an inviting description of your property. Plan some DIY projects to elevate your space and make those pictures pop.

  7. Additional Descriptions. This will allow you to add details to your description. Letting people know if your property is kid and pet-friendly, good for large groups, what attractions are nearby, what restaurants are popular, what parks/events are close, what kind of decor they can expect, and so much more.

  8. Name Your Place. Give your place a catchy, descriptive title that will make it stand out from others like it!

  9. Set You House Rules. The site guides you through this process easily. In our local Charleston area, you are required to supply guests with the local city regulations also, but this can be done through the attached documents.

  10. Set Your Calendar and Prices. At this point, you are free to customize your own calendar. Airbnb will suggest prices that are comparable with other rentals in your area, but you are free to set your prices as you wish.

If you follow all of these steps on AirBnb.com, you will be ready to host families from around the state, country, and even the world!  Enjoy sharing Charleston’s unique southern charm, history, cuisine, and culture from your home while meeting great people. Be sure to follow all of our city’s regulations for your short-term rental so that all of our residents can continue to enjoy the sweet hometown feel of our beautiful city!

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