Featured Image Credit: carolinaonerealestate.com
Charleston is known as a city of rich history and undisputed beauty. From the cobblestone streets to the hundred year old buildings, the continued preservation of the low country feeling is one of the many reasons Charleston is what it is. As the city continues to grow both physically and fiscally, the short-term rental market is infiltrating communities all over Charleston and although very popular, there are hidden costs to this industry that has sprung up out, seemingly of nowhere.
For starters, short-term rentals aren’t just for the common property owner anymore. What began as a software system for homeowners to make a couple extra dollars on a spare bedroom has turned into Big Businesses in just a couple of years.
Corporate entities have been buying up property all over town with no intention of ever living in the space. Their aim – to put up for rental, which can quickly throw off the balance and charm many communities have developed. The more people that are hoping they can make a profit off short-term rentals are ironically hurting the system the most.
The rising interest drives by corporate homebuyers drives up the cost of living in Charleston – often drastically, to a point where only big money players can afford to buy homes.
Short-term rental sites like VRBO, Homeaway, and Airbnb specifically, are being dominated by the people who really know what they’re doing in the short-term market, not the people who want to make some extra cash, which is a common misconception.
To be fair, it’s not your average homeowner mucking up the system. But for them too, there could be unintended consequences. Standard homeowners insurance policies are specifically designated for personal risks, not commercial, therefore, an incidents that occurs in a short-term rental can easily fall on the shoulders of the property owner, which can cost some serious coin.
So Big Business wins and the average homeowner suffers, but forgotten in this debate is the damage to our community itself. From crime to noise, to disrespect and ransacking, these are just a few more of the risks associated with these short-term rentals. Not for nothing, these issues have just as much of an effect on the surrounding residents as it does the lessor. In addition, if finding parking wasn’t already hard enough, short-term renters will further add to the chaos between the white lines. Short-term rentals are thinning out the communities of Charleston and are negatively affecting full time resident lifestyles.
At first glance these short-term rentals seem like a cool new thing, but it requires proper regulation that matches the big business industry it has become. Charleston has too much to offer for it to be hindered by the short-term rental market.