New Short-Term Rental Ordinance in North Myrtle Beach

NOVEMBER 1, 2018

- Gregory Snow October 22, 2018

- Approved as submitted by Patrick Dowling, Public Information Officer, City of North Myrtle Beach

“Short-Term Rental” in North Myrtle Beach

North Myrtle Beach has passed an ordinance defining short-term rentals and sleeping areas.

  • Short-Term Rental: Any residential unit offered for lease for a period of 90 days or less.
  • Sleeping Area: a sleeping area is any room (including bedrooms) that is NOT a kitchen, a hallway not exceeding seven feet in width, a mechanical room designed primarily for containing HVAC equipment or hot water heaters or electrical panels or similar, a bathroom, a closet not exceeding 70 square feet in size, or an elevator or stairwell.

The primary reason for creating these definitions is for the city to have a tool for more effectively managing weekly rentals. There have been instances of residential homes being equipped with sleeper sofas in media rooms, game rooms, living rooms, and other non-bedrooms, often resulting in even smaller homes being rented to 25-30 people, with corresponding parking deficits.

For example, my 3-bedroom house could easily support 8 sleeping areas. I could provide 2 parking spaces in my garage, 4 stacked tightly in my driveway, and 2 on the street. If one sleeping area can support two occupants, then I could rent my residence to about 16 people every weekend. This is the “fraternity central” experience NMB is trying to protect its residential districts from.

Accommodation tax has not changed and continues to be due as before, but now “Short-Term Rental” can be used in the definition of what requires payment of accommodation taxes. The city has some hopes this will help in the prevention of accommodation tax evasion.

As of yet, the city has made no use of these definitions but is considering how to apply them in the Ordinances.

The thoughts discussed at a recent city workshop were:

  • Require a minimum of one parking space per sleeping area in the zoning ordinance. Offsite parking will need to be provided if not available on site. Further, stacked parking (blocked in spots) may be used to fulfil this requirement.
  • An important decision yet to be reached is the maximum number of sleeping areas that will be permitted in lower density zoning districts such as R-1, R-1A, R-2, etc. Some industry representatives are asking for the number to be 13 sleeping areas, claiming that their most profitable rentals consist of five full bedrooms and a number of amenity rooms such as media and game rooms, offices, dens and the like.
  • Require rental listings to show the number of sleeping areas.
  • Require signage to be posted with contact information for NMB Public Safety and for the rental management company or owner, along with the number of approved sleeping areas.

The city anticipates using the zoning ordinance with these new definitions to better manage short-term rental activity in the residential districts. Barefoot Resort is zoned PDD so we are afforded the flexibility of using the PDD approval process to define our own property uses. Barefoot could choose to implement new policies based on these definitions, but otherwise Barefoot land use restrictions will remain unchanged.

The primary impact to Barefoot Properties may be a future requirement to specify the number of sleeping areas on the rental property listings and provide a rental contact (name and cell number) to the city.