ROCK HILL, S.C. — On Monday, Rock Hill City Council votes on a six-month moratorium on new permits for short-term rentals like Airbnb. Council said it needs this time to review the ordinance amidst explosive growth in the city.
For Tom Hutto, running short-term rentals is a family business. He has eight properties in Rock Hill – his daughters help clean, his wife decorates, and he fixes things up.
“I’d rather be a host than a landlord, and I can entertain people from all over the country," Hutto said.
Hutto said his properties in Rock Hill have an 85% occupancy rate. He said the business has turned into a family business he wants to protect, especially since, according to Hutto, it has caused no problems in the city.
“[It's] a great need. I mean people coming into town to see their grandkids, people that just sold their house and looking to buy a new house," Hutto said. "We’ve had no incidents out of 51 permit holders in Rock Hill and over 7,000 last year.
In February, Rock Hill City Council put a pause on issuing or renewing short-term rental permits. A few weeks later, it started allowing renewals as long as the permit holder didn’t have more than three complaints on its properties.
“We’re not trying to outlaw short-term rentals," councilmember Kevin Sutton said. "We’re just trying to make the process better. Specifically, for me, it is protecting the neighbors in a 40, 50, 60-year-old neighborhood that don’t have an HOA.”
According to Sutton, in the last few years, the city has tried to regulate the industry but as new issues come up, he believes it needs time to take another look.
“One of the concerns you have is people like to know who their neighbors are and so if you are living beside a short-term rental, you don’t know who is living there day to day," Sutton said.
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If the resolution passes Monday night, the moratorium on new permits will extend six months for another six months. It was first enacted in February.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the City of Rock Hill said:
"The pause on new short-term rental applications has been in effect since February 14, 2022. Originally it applied to both new permits and renewals, but was amended on March 28, 2022 to say short-term permit renewals could be granted during the moratorium, but still pauses new permits. Second reading memorializing that amendment is what’s on the agenda for tonight. The pause is to give Planning & Development and City Council time to propose some changes to the process for issuing permits to ensure neighborhoods have a good means to share concerns."