Short-Term Rental Ordinance Frequently Asked Questions

Short-Term Rental Permits

Yes. The Short-term rental permit is separate from the annual business license.

This is a new requirement per the Town's new short-term rental ordinance.

Every owner must obtain a short-term rental permit in addition to the business license

Property owners will receive correspondence from GovOS/Town of Hilton Head Island with account information and instructions on how to apply.

The web portal will be live and available to accept applications for those that have received their account information letter on January 3, 2023.

Visit the Short-Term Rental Portal

Short-term rental permits are non-refundable.

To obtain a short-term rental permit, the owner will need to submit an application form with information about the property.

The owner will need to affirm on the application form that their property meets the regulations in the Ordinance.

The contact information of the property owner and management company can be updated, but the permit itself cannot be transferred to a different property or a different property owner.

Short-term rental permits are non-refundable.

  • The fee is limited to recovering costs associated with identifying short-term rental properties, ensuring compliance with permitting requirements, and addressing violations.
  • Town Council will determine the annual fee during the annual budget ordinance.
  • 2023 Short-Term Rental permit fee is $250 for each property offered for short-term rental.

Yes. A short-term rental permit is different than a business license. A business license is required to operate a short-term rental.

Learn More about a Business License

Short-Term Rental Permit Renewals

Permits are good for the calendar year, therefore the 2023 permit expires December 31, 2023.

You will need your GovOS STR permit number

You may contact Town Staff at 843-341-4740 or GovOS at 1-888-751-1911

Any single family or villa/condo owner who is renting their property short-term (less than (30) days) in 2024

Yes, if you have rented your property in 2023, you will need to obtain the 2023 prior to completing the 2024 renewal.

You will need to complete the 2024 short-term rental application and obtain the 2024 permit.

he annual busiiness license does not expire until April 30, 2024. You will receive instructions and a 2024 business license renewal form from that office in January 2024.

The Short-Term Rental Ordinance

Town Council passed an ordinance regulating how short-term rentals will operate on Hilton Head Island on May 17, 2022.

The ordinance applies to privately owned residential properties rented to visitors for less than 30 days.

Read the Short-Term Rental Ordinance

As a resort area, Hilton Head Island has numerous short-term rental units. The lack of a short-term rental Ordinance has led to an imbalance between residential and resort districts and the elimination of some long-term single-family neighborhoods.

The adopted ordinance facilitates the management of short-term rental impacts on our neighborhoods, economy, housing stock, public facilities, and the quality of life of our residents and experiences of our visitors.

The Short-Term Rental Ordinance defines short-term as less than 30 days and applies to all condominiums, villas, and single-family dwellings.

It does not apply to timeshares or hotels.

The Town does not restrict the location of short-term rentals. Private homeowners' associations and property owners' associations may restrict or prohibit short-term rentals.

While most short-term rentals are concentrated near the beach and other traditional tourist areas, they are located throughout the Island. A map showing the distribution of short-term rentals on the south end of the Island was included in the May 3, 2022, Town Council meeting agenda materials.

View the Town Council May 3, 2022 Agenda Package

Town staff estimates that approximately 10,000 units are offered as a short-term rental at some point during a calendar year, which is approximately one-third of the residential units within Town limits.

Yes. Town staff estimates that the number of short-term rentals has increased by at least 30 percent between July 2019 and January 2022. Town staff will continue to monitor trends in short-term rentals using business license data and a short-term rental monitoring and compliance service.

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About the Ordinance

The ordinance addresses short-term rental related:

  • Permits
  • Vehicles and parking
  • Noise management
  • Violations
  • Complaint tracking and response
  • Trash storage and removal

The ordinance establishes the assessment of an annual fee for short-term rental permits. The fee is limited to recovering costs associated with identifying short-term rental properties, ensuring compliance with permitting requirements, and addressing violations.

The property owner can designate any person or business to act as their agent, assuming they agree to and can meet the requirements in the Ordinance.

No. However, the Ordinance does require that the quantity of parking spaces available is designated. Each designated parking space must be on an improved surface and be at least 9x18 feet in size.

An owner or their agent does not necessarily always have to be on-site within an hour of receiving a complaint.

An owner or their agent may initially respond to a complaint by contacting the guest by telephone, by text, in person, or using another form of communication to request the guest take such action as is required to eliminate the problem that was the subject of the complaint.

Aside from contacting the guest, taking other responsive action may also require the owner or their agent to visit the property if such action is necessary to attempt in good faith to eliminate the problem that was the subject of the complaint.

All properties within the Town's limits would be subject to the Short-Term Rental Ordinance.

View the Town Limits Map

Though the Town's code enforcement services may in some cases overlap with the security services provided by a gated community, the Town ensures all short-term rentals meet licensing requirements and provides enforcement services for all short-term rental properties. The Town can also take enforcement actions, such as revoking the short-term rental permit, to address short-term rental properties that become nuisances

If you rent your property for less than 30 days, the Ordinance would apply to your property, regardless of the total number of days per year or the number of times per year that you rent the property.

The Ordinance, which applies to privately owned residential property used as vacation homes and short-term rentals for a rental period of less than 30 days, goes into effect on January 3, 2023.

We are now accepting short-term renatal permit applications.

Short-Term Rental Monitoring, Complaints, & Compliance

The Town has contracted with GovOS to identify , monitor, and permit short-term rentals properties.

The Town has contracted with GovOS to establish a 24 hour a day hotline and an online portal to receive complaints and route them to the point of contact listed by the owner on the short-term rental permit.

The Hotline and online portal will be open January 3, 2023.

Short-Term Rental Hotline

Submit a Complaint Online

No. The purpose of the Ordinance is to create a short-term rental program that establishes expectations for all short-term rental properties within the Town.

Complaints that are resolved between the complainant, the owner or their agent, and their guests will not require further investigation or action by the Town.

In the case that complaints are not resolved, Town staff will provide education to non-compliant owners, their agents, and their guests to ensure they have the opportunity to resolve issues voluntarily.

The Town will work with the complaint hotline and portal contractor to resolve issues with repeated, unfounded complaints.

If the Town is aware of a complaint that hasn't been resolved, Town staff will discuss the complaint with the owner and their agent to determine what steps have been taken to resolve the issue. Town staff will use reason and good judgement in assessing the complaint and the efforts taken by the owner and their agent to resolve it.

Contact Info

Rental Property Nuisance Complaints

Report issues with parking, trash, or noise

  • Short-Term Rental Nuisance Management Hotline
  • 843-341-6864Available 24/7
  • Beaufort County Sheriff's Office
  • 843-255-3300
  • Evening: 843-524-7777

Complaints received online will be reviewed during normal business hours

Submit a Complaint Online

Application & Account Support

Town Staff

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