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Rental registrations help SC cities track landlords

Several cities across the state have passed rental property registration ordinances, according to Scott Slatton, legislative and public policy advocate with the Municipal Association of South Carolina.

By Allison M. Roberts allison.roberts@shj.com
Several cities across the state have passed rental property registration ordinances, according to Scott Slatton, legislative and public policy advocate with the Municipal Association of South Carolina.

Clemson, seen as a leader in this area, has an ordinance that requires rental property owners of single-family homes, duplexes and townhouses to register their properties with the city.

Columbia recently passed a very similar ordinance. Slatton said it is being used “to build a database and help the city find someone who is accountable when problems are discovered or complaints are filed with the city.”

There are no similar ordinances in Spartanburg, though some City Council members have expressed interest in adopting one.

Under Clemson’s ordinance, rental property owners must:

•Hold a current rental permit issued by the city of Clemson for any residential housing units owned. All rental property must pass inspection before the permit can be issued.

•Schedule a yearly inspection of the property with the city.

•Have a designated person in charge who lives or has an office within 75 miles of the city of Clemson. The person in charge is responsible for maintaining rental units under their control in compliance with city codes and liable for occupancy violations within rental residences.

•Any violations of occupancy regulations “shall be grounds for declaring the rental a nuisance property and a suspension hearing date will be established by City Council within 60 days of the offense.”

•City Council has the right to revoke the rental license and prevent the property owner from renting in Clemson.

Under Columbia’s ordinance, rental property owners must:

•Hold a current rental permit issued by the city of Columbia. All rental property must meet minimum code requirements before the permit is issued. A separate permit must be obtained for each property.

•Have a designated person in charge who lives or has an office within 45 miles of the city of Columbia. The person in charge is responsible for maintaining rental units under their control in compliance with city codes and liable for occupancy violations within rental residences.

•Rental units accumulate violations on a point basis. Accumulation of 15 points in a year or failure to comply with requirements will cause revocation of the permit.

The city of Woodruff has a slightly different ordinance pertaining to rental property. The ordinance treats rental property as a business and requires owners to:

•Have a permit for each business (rental property) in the city of Woodruff.

•Display the permit at each business (rental property) owned.

•Register each business.

•Owners who violate the city’s requirements are subject to a $500 fine or imprisonment for not more than 30 days or both.

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