The city of Charleston has collected about $25,000 from violators of the its short-term rental ordinance since September, according to the Department of Tourism and Livability.
About half the money goes to the state, and the other half stays with the city.
The fines come from 23 violations at $1,087 apiece. About 62 cases are still pending, said Dan Riccio, the department's director. The backlog is due to the time of year, he said. The Thanksgiving holiday disrupted the Tourism and Livability Court's regular schedule.
The violations were split among 15 individuals. The majority only had one infraction.
Charleston City Council approved rules to regulate short-term rentals in April. Enforcement started several months later, and the first fines were issued in October.
As of last week, more than 800 online advertisements for short-term rentals in the Charleston area had been removed, Riccio said. The majority of the listings were voluntarily taken down by owners without being prompted, he said. Close to 200 of them were removed after city staff contacted the operators of the illegal listings with a warning letter.
Though Riccio said the majority of people have complied with enforcement, some short-term landlords have tried to evade the rules. One violator was fined, then called into court again after still leaving up a listing, he said. Others have repeatedly listed and unlisted properties at different times of the day in an effort to avoid detection.
"That doesn't work," Riccio said. "We can still see it."
Litany of lists
It's the time of year for lists, from catalogs of the year that was to checklists for the year ahead. Charleston, of course, is on many of them, taking top spots as a preferred travel destination.
Last week, the readers of AFAR Magazine named Charleston the "Best City" in the U.S. While the magazine gives nods to the "moss-draped oaks," "antebellum mansions" and "skyline punctuated by steeples," it credits Charleston's "people and their particular outlook on the world" for making the city its most desirable for 2019.
A recent Forbes list recommends Charleston as one of its 14 places to travel next year, and three of the 10 spots on travel site TripAdvisor's 2018 restaurant rankings went to downtown eateries Circa 1886, Halls Chophouse and Charleston Grill. And for a season-specific accolade, website RAVE Reviews named the Holy City as one of "America's 25 Most Festive Christmas Towns."
Charleston is for lovers, too, according to U.S. News and World Report, which named the city fifth on its ranking of the most romantic getaways for the year ahead. The magazine notes that the city is ideal for "foodie couples" and suggests a sunset harbor cruise to amp up the romance.
Amid all the accolades, Charleston also ranked on one less-than-positive list: the most stressful U.S. airports. The site InsureMyTrip compiled rankings based on the Bureau of Transportation Statistics' data on flight cancellation rates. LaGuardia in New York City had the highest rate, and Charleston International came in third.
Inn to suites
A shuttered Quality Inn in Summerville is being redeveloped as a Comfort Suites. The project, which is at 1005 Jockey Court, received final approval from the town's Commercial Design Review Board this fall. The plans include the 85-room, four-story hotel as well as an adjacent 5,000 square-foot office building.
Two other new lodgings have been proposed for Flowertown, an Avid Hotel and a Tru Hotel. Both would be on Holiday Drive.
Avid and Tru are relatively new brands that target younger travelers with affordable prices and an emphasis on technology. The first Avid property, which is part of the InterContinental Hotels Group, opened in Oklahoma City in August. Hilton introduced the Tru brand in 2016.