Home Accessories Charleston seeks to deregulate secondary suites to tackle affordable housing

Charleston seeks to deregulate secondary suites to tackle affordable housing

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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) – The City of Charleston is considering deregulating one type of building to meet its need for affordable housing and to get more homes built in the city.

Charleston City Councilman Ross Appel says if more secondary suites are built and put on the market, housing prices will come down.

Accessory living units are often referred to as carriage houses or mother-in-law’s suites, a structure built into the backyards of homes.

Appel says the city wants to eliminate red tape, so more of these structures in the backyards of existing homes are being built. The hope is that house prices will fall due to the additional supply.

The city is considering scrapping a rule that requires such buildings to be affordable for 30 years, which Appel said has been a roadblock for developers and landlords.

However, if an ADU is built with the help of a city grant, the 30-year affordability mandate remains in place.

“We don’t want people to be artificially limited in terms of what they can charge,” Appel said. “The affordability requirement was a well-intentioned measure, but in fact it’s been in effect for a year and a half, and we haven’t had a single secondary suite allowed since that time.”

Also, with this change, neither the house nor the ADU can be used as a short-term rental.

This change to the ordinance for these buildings will go to first reading at Tuesday’s council meeting.

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