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Short-term rentals

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July update

On Wednesday, July 12, the Wilmington Planning Commission will hold a work session to discuss short-term rentals. The meeting will be held in City Council chambers beginning at 4 p.m. Although the meeting will be open to the public, a public hearing will not be held and no actions are expected at the meeting. This will be a follow up to the work session the Planning Commission held last month to discuss materials recently presented to City Council. 

June update

At the direction of the City Manager, staff has reviewed existing code and researched benchmark cities for current practices related to short-term rentals. Short-term rentals fall into several categories, ranging from the rental of a single bedroom, to several bedrooms, to an entire home. The level of supervision of the property also varies, depending on the situation. Read more

The Wilmington Planning Commission held a work session on Wednesday, June 7 to discuss staff research and draft regulations regarding short-term rentals.

May 15 Presentation 

View below a summary of the draft regulations on short-term rentals that were presented on May 15. Staff will amend these regulations as directed and bring a revised version to the Planning Commission for a public hearing at a date to be determined. 

April 17 Presentation

During their agenda briefing on April 17, 2017, the Wilmington City Council heard an update from staff of the results of a public input meeting on potential changes to short-term lodging regulations held on Tuesday, Mar. 14.


Below is some information resulting from the March 14 public input meeting:

February 20 presentation 

At the City Council work session on Feb. 20, staff presented options related to potential regulations for short-term lodging, both for “homestay” (rental of a bedroom, with the home occupied by primary resident) and “short-term rentals” (a whole-house rental in which the primary resident is not present during the rental period).

  • In residential districts, homestays would be regulated similar to bed & breakfasts, with a primary resident on site during the rental period, and a separation distance required between establishments. 
  • Council was presented with two alternatives for short-term lodging:
  1. to allow rentals only during designated events, such as Azalea Festival and Riverfest, OR
  2. to allow rentals up to 30 days per calendar year.
  • In commercial districts, homestays, bed & breakfasts, and whole-house rentals would be permitted in the same districts where hotels/motels are permitted. 
  • As with bed & breakfast inns, the primary resident of homestays and whole house rentals in any zoning district would need to register annually with the city. 

No decisions regarding short-term rentals have been considered at this point.

Council directed staff to get additional public input before finalizing recommendations. Any recommendations will have to be considered by both the Planning Commission and City Council.  

 November 18, 2016 presentation

Council heard an update on this issue at their Nov. 18, 2016 budget retreat. See the attachments below for more detail.

October 3, 2016 presentation

 A brief report was presented to City Council on Monday, October 3.See the links below for details

Audio and slides from October 3 discussion



Like communities across the state and nation, the City of Wilmington is considering the best way to handle short-term rentals, an issue that has emerged recently with the increased use of short-term rental websites by travelers who want alternative accommodations for lodging.

Short-term rentals are not directly addressed in the City’s Land Development Code (LDC) so the city is currently using related regulations that are in the code. This means that right now, a home or single room of a home, must be rented out for at least seven days and have no more than three unrelated people staying there.

A brief report was presented to City Council on Monday, June 20. After discussion of the various issues brought up in the attachments below, it was determined that staff will hold another public input session and provide a framework for addressing the many issues outline in the presentation. No specific dates have been set but we will inform you as the process is determined in the coming weeks.

June 20 presentation

June 20 handout

Audio from June 20 discussion


Below is the information received from the March public input meeting and online survey. This information was compiled and presented to City Council on May 2. 

May 2 presentation

Input Summary

Survey results from the public meeting

Comments from the public meeting

Online Survey Results

If you have further questions, please call 910-341-4661

View the Short-term Rentals Benchmarking and Key Issues Report

View the presentation from the March 17 meeting

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