Short-Term Rentals

Short-term rentals, sometimes called vacation rentals, are usually furnished rooms, apartments, condos, or houses that are rented out for short period of time (say, a couple of days or a week). Many people are familiar with companies that host these rentals such as Airbnb or VRBO, but short-term rentals can take many forms. They are different than hotels or apartments in that they are usually private property rented out for less than 30 days.

The revised Burke County Zoning Ordinance, adopted June 15, 2021, included a new section for the regulation of short-term rentals within the County. This regulation does not apply to hotels, motels, inns, or bed & breakfast establishments which are regulated separately.

In Burke County, short-term rentals have been divided into (2) two classifications:

  • Owner Occupied Short-Term Rentals, which are rentals of rooms where the property owner resides on site for a minimum of 275 days per calendar year
  • Dedicated Short-Term Rentals, in which the property owner does not reside on the property and the entire dwelling is for rent.

Anyone conducting a short-term rental within the county has one year from the date of the ordinance adoption to apply for and obtain a permit for the operation of their short-term rental. The deadline date is June 15, 2022. 

To obtain a permit for a short-term rental, please fill out the application form and return it to the Community Development Department. Applications can be submitted:

By mail to Burke County Community Development, Attn: STR, PO Box 219, Morganton, NC 28680

In person at 110 North Green Street, Suite C, 1st Floor, Morganton, NC 28655

Or by completing the online application form at this link.

Short-term rentals in the Lake Overlay at Lake James, Lake Rhodhiss, and along the Catawba River, by ordinance, are required to obtain a Special Use Permit before being issued their short-term rental permit.

For questions and additional information, please contact Bradley Kirkley, Burke County Zoning Administrator at 828-764-9036 or or Jennifer Forney, Burke County Planner at 828-764-9037 or

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