To Rent, Or Not To Rent?

by Roseann Freitas | Jul 30, 2019 8:20:49 AM

Vacations
should be relaxing and full of fun. After all, we all need them, need the
break, need the time away to clear out the cobwebs. Maybe you decide to book a
once-in-a-lifetime trip through a vacation hosting platform such as Airbnb,
Vrbo, Expedia, or HomeAway. It’s a fantastic Oahu location, a bed and
breakfast, giving you that authentic experience. If you’ve read any news from
Hawaii, you might know there are issues with rentals, but could that really
affect your vacation? Yeah, maybe – so read on.

That’s
because of the thousands of vacation rentals on Oahu, many of them operate
illegally. And starting this fall, Oahu is seriously stepping up its
enforcement activity for violators. And it could mean, for renters of such
properties, they will be left out in the cold – literally.

On June 25,
2019, Mayor Kurt Caldwell, of City and County of Honolulu, signed Bill 89
addressing illegal, short-term, vacation rentals on Oahu.  Honolulu County (Oahu) has zoned areas for
tourism that include Waikiki, Ko’olina, and Turtle Bay, where rentals for less
than 30-days, are allowed.   Outside of
these three zoned areas, Oahu has only 816 legal, permitted, vacation rental
units.  But the City & County of
Honolulu estimates there are 8,000 – 10,000 illegal rentals currently in
operation.

 Bill 89 authorizes Honolulu County to: 

  • Limit bed and breakfast permits to no more than 1,700 outside of the
    three areas zoned for tourism 
  • Regulate all vacation hosting platforms 
  • Outlaw advertising of non-permitted (illegal) units    
  • Maintain bans on permits for transient vacation units (whole home).

How will a
vacationer know if the rental is licensed? 
For locations outside of tourism-zoned areas, a legal rental will have a
Nonconforming Use Certificate (NUC).  The
other state requirements are a GET Tax license and a Transient Accommodation
Tax number. 

Starting
October 1, 2020, registration will begin for one of the available 1,700
permits.  

 Starting August 1, 2019, advertising a
non-permitted short-term rental will be illegal and punishable by fines from
$1,000 - $10,000.  

Vacation
hosting platforms will be required to send monthly reports to Honolulu’s
Department of Permit and Planning.

 The state of Hawaii is made up of the
following counties: Hawaii, Honolulu, Kauai, and Maui, and each one has its own
laws concerning short-term vacation rentals.   

 How this will play out in the next few months
and years is unknown; so if you have a vacation planned to Oahu coming up and
are staying in a vacation rental, take the time now to verify it’s legal so
there are no surprises down the road.

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