Settlement progress reported in legal challenges to vacation rental law

City closer to settling legal challenges to new vacation rental law

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The city and vacation rental operators say they’re close to resolving many of the legal challenges to the new vacation rental law.

The Hawaii Vacation Rental Owners Association, also known as the Kokua Coalition, sued the city on Aug. 1, saying the new law could allow the city go after operators of legal vacation rentals.

Currently, vacation rentals of 30 days or more are allowed. But the suit said the new law could require guests to remain in that unit for the full 30 days.

In court Thursday, both the city and the coalition agreed that that’s not what the law intended.

“The city has acknowledged there is no requirement in the law that the guest actually occupy for 30 days," said Greg Kugle, attorney for the Kokua Coalition.

“That would be impossible for any landlord to lock the doors and lock somebody in the unit.”

Added Brad Saito, deputy corporation counsel: “I think a lot of the dispute in court today centered around a misunderstanding of what the new ordinance actually said and how the city would be enforcing that ordinance."

Both sides also agreed that the new law gives vacation rental operators the right to appeal if they are cited.

But there’s still some dispute over the law’s requirement that hosting platforms like AirBNB and VRBO have to turn over information about people who advertise their vacation rentals.

That part of the law doesn’t take effect until October of next year.

Copyright 2019 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.