City to stop enforcing vacation rentals law at Waikiki tower whose owners sued

(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
Published: Oct. 23, 2019 at 5:12 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The city has agreed to stop enforcing the new vacation rentals law on a Waikiki condo tower that it previously accused of having hundreds of illegal rentals.

Owners in the Waikiki Banyan were informed by their condo association that it could be two to three years until the city will enforce the law on their units ― most of which have been operating essentially as hotel rooms for years.

The condo association sued the city after Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed Bill 89 into law.

The measure set up a tougher enforcement system for vacation rentals, including a nearly islandwide ban and heavy fines for advertising online.

The Banyan is on a mauka corner on Kuhio Avenue, which puts it outside the resort district where short-term vacation rentals remain legal.

The city confirmed that it has agreed to let short-term rental owners in the Banyan continue to do business while the case is litigated, first in a city appeal process and then potentially back to court.

A number of owners in the Banyan had received violation notices from the city, which the city will withdraw. The city apparently still considers the daily rentals illegal and did not explain why it decided to stop enforcing on the building.

There are several other similar condos in and around Waikiki that have many short-term rental units.

In a letter, the president of the Waikiki Banyan told unit owners that “for the near future ... all Waikiki Banyan owners are now free to continue with short-term rentals, without fear of violations or fines while the stay is in effect.”

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