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City cracks down on peer-to-peer car rentals clogging residential neighborhoods

With the shortage in rental cars, residents have been turning to renting out their cars using...
With the shortage in rental cars, residents have been turning to renting out their cars using peer-to-peer sharing on apps like Turo.(Hawaii News Now)
Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 9:38 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 30, 2021 at 4:11 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - With the shortage in rental cars, residents have been turning to renting out their cars using peer-to-peer sharing on apps like Turo.

But some neighborhoods are seeing a proliferation of vehicles taking up parking on side streets — and the city is cracking down.

A Waialae-Kahala neighborhood got a surprise when a new tenant rented a house last October.

“At first it just seemed odd that they were bringing all these strange cars in, but then when it was like seven or eight to 10 Jeeps, that’s when we started to be like, this is odd,” said a resident, Lela Joseph.

The city’s Permitting and Planning Department says a car rental business is allowed in residential areas as a “household occupation” — but no more than two vehicles are allowed. Also, the vehicles must be parked on property and cannot be parked on the street.

The department said it has received six complaints so far and has issued notices of violation to three properties — including the home in Waialae-Kahala, which the city says was advertising 15 vehicles for rent.

Neighbors said those vehicles — mostly Jeeps — were parked on their street, with customers coming day and night to pick them up.

“The breaking point came when their customers were waiting around on our property, asking my husband for help with the Jeeps because the owners weren’t around,” said Joseph, who complained to Turo.

The advocacy group HI Good Neighbor said it’s a situation they’re hearing about more and more.

“With the proliferation of Turo, we find that congestion on our side streets as people try to find parking just keeps getting worse and worse and worse,” said Tyler Dos Santos-Tam of HI Good Neighbor.

Only two Jeeps were parked in the garage at the home Thursday afternoon, but neighbors contend that several others are being parked elsewhere to avoid violations.

The city said it will respond to complaints.

“It is up to the neighbors, though, to be vigilant, and if there’s something that doesn’t seem quite right, please, do call it in, because I think the city is interested in making sure that it gets investigated,” said Dos Santos-Tam.

Joseph said she and her neighbors don’t have anything against residents who are renting out a car or two during the rental car shortage. But they have issues for those who are cashing in and causing headaches for their neighbors.

“It feels like they’re taking advantage of a system that they shouldn’t be able to,” said Joseph.

To contact the Permitting and Planning Department, call (808) 768-8259.

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