Mayor signs bill banning short-term vacation rentals outside of resort areas

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi signed a bill Tuesday banning short-term vacation rentals outside of resort areas on Oahu.
Published: Apr. 26, 2022 at 5:58 AM HST|Updated: Apr. 26, 2022 at 4:23 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi signed a bill Tuesday banning short-term vacation rentals outside of resort areas on Oahu.

“This is about taking back our neighborhoods,” Blangiardi said, at a news conference in Kailua. “Everybody saw this was the right thing to do.

The city estimates that there are between 10,000 and 14,000 short-term rentals on Oahu.

“Many of these rentals have been operating illegally, affecting speculation of residential homes, disturbing sleeping families with noise, taking up already limited street parking and likely affecting our housing stock,” said city Councilmember Esther Kiaaina.

The bill also redefines short-term rentals from the current 30 days or less to 180 days or less, creates an enforcement team to police violations and increases the fines to up to $1,000 a day.

The measure did face intense opposition from rental owners.

Industry leaders says it will destroy the legal vacation rental business and will decrease the supply of housing not increase it.

“In my opinion it will push people who need short-term housing into the local-term market. It will actually reduce the supply of long-term housing available,” said Jenny Kono, property manager at Elite Pacific Properties, which specialized in legal vacation rentals.

Despite that, the bill was approved by the Honolulu City Council earlier this month.

Blangiardi said he believes the bill is necessary because the number of visitors who stay in short-term, illegal rental units creates too much pressure on neighborhoods.

Bill 41 will limit vacation rentals to certain areas, including Ko Olina, Turtle Bay, Makaha and parts of Waikiki. On-street parking will also be banned for vacation rentals in certain areas.

The new rules will go into effect 180 days after the bill is signed.

Tourism officials have backed the measure, saying the problem of illegal rentals has gotten out of control.

“This huge growth in the visitor industry took place at a time when there was hardly any growth in the amount of legal accommodations. So all of this growth took place in illegal vacation units,” said Rick Egged, president of the Waikiki Improvement Association.

“As a community, it was imperative that we get illegal vacation rentals under control.”

This story will be updated.

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