Hawaii Tourism Swings Wildly Again As Visitor Spend Up 67%

Hawaii Vacation Rental Squeeze As Crackdowns Occur Statewide

There is a squeeze on availability for Hawaii vacation rentals as the state and counties work to put an end to illegal operations by vacation rentals. On Kauai, the number of illegal rentals has dropped from perhaps 1,500 to under 50.

When Airbnb first started, it was meant to help visitors find low-cost accommodations, sometimes in neighborhoods that had no other places to stay and help homeowners with extra income. The idea of living like a local had its appeal. But that was then and now things have changed quite dramatically. Not only has Hawaii put brakes on this big time, but other cities have too across the country and the world.

A number of years ago we thought about one Airbnb in NYC, but then found out we would have to be very inconspicuous moving luggage in, always lying to people in the elevator and building about who we were, among other strange things. Instead, we ended up renting from a homeowner in the West Village who lived in a Town House and rented the lower floor. We have stayed at a similar rental in San Francisco too where the homeowner lived in his house full time and rented the lower level.

Kauai partners with Airbnb and VRBO to shut down non-compliant rentals.

The counties have developed relationships with vacation rental kingpins Airbnb and Vrbo/Expedia to accomplish this. On Kauai, those companies have pr0hibited rentals without officially approved transient vacation rental status. The companies also report to the county all rentals that are present on their websites for validation.

Kauai’s mayor said, “our successful collaboration with Expedia Group highlights what can be done when we work together to protect our community while welcoming responsible vacation owners and their guests.”

Vacation rental controversy on Maui.

A recent Maui County Council meeting had over 100 people speak passionately on the subject of vacation rentals. That as Maui is considering various measures to curb illegal rentals and perhaps reduce the number of visitors too.

Maui is contemplating a moratorium on adding any new vacation rentals, which bill is in committee. At the same time, there are nearly 7,500 rentals that are within apartment zoning areas, that may be phased out over time. A vote on that measure was postponed.

The community is divided on what approach to take if any. Some are concerned about how reducing the Maui travel industry can be sustained inasmuch as, at present, there is nothing to replace it. At the same time, others are concerned that there is no affordable housing available and it is virtually impossible for residents to find apartments.

Honolulu makes moves towards a wide-scale reduction of vacation rentals.

Recently the Honolulu Planning Commission approved measures to help reduce illegal vacation rentals. First up is the elimination of residential neighborhood-based vacation rentals in the hopes of creating more long-term rentals for residents. The way that will be accomplished is to change the way that short-term rentals are defined. Going forward, anything less than 6-months may be considered short-term, instead of the previous definition of 1-month.

In an interesting comment, we were just told, “I own a condo on Oahu. Legally, I can get around this by renting for 30 days or more. If they only want to stay for two weeks, they still have to pay me for the month. My rate is still cheaper than a hotel. The catch is on my end. To be legal, I can’t rent to anyone else until the 30 day period is up. Other than that, no problems. I would still have to collect the TAT tax, just like everyone else.”

Do your research before booking.

If you are planning to use Airbnb or VRBO, check what the city policies are before renting. Remember too that if you go with a professional vacation rental company, who many times put their listings on Airbnb and VRBO, you give yourself extra protection for any problems that might occur.

What have your experiences been? Do you agree with tighter controls on illegal rentals?



37 thoughts on “Hawaii Vacation Rental Squeeze As Crackdowns Occur Statewide”

  1. Florida…That’s where I’m heading from now on. Gov. DeSantis gets it and he’s a great leader for the state. I love Hawaii BUT its over for me. Good luck with the nonsense. Florida welcomes me with open arms and values my hard earned dollars!


Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top