Oahu illegal rentals drop after short-term rental law OKed

August 7, 2019 GMT

HONOLULU (AP) — The number of illegal rentals on Oahu has dropped sharply since Honolulu passed a law targeting short-term vacation rentals, officials said.

Honolulu officials say the number of unpermitted vacation rentals listed online has dropped from about 5,000 to 3,000, news organizations reported Tuesday.

The law that went into effect Aug. 1 bans renting or advertising unpermitted short-term rental units outside a resort district. The law also increases fines for renting or advertising the units from $1,000 per day to a maximum of $10,000 per day.

The Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting first began notifying owners of unpermitted rentals in July, officials said.


The first violation notices could be issued as early as this week, said department acting director Kathy Sokugawa.

The department is “investigating a couple hundred violations right now,” Mayor Kirk Caldwell said Tuesday.

The Hawaii Vacation Rental Owners Association has sued the city, saying the ordinance will prevent advertisement of vacation rentals even if they are legal. Also known as the Kokua Coalition, the association said it reached a settlement agreement with the city allowing it to continue 30-day rental agreements.

“I don’t want anyone out there with an illegal vacation rental to think that because of this lawsuit and lawsuits out there that the city and county is not going to enforce the laws,” Caldwell said.

The law will take an economic toll on vacation rental owners and businesses that rely on them, said Paul Mayer, whose firm manages dozens of legal vacation rentals.

“There’s going to be a lot of pain for those folks,” Mayer said.