Maui expecting list of illegal vacation rentals this month
WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) — Maui officials are expecting better results on cracking down on illegal vacation rentals with the help of a Colorado-based company hired to root out noncompliant properties.
The county Planning Department is expecting to receive the first list of potentially illegal operators by the end of the month from LODGINGRevs, the company hired earlier this year, The Maui News reported Sunday.
The department has usually found illegal short-term rentals through online advertisements, but operators have sometimes used workarounds to hide the properties from regulators, Planning Director Michele McLean said.
“Some only put their ads up after our business hours or on weekends when we don’t have our inspectors on duty,” McLean said. “Some of them put up ads that cannot be viewed by Hawaii IP addresses.”
Rental operators found in violation will first be issued a warning, giving them seven days to shut down. The cases are closed if officials cannot find evidence of continuing operations.
If evidence is found, violation notices will be sent, leading to a $1,000 initial fine and $1,000 for every day of violation, McLean said.
“The situation in general is, if we can’t continue to find those ads, it’s hard for us to confirm that they are still operating,” McLean said. “That’s why this contract is going to be so helpful, because that’s one of the things they will do. They will continue to monitor those properties to see if those ads go back up.”
The company can find the properties by extracting data from photographs and can overcome issues that the department has faced like ads that blocked Hawaii IP addresses, McLean said.
Officials are “expecting to get a couple thousand identified properties” when the county receives the first list later this month, McLean said.
The county’s contract with the company is for a year, but it could be extended depending on the success of its efforts.
Information from: The Maui News, http://www.mauinews.com