Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Vacation Rental Enforcement Bill on Oahu

Oahu, photo by Dianne Smith

Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle’s proposed legislation against the vacation rental industry fell short by one vote, after heated debate during two public hearings in August 2011. His Bill to Amend #21 required five votes to pass, but results were four yea's and three no's, so the Planning Commission is allowed to take another vote. No further testimony will be heard on the issue, but votes will be recast 1:30 pm on September 7, 2011, at Mission Memorial Hearings Room, 550 South King Street, Honolulu. If the Amendment fails to pass, the Commission will send it to the Honolulu City Council without a recommendation.

Planning Commission’s Second Vote on Vacation Rental Enforcement Bill

The controversial amendment drew over 300 people on August 10, 2011, with the majority opposing the harsh enforcement. Fines of $1,000 or more and jail time are potentially in store for people in residential areas who open their homes to paying visitors. Since 2009 the vacation rentals have been denied a permitting process and stigmatized as "illegal," so many have gone underground. Enforcement of the vacation rental ban has been difficult, so the proposed Amendment was calling for the rentals to identify themselves in all advertising with their addresses and legal permit numbers.

Proponents for the Amendment argue that listing the information is similar to the requirement for contractors to list their license numbers on advertising, however, contractors don't list their home addresses or the fact that their properties may be vacant, inviting criminal activity. This identification would expose the properties to theft and vandalism, especially with internet advertising. 

The Hawaii Vacation Rental Owner Association (HVROA) urges everyone who hopes for the amendment's defeat to attend the meeting on September 7. They note that the Mayor, Councilmembers and news media pay attention to large numbers. HVROA wants their industry to receive legal permits or certificates to operate, especially since they are of the majority opinion.

Read more:



Kubota, Gary. "Votes Fall Short on Vacation Rental Statute" Honolulu Star Advertiser. August 25, 2011

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