Honolulu mayor proposes bill to regulate short-term rentals

HONOLULU (AP) — Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell proposed a bill Thursday that would allow homeowners to run bed-and-breakfast establishments in properties where they live, but ban non-owner transient vacation units in residential zones.

Caldwell hopes the bill will address the uptick in short-term rentals brought on by online platforms such as Airbnb.


New short-term rentals have been banned on Oahu since 1989.

Caldwell estimates that there about 10,000 short-term rentals on Oahu today, but only 800 are legal.

He hopes the bill will be fair to residents who are bothered by the impact short-term rentals have on their neighborhoods and homeowners who want a way to make extra money.

Transient vacation units are defined as dwellings rented out for less than 30 days while owners are away.

Bed-and-breakfast establishments are single-family homes rented out when owners are present.

The bill seeks to ban transient vacation units from residential zones except through a permit system in apartment, business, resort and mixed-use zones. Only 4,000 transient vacation units would be allowed island-wide, the city said.

Bed-and-breakfast establishments would be permitted in residential zones as well as apartment, resort and mixed-use zones in unlimited numbers as long as they meet the necessary requirements. They will be limited to two guest rooms and four guests.

Operators of both types of short-term rentals will need to present proof of a homeowner exemption in order to apply for permits and permit registration numbers from the city.

Along with taxes, the bill proposes initial registration fees of $1,200 for a transient vacation unit and $800 for a bed-and-breakfast with annual fees of $500 and $200, respectively.

Operators of illegal short-term rentals would be fined $25,000 a day for a first offense, $50,000 for a second offense and $100,000 for a third offense.


“Heavy, draconian type of fines (would) send a clear message to folks that they need to comply with the law,” Caldwell said.

The bill is headed to the Council and city Planning Commission for review.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email hawaiiwarriorworld@staradvertiser.com.