Study: Fewer vacation rental units available on Oahu

HONOLULU (AP) — A study shows the number of residential vacation rentals on Oahu has decreased by more than 13% since legislation was enforced against illegal short-term rentals, a Hawaii tourism agency said.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority released the latest monthly study this week.

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Vacation rental units in Oahu fell from about 274,900 in August to about 237,300 in December, according to the study.

The study suggests legislation has successfully started to crack down on illegal short-term rentals, an intentional goal by City Council and Mayor Kirk Caldwell when legislation was adopted in June, agency officials said.

The city has issued 298 vacation rental violation notices since enforcing new regulations in August, officials said.

“It’s still a very fluid situation as far as the market adjusts to the new enforcement,” said Erik Kloninger, of Kloninger and Sims, which partnered with Transparence Intelligence to gather data for the study.

The study is based on rentals listed on electronic booking platforms such as AirBnB, Booking.com and TripAdvisor and do not differentiate between units that are illegal or not, officials said.

There were 261,059 units in Oahu in December 2018, or a 9.1% decrease through December 2019, according to the study. However, the study also shows a 14.4% increase in available units in Waikiki in the same time frame.

“Some of the Oahu demand that is no longer being accommodated outside of Waikiki is moving into Waikiki, which is what the administration wanted and the City Council voted for,” Kloninger said.

Maui County and Kauai County also saw a double-digit increase, the study said. Available units in Maui increased by 27.6% and in Kauai by 28.6%.

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Supporters of bed and breakfast establishments and transient vacation units argue these units help property owners combat the state’s high cost of living.

Opponents argue they ruin the traditional neighborhood environment, make a mockery of zoning laws and take away jobs from the traditional hotel and resort industry.

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