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Hawaii Owners Close Rental Properties As Deadline Approaches

Catherine Cruz

HILO — As a short-term rental application deadline nears, some owners are shutting down their Hawaii rental properties, a report said.

Some owners have found new regulations too expensive or troublesome to continue their rental businesses, The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Wednesday.

Hawaii County's new law that went into effect in April prohibits short-term vacation rentals outside of resort zones after the Sept. 30 deadline.

Short-term vacation rentals are defined as properties with less than five bedrooms where the owner does not live that are rented for less than 30 days.

The cost of implementing nonconforming-use permit requirements has forced some owners to sell properties or stop operating them as rental units, they said.

Lucretia Worster reduced the number of her rental properties from three to one because of the expense of bringing the properties into compliance.

"One house we had to sell, we had to close another one," Worster said.

Applicant requirements include approved building, plumbing and electrical permits, building diagrams, property tax proof, and parking certification. Owners must verify business notices were provided to neighbors within 300 feet (91 meters) and must comply with "good neighbor rules" including noise limitations.

Applications also require a nonrefundable $500 application fee that must be renewed for $250 annually.

Ira Ono is exempt from the new law because he lives on his rental property near the Kilauea volcano. But many people decided not to bother with the lengthy application process, he said.

"I know somebody whose application was denied," Ono said. "And you could reapply, you could try to correct the problems, but you're still out that $500."

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