Honolulu Mayor Signs Measure To Regulate Short-Term Rentals

Jun 25, 2019

Mayor Kirk Caldwell on June 25, 2019 signs Bill 89 that regulates short-term rentals on Oahu.
Credit Ryan Finnerty / HPR

Mayor Kirk Caldwell vetoed one short-term rental measure and signed another that will restrict the operation of the rentals on Oahu. 

Caldwell cited a legal conflict between the two measures in issuing his veto of Bill 85 and support for Bill 89, which was originally drafted by his administration in 2018.

Under Bill 89, restrictions on advertising of unpermitted rentals will take effect on Aug. 1. Fines for violators will run up to $10,000 per day.

Roughly 1,700 short-term rental units will be allowed. Specific limits will apply to each development area of the island.

Those units, which the city classifies as bed and breakfast accommodations, will only be allowed to rent individual rooms in an owner-occupied house. 

A maximum of two rooms within a permit-holding property will be allowed for short-term rental. 

No bed and breakfast permits will be issued for the North Shore, where a community-drafted development plan outlawed the permitting of new short-term rentals. 

The city will not begin issuing bed and breakfast permits until Oct. 1, 2020. A process for doing so is currently under development. 

Bill 85, which was vetoed on Tuesday by Mayor Caldwell, would not have allowed for the permitting of any new short-term rental units. 

Both bills were widely opposed by local and national players in the vacation rental industry. Local hotel operators and union workers provided some of the strongest support for the measures. 

Separately, Hawaii Gov. David Ige on Monday announced that he would veto a state bill requiring short-term rental booking platforms to collect state tax. 

That proposal was viewed as potentially undermining efforts by county authorities to crackdown on illegal vacation rentals.