If you were thinking of booking a Honolulu vacation rental rather than a hotel, read this first

Oahu Just Passed a New Law That Could Affect Your Airbnb
Erin Kunkel
The stunning view from Lanikai Pillbox Trail

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed a bill on Tuesday that will enact some of the strictest vacation rental laws Hawaii has seen in more than 40 years.

The law will limit bed-and-breakfast rentals (where the owner lives on site) to only 1,715 in Honolulu. According to current estimates from the Honolulu City Council, there are anywhere between 8,000 and 10,000 vacation rentals on Oahu available at any given time. But only 770 of them are legal, licensed short-term rentals. Rentals in resort areas — including Waikiki, Ko Olina and Turtle Bay — will be exempt from the new law. The bill was put into place over changing neighborhood dynamics. “Residents generally voice strong concerns about ‘unhosted’ transient vacation units, particularly when a significant number of transient vacation units are located in the same neighborhood,” lawmakers wrote in the bill.

The bill will not punish travelers who choose to stay in illegal b&bs. It’s aimed at fining owners who advertise illegal rentals. These illegal vacation rentals will be found in “digital stings,” Caldwell said at a press conference on Tuesday, according to Honolulu Civil Beat. The operations will start on Aug. 1. At that time, owners of illegal properties will be subject to a $1,000 fine for the initial violation and $5,000 per day after that.

“I’m a little skeptical that they say they are going to enforce,” Tyler Dos Santos-Tam, a member of Hawaii Good Neighbor, a group that opposed vacation rentals, told Hawaii News Now. “I’m willing to be proven wrong. I hope that they go in hard on day one and start cracking down.” The city will begin issuing licenses to bed-and-breakfasts on Oct. 1, 2020. After that time, it will be necessary for all b&b owners to display their permit number in all online advertising, including social media. If you’ve already booked a vacation rental, get in contact with the owner and ask if they’re planning to register their space with the city council.
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