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Oahu Anti Vacation Rental Bill 89…Now Ordinance 19-18

Short term rental owners and operators are still in shock, attempting to make sense of new aggressive stance that Ordnance 19-18 has made moving forward. Regardless of this, nothing has changed in 30 years. Short term vacation rentals without Non-Conforming Use Certificates have always been illegal; there just hasn’t been as much enforcement. Starting 1 Aug 2019 Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP) enforcement will kick into high gear.

Defining Vacation Rentals

The City & County of Honolulu defines Short Term rental as any rental with a lease period of less than 20 days. The State of Hawaii defines it as less than 180 days.

The State of Hawaii defines Transient accommodations as the furnishing of a room for rental for anything less than 180 days. The City and County of Honolulu defines Transient accommodation is the furnishing of a room for rental of anything less than 30 days.

Here’s What We Know:

  • Transient Vacation Units (TVU) will continue to be illegal without Non Conforming Certificates authorizing Transient Accommodation.
  • Enforcement of TVUs & Bed & Breakfast dwelling (B&B) advertising of 30 days starts 1 August 2019 for all TVUs & B&Bs without Non-Conforming Use Certifications.
  • First violation is free, second $1,000 and can go all the way up to $10,000 per day. If operation stopped and advertisement removed within 7 days fine will be waived.
  • 1,700 B&B permits will be issued out to owners who apply starting 1 Oct 2020 via a lottery system, no TVUs. To do so, operators must have a home owners property tax exemption. The fee register is $1,000 and $2,000 to renew yearly. Homeowners Association approval needed if applies. Those limited numbers of B&Bs will be allowed, 1 every 1000sqft. Applicants must be Natural Citizens, not and organization or company. Proper insurance required.
  • North Shore is designated as a Special Management “Sustainable Area” and will not authorize at TVUs or B&Bs.
  • Although 1,700 registrations are allow, it’s estimated only 1,600 will actually meet requirements for spacing and approval.
  • Registered B&Bs must be connected/attached homes. No more than 2 rooms to be used for accommodations.
  • Neighbors within 250ft of the registered B&B & TVU must be given phone numbers of the owner operator to make complaints.
  • Recently signed Bill 807 now Act 114 makes it a misdemeanor offense to knowingly make false statement to a county inspector. That could mean up to a year in jail and fines up to $2,000.
  • Department of Permits and Planning is meeting every day to work on the details and implementation of Bill 89 now Ordinance 19-18.

Have Questions About Rental Regulations?

While the rules and regulations continue to be flushed out and implemented by DPP don’t hesitate to contact me for more information. I understand there are many agents here on island but few ready to bring you a heightened level of service and knowledge. I stand ready to assist you with your real estate buying and selling goals!

Check on Department of Permit and Planning’s FAQ section on short term rental regulations. They will be updated regularly.


NUC – Non-conforming Use Certificates
B&B – Bed & Breakfast dwelling
TVU – Transient Vacation Units
DPP – Department of Planning and Permitting

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Betty Hatfield

July 27, 2019

Thank you for your article. I am reading about renting in Hawaii for my youngest daughter who has just accepted an offer (she is a professional) on O’ahu. Neither she nor her parents have ever been to Hawaii. Her grandmother, now deceased, and older sister and brother-in-law have. I have a former colleague who has lived and worked there for years, but is retired to Ca. So, we are trying to figure out a safer way for our daughter to rent a place with security and a view that offers laundry and is furnished. Seems like suggestions are telling us to be wary. Is there affordable furnished rentals in Hawaiian kai, Waikiki or other safe areas with reputable property managers or landlords? I realize you want to sell. I was a Realtor years ago. We do not want to waste anyone’s time, but Carolyn is coming to O’ahu from a year living in Italy, so we, her parents, are anxious to assist her finding a match before she even gets there Sept. 20, 2019.
Thank you for any futher suggestions.
Mrs. Betty B. Hatfield

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