For Sale

Two Homes on One Lot – Caretaker or Long-Term Rental Potential

I just wrote about Big Island condominium options for investors or future retirement buyers who prefer NOT to do short-term vacation rentals, and just want a stable, long-term tenant. But what if you prefer to have a single-family home for your future retirement, with a caretaker or long term renter to provide income and upkeep on the home? Does that mean you have to stay in hotel when you visit?

Not necessarily! Here are some current listings with two or more permitted homes on one lot, or with a guest suite for you to use while renting the main home.

big island home with guest house

Rent the main house to long term tenants, keep a separate guest suite or guest house for your own use when you visit! Hawaiʻi Life manages long-term rentals as well as vacation rentals.

Are There Restrictions on Renting a Second Home on my Big Island Property?

I have written a ton of posts about resort condos that qualify for short-term vacation rental licenses, as well as about current transient accommodations rental proposed legislation. If what you are thinking is offering a separate home or bedrooms as an “Airbnb” – those are the posts to review. Specifically, here I will address current and proposed restrictions to building or renting a second home on a long-term basis on your Big Island property.

  • Check your CC&Rs. If you are in a community with CC&Rs (covenants, conditions, and restrictions), you were provided with all of those documents while you were in escrow. Those restrictions sit at the top of the pyramid after state and county regulations, and are binding even if state classification and county zoning would allow you to rent.
  • Check your County Zoning. In particular, if you are on a larger parcel zoned for agricultural use, you also have an underlying state land use classification of agricultural. Hence both Hawaiʻi County code and Hawaiʻi State statute restrict your uses. A second dwelling on your ag-zoned property would be permitted as an “additional farm dwelling,” and the approval may have had conditions for it to be rented and occupied by someone who is engaged in agricultural activity on the land.
  • Was the second unit permitted as a guest house or bedroom? Many properties are built with a guest house (a term defined in the Zoning Code) or detached bedroom that was not allowed to have a second kitchen. Many times we see listings where some form of kitchen was later added without permits – and that can be a problem. But if you had a long-term renter or caretaker who did not need a kitchen, for example, if you were willing to allow the use of the main house kitchen, zoning, and permitting would not prevent you from renting a room inside the main structure or detached, on a long term basis. Or renting out the main house and using the guest house for your own visits.
  • Was the second unit permitted as an ʻohana dwelling? While the Hawaiʻi County Transient Accommodation Rental bill currently introduced by County Council members and being reviewed by the Planning Commissions is part of a package that changes the sections of the Zoning Code relating to B&Bs and ʻohana dwellings for clarity, the current zoning code defines an ʻohana dwelling as a third category, either attached or detached, that is neither an additional farm dwelling nor a guest house. Although ʻohana means “family” and these were intended to be for family members. In the new bill, they will be called Additional Dwelling Units or ADUs, and the intent is to allow broader usage to increase the supply of affordable long-term rentals for island residents.

Current Listings With Second Legal Homes or Guest Quarters on One Property for Long Term Rental Possibilities

Rent the Main House – Use the Guest Quarters for Owner Visits

For some buyers who plan to retire to the Big Island full time but would like rental potential and the ability to vacation in their own home in the intervening years, it might work to get long term rental income from the main home, and use guest quarters during their vacations, since they are probably spending days at the beach and evenings eating out. This home in Kohala Estates is close to the amenities of the Kohala Coast resorts for your vacations, and has a guest suite with separate entrance.

kohala big island estate for sale

Kohala Estate Home for Sale with Guest Quarters – MLS 706651 on Ala Kahua Drive, near the Kohala Coast Resorts

If you prefer tropical green to the drier Kohala Coast, here is a second listing near the end of the road in North Kohala where you could rent the main house and spend your vacations in a sweet ocean view separate guest space.

blue house in north kohala

Main house and guest house with ocean views on a very private parcel in North Kohala. Bus Stop Road in Niuliʻi: MLS 704219

Two or More Permitted Legal Homes on One Parcel

I wrote recently about the topic of financing for multifamily properties. As readers know, I really love my home community of Kohala and would love to see buyers keep properties in long-term rental so our local Kohala families can remain in Kohala. Here is an example of a Kohala property with two homes and two good long-term tenants – but you could also renovate one of the homes for your own use.

kapaau north kohala big island home

Two homes on one lot in Kapaʻau North Kohala have long-term tenants – lots of long-term potential as well: MLS 705503 Union Mill Rd

At the top end of the scale, I already blogged about a stunning oceanfront property with FOUR fully permitted, fully renovated homes. It would be a great family compound, and you could still keep one home for a full-time caretaker to provide security and tend the landscaping.

ocean views from hawi big island home for sale

View from the oceanfront 4-home compound near Hawi, North Kohala MLS 707771

These multi-family or guest house opportunities are not always obvious, so be sure you have an agent keep an eye out for one if thatʻs your plan.

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