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Illegal rentals: The inspection process

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There are about 14 inspectors, and there are potentially thousands of illegal vacation rentals, along with other residential and commercial properties. How inspections of suspected illegal properties work:

>> The city Department of Planning and Permitting must receive a complaint before sending an inspector to a suspected illegal vacation rental property.

>> An inspector, who works daytime hours Monday through Friday, must visit the property and find someone in residence who will admit to being a short-term renter.

>> If the inspector finds a renter who admits to staying there for less than 30 days, a notice of violation is issued.

>> If a notice of violation is issued, the landlord is given a month to correct the violation and is allowed to schedule the follow-up recheck.

>> If an inspector finds evidence of a violation, fines can be levied; however, the department will often settle the fine for pennies on the dollar to encourage compliance with the law.


>> If a landlord appeals, the department may undertake further inspection and continue to assess fines. However, it must wait for a ruling to collect fines.

>> Once a fine is issued, it may be much less than the money the landlord earned illegally.

What gets inspected

Investigating illegal transient vacation rentals is just one of many responsibilities city Department of Planning and Permitting inspectors have to keep track of under the residential code enforcement branch. They include:

>> Dilapidated, substandard dwellings.

>> Abandoned driveways.

>> Fire damage to dwellings.

>> Graffiti.

>> Housing numbers.

>> Illegal dwelling units.

>> Inspections requested by the Permit Issuance Branch.

>> Litter.

>> Residential occupancy.

>> Prechecks for ohana units.

>> Parking.

>> Relocation assistance.

>> Setback encroachments for the Land Use Ordinance.

>> Damaged and obstructed sidewalks.

>> Signage in the public right-of-way.

>> Shoreline (setbacks, etc.).

>> Special management area.

>> Tort claims.

>> Illegal transient vacation rentals.

>> Unkept premises.

>> Vacant lot overgrowth.

>> Zoning-illegal use of property.

>> Inspection of conditional use permits.

>> Surface encroachment variance.

>> Curb and gutter installation.

>> Existing pool requirements.

>> Dilapidated fence walls.


Source: Department of Planning and Permitting

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