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Honolulu City Council committee passes 2 vacation rental bills

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The City Council Planning Committee voted today to advance two bills to deal with the island’s perplexing vacation rental issue.

One bill would allow for up to about 1,715 newly permitted vacation rentals on the island, while the other would crack down on the thousands of illegal units on the island.

What’s more, the permitted rentals would be required to be operated by an owner-occupant of a home so “whole home” vacation rentals would be out. An effort to include whole home rentals, a plan pushed by major vacation rental platforms such as Airbnb and Expedia, failed to garner enough support to move out of the committee.

The two bills, 85 (2018) and 89 (2018), now go to the full Council for a vote scheduled for May 8.

Both Planning Committee Chairman Ikaika Anderson and Councilman Ron Menor, who authored or co-authored the latest draft of the two bills, called the legislation a reasonable compromise.

The Council and a string of mayors have been trying unsuccessfully to tackle the complex vacation rental issue for several decades since the city stopped issuing permits for them in 1989. DPP estimates there are only 816 legal units outside of resort zones but between 6,000 and 8,000 illegal units on Oahu.

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