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Honolulu City Council votes 9-0 to pass bill imposing tougher regulations on vacation rentals

  • By Craig T. Kojima


    Honolulu City Council members Ann Kobayashi, left, Heidi Tsuneyoshi, and Brandon J.C. Elefante listen to testimony in a packed chamber at the City Council for the final votes on bills 85 and 89, putting more enforcement on vacation rentals today.


    City Council Chariman Ikaika Anderson conducts today’s hearing in a packed chamber as the council votes on Bills 85 and 89 to regulate vacation rentals.

After decades of indecision, the Honolulu City Council voted 9-0 to pass a measure tonight aimed at imposing tougher new regulations on vacation rentals while permitting less than two thousand new units.

Bill 89 (2018) would allow permits to be issued, for the first time in three decades, for up to about 1,715 additional bed-and-breakfast establishments (B&Bs), but no permits would be allowed for vacation rental homes (transient vacation units, or TVUs).

On Oahu, B&Bs and TVUs collectively are short-term rentals — leased to parties for less than 30 days.

The city stopped issuing permits for short-term rentals in 1989. There are currently 816 legal short-term rentals left on Oahu. But the city Department of Planning and Permitting estimates there are 6,000 to 8,000 illegal vacation rentals. The advent of online platforms where vacationers can find rentals has contributed to the growth.

The matter now goes to Mayor Kirk Caldwell, who testified today urging the Council to approve Bill 89.

The Council also voted 7-2 to approve Bill 85 (2018), which would only impose tougher fines and new regulations. Caldwell already urged the Council to pass Bill 89 so approving Bill 85 is a moot issue.

A city attorney said that if Caldwell were to sign both bills, there may be an issue regarding conflicting language in the two bills.

>> RELATED: Contributions grow as Honolulu vacation rental bills advance

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