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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Illegal Vacation Rentals Have Many Residents Frustrated

There has been a recent expansion of illegal vacation rentals throughout the island of Oahu and visitors hope to gain new experiences other than being in traditional hotels and tourist destinations. While small businesses have welcomed these visitors to their local economies, many residents argue that the volume of visitors have hurt the quality of life in their sleepy neighborhoods. According to research conducted by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the North Shore of Oahu and Kailua are the most popular areas for illegal vacation rentals and as many as 80 percent of these vacation rental owners are operating outside of city restrictions. Donna Wong, a member of the Kailua Neighborhood Board, commented, "It's creating a lot of conflict and hostility. Kailua used to be a quaint, small town where everyone knew everyone. Now, it's a resort. The North Shore has a similar situation. Visitor traffic used to be contained to surf season. Now, they've got it 24/7, 365 days a year."

In 1986, a law was passed that prohibited vacation rentals rented for less than 30 days in neighborhoods outside of designated resort areas.  In 1989, another law was passed prohibiting any new bed-and-breakfast homes in all zoning districts. However, the Hawaii Tourism Authority has noted that the city has failed to enforce these laws and rental property owners are blatantly violating regulations in recent years. It is estimated that between 78 percent to 87 percent of the North Shore and Kailua rentals are operating illegally.

Some tourism industry leaders believe that the city should relax restrictions and make these types of rentals legal, provided that homeowners pay the transient accommodation tax (TAT) and general excise tax (GET). Critics argue that illegal rentals should be stopped, as it increases traffic and crime in residential neighborhoods, drains community resources and reduces the supply of residential housing.

Source: Honolulu Star Advertiser, 12-28-2014,
Posted by Jeff Uyemura-Reyes, Principal Broker, REALTOR®
Global Executive Realty, LLC