Hawaii Passes First Legislation Regulating Short-Term Rentals Statewide

The new law will give counties the power to limit number or short-term rentals and convert existing short-term rental units back into long-term residential housing.

1 minute read

May 13, 2024, 8:00 AM PDT

By Mary Hammon @marykhammon


Aerial view of homes on beach in Maui, Hawaii

Cheunger1/Wirestock Creators / Homes in Maui, Hawaii

The Hawaii legislature has passed a bill that will allow the state’s four counties to regulate short-term vacation rentals like Airbnb and VRBO. If signed by Gov. Josh Green, “SB2919 would grant each Hawaii county the authority to redefine zoning ordinances, including converting short-term rentals into long-term residential housing,” reports USA Today. The action comes in the face of a statewide housing crisis exacerbated by overtourism, foreign investors, and the wildfires on Maui last year.

Short-term rentals in the state, the majority of which are operating illegal, have contributed to rising house and rent costs, writes USA Today reporter Kathleen Wong, citing a report that found 5.5 percent of Hawaii’s housing units are short-term rentals (compared to just 3 percent in Las Vegas); that spikes to 15 percent in Maui. Wong reports that 3,000 displaced Maui residents are still living in hotels eight months after the fires. Perhaps that’s why, immediately following the passage of SB2919, the Maui Mayor Richard Bissan announced legislation that will eliminate more than 7,000 vacation units, more than half of the island’s inventory.

Hawaii and Maui are just the latest in a long line of governments, including Plano, Texas, and New York City, to pass legislation to rein in short-term rentals for reasons ranging from their impact on long-term, affordable housing availability to noise and other nuisance ordinance violations.

Friday, May 3, 2024 in USA Today

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