Hawaii Vacation Rentals with 90 Day Minimum Court Appearance

The rules are constantly changing for vacation rentals in Hawaii, and now it’s the turn of the island of Oahu. This means that areas like Lanikai seen in the main photo will no longer be hosting short-term guests. It started when the Honolulu City Council approved a controversial new bill that extends the minimum reservation period for some rentals of at least 90 days. Unless the federal court sees things differently.

What is that arrangement will, in effect, is to eliminate almost all short-term vacation rentals on the island, except for those in specific resort areas.

Areas that remain permitted, with unchanged rules, include Waikiki. Additionally, there are areas in a number of other cities on Oahu that also continue to qualify for short-term rentals. They are Ewa, Kahala, Koolina, Kuilima, Laie and Makaha.

So that answers a question posed by one of our readers. Regular commenter Gloria asked, “I believe the 3 month rule only applies to new condos…others are grandfathered. Beat of Hawaii, can you enlighten us s ‘please ?” Here’s what we know.

The ordinance is to come into effect from October 23, 2022.

1. Units that previously qualified as a 30 day minimum rental can continue to be rented as is until April 23, 2023. At that time, all such rentals must be converted to a 90 day minimum or stop renting .

2. Rentals to which this new regulation applies must mention: “this property cannot be rented for less than 90 consecutive days. The rental prices will not be reduced or adjusted according to the number of days of use or occupation of the rental.

3. The occupants of vacation rentals are required to park on site and not on the public road near the rentals.

4. Areas of Honolulu where no minimum stay, true short-term vacation rentals remain permitted, with their rules unchanged, are listed below in purple.


The wording of the bill describes the issues being addressed.

“Short-term rentals disrupt the character and fabric of our residential neighborhoods, [and] are incompatible with the land uses that are intended for our residential areas and increase the price of housing for the resident population of Oahu by removing the housing stock from the sale and long-term rental markets. The City Council believes that the economic benefits of opening our residential areas to tourism are far outweighed by the negative impacts on our neighborhoods and local residents. »

So not only are rentals severely limited, but the language requires that each of these extended stay vacation rentals have their own private parking lot.

It’s not just some residents who are happy with the planned legislation, but also powerful hotels looking to lessen competition from Airbnb and VRBO.

Cities most affected by the decision.

The towns of Kailua, Lanikai and North Shore, among others, will be among the hardest hit and are expected to require visitors to stay in licensed hotels and bed and breakfasts. So the rental where President Obama stayed in Kailua during his tenure will no longer be short-term. And the Airbnb your editors stayed at immediately in Kaimuki is the same. Then there was a fall wedding editor, Rob, who performed at a North Shore rental that can no longer do short-lived under this law.

Not so fast: Hawaii vacation rentals are transferred to the United States District Court.

An association of rental property owners has gone to federal court to block the enforcement of the new order.

In a lengthy lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in Honolulu, the Hawaii Legal Short-term Rental Alliance claims the City and County of Honolulu has violated the rights of its members who lawfully rent their properties “for years, and in some cases, decades,” under the laws and protections afforded by Hawaii’s constitutions and the United States. The organization says it represents at least 1,000 rental properties.

The case argues that any legal tenancies that existed before April 2022 should be grandfathered, allowing them to continue operating in perpetuity, as before. “The right to own and lease property is a fundamental right under the constitutions of the United States and Hawaii and the plaintiff’s members and others like him have real estate interests in the property and the use of their properties, for the purposes of grandfathering, prizes and due process. ”

Hawaii’s 30-day minimum vacation rental law began in 1985.

The law previously established in 1985 was intended to prohibit Oahu vacation rentals located in non-tourist areas, for any rentals of less than 30 days. The problem was that these units would have become unenforceable, with the proliferation of online booking portals like Airbnb and Vrbo. The new law claimed that, based on these websites, up to 10,000 new rental units had come up on Oahu. These were largely in areas that had very limited hotels.

As a cottage industry began that benefited tenants, landlords, and other business employees, problems also arose. Opponents of these rentals have claimed that residential areas have become resorts, reducing the already limited local housing stock and eliminating hotel jobs. HTA estimated that 25% of houses on the North Shore had, for example, been converted into vacation rentals. Influential hotels in Hawaii have tried to pressure Honolulu to enforce the 30-day order, which the city has said is unable to do.

There may be some exceptions.

Regular commenter Lanell pointed out that there is a list of possible non-compliant exceptions to the new ruling. These locations can be found here: https://www.honolulu.gov/dppstr/approved-strs.html. Thanks Lanell!

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About Michael B. Billingsley

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