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City introduces amended short-term rental bill in response to community feedback

HONOLULU -- The Blangiardi administration today submitted to the Honolulu City Council a proposed amendment to Bill 41 that would amend Ordinance 19-18 relating to short-term rentals. The committee draft (CD1) would provide the Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP) with greater enforcement powers and incorporate many comments and issues raised by the community at recent public hearings.

The administration is asking the Council to consider the amendments when the Council discusses Bill 41 Relating to Transient Accommodations, which was transmitted to the Council by the Honolulu Planning Commission last month and is scheduled for First Reading at its full Council meeting on Nov. 10, 2021.

The intent of the bill is clear, which is to crack down on all illegal vacation rentals, particularly in residential areas. Based on hours of testimony before the Commission, the DPP revised the bill for further clarification to ensure this objective will be met.

"Illegal vacation rentals have been disruptive to our residential neighborhoods and have gone unchecked for far too long," said Mayor Rick Blangiardi. "Affordable housing is one of the top priorities of our administration. Bill 41 will help return much needed rental housing, while restoring the integrity of our neighborhoods for our local residents."

The stricter regulations have gained widespread support from the visitor industry, neighborhood boards, community associations, and individual residents. Among them:

Jerry Gibson, president, Hawai‘i Hotel Alliance

"The Visitor industry is extremely pleased with the Mayor's and DPP's new legislation on illegal short term rentals. This new enforcement will not only help give the residents back their neighborhoods on O‘ahu, but also help to provide long-term rentals for those in need. We will also notice a great reduction in the amount of cars at beaches, parks and residential areas. Thank you for this excellent piece of legislation."

Larry Bartley, executive director, Save O‘ahu's Neighborhoods

"Save O‘ahu's Neighborhoods welcomes this administration's grasp of the problem of short-term rentals in residential-zoned houses and condominiums. Even after passage of Ordinance 19-18, savvy STR operators successfully skirt the intent of that law. We thank the administration and DPP for introducing Bill 41. It is quite encompassing and has many features that will aid the city in enforcing against the illegal activity. We have some concerns about the methods of allowing the expansion of short-term rentals in apartment zoning, but believe those can be worked out in Council hearings."

Jeanne Ohta, president, ‘Āina Haina Community Association

"As the Department of Planning and Permitting has acknowledged, the character of our neighborhoods has been negatively affected by the use of residentially zoned properties for mini hotels. Our neighbors have complained about increased parking and traffic congestion and the noise of visitors arriving late at night and rolling their luggage from their cars…. Tourists are on vacation while residents need to work the next day. These schedules are just not compatible."

John De Fries, president and CEO, Hawai‘i Tourism Authority

"We have heard loud and clear from the community that illegal vacation rentals must be managed. They greatly impact quality of life in our neighborhoods, and circumvent our collective efforts to manage the number of visitors to our islands -- a major action item in Oʻahu's Destination Management Action Plan. We appreciate and value the hard work of the Planning Commission, the City Council, and Mayor Blangiardi's administration to tackle and resolve this issue."

The proposed CD1 would:

Create a STR Enforcement Fund.

Reinstate the enforcement of Hosting Platforms.

Allow existing owners of a hotel unit who occupy the unit as "a principal place of residence" to continue.

Add Makaha Valley and the Waikiki Resort Mixed Use Precinct as areas that permit bed and breakfast homes and transient vacation units.

Add a new definition for "transient occupant" that would allow for non-tourist related rentals of less than 180 days.

To submit testimony on Bill 41 for the Honolulu City Council Meeting on November 10, please visit:

To view the proposed CD1 for Bill 41 please visit:

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