Hawaii Tightens Regulations on Short-Term Rentals: What Travelers Should Know

by Alice

Hawaii is enacting stricter regulations on short-term rentals, granting each county the authority to establish its own guidelines for these accommodations.

Senate Bill 2919, signed into law by Governor Josh Green, empowers counties to determine where short-term vacation rentals are permissible based on local community preferences. The legislation’s enactment follows last year’s devastating wildfires in Maui, which underscored the urgency of addressing housing needs.


In a statement, Governor Green emphasized the law’s significance in addressing Hawaii’s housing crisis while supporting recovery efforts in Maui. He affirmed the state’s commitment to expanding housing availability, particularly in wildfire-affected areas, and reiterated support for legal property owners contributing to recovery endeavors.


Under the new law, counties gain authority to regulate the timing, location, manner, and duration of transient accommodations, including short-term rentals. Counties in Hawaii are now authorized to subject these rentals to taxation and regulation akin to hotels. They can classify them as non-residential for zoning purposes or opt to impose restrictions on their operation, as outlined by the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA).


Kevin Carey, AHLA’s Interim President and CEO, lauded the legislation as a vital step in curbing the proliferation of illegal short-term rentals in residential neighborhoods. He emphasized the importance of regulations that enable hotel employees and residents to afford housing in their communities.

Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen has already unveiled plans to eliminate approximately 7,000 vacation rentals, including 2,200 in West Maui, as reported by Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii joins other destinations like New York City in taking measures to regulate short-term vacation rentals. Last year, New York City implemented new rules mandating hosts to register their listings with the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement and obliging booking platforms to bar unregistered listings.



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