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A New Vacation Rental Law In Oahu Could Impact Your Airbnb Stay

By Parker Diakite

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Oahu just passed a new law that could affect your Airbnb stay. 

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed legislation earlier this week that would enforce the strict vacation rental laws on the island.

The law, which was passed unanimously by the city council, limits bed-and-breakfast rentals to only 1,175 in Honolulu, according to the Honolulu Civil Beat.

“This is a good bill,” Caldwell said. “It reflects a lot of hard work, and it reflects the sense of our community, the passion, the emotion, the fairness, and how to take back our neighborhoods that have become overrun by visitors.”

Right now, there are an estimated 10,000 vacation rentals available at any given time, according to the Honolulu City Council. Only 700, however, are legal and licenses for short-term rentals.

The measure comes after residents started to voice their concerns about “unhosted transient vacation units.”

Unhosted vacation rentals mean it’s a property in which the owner rents out their entire home in their absence, which has only been allowed in Waikiki, Ko Olina, and Turtle Bay rental resorts.

Property owners and investors have ignored the limitations over the years, which has driven up property values, residents who oppose vacation rentals say.

Officials expect the law to eliminate thousands of illegal vacation rentals throughout Oahu that advertise with companies like Airbnb and Expedia.

Expedia spokesperson Phillip Minadi told the local publication that the platform is disappointed by the decision to close the door on Honolulu’s long-standing vacation rental community.

“The reality is, there was a better way,” he said. “We worked hard to find a reasonable compromise that would have protected local communities and homeowners while preserving Oahu’s tourism economy.”

Travelers who choose to stay in illegal bread and breakfasts will not be punished under the new.

Digital stings to nab illegal vacation rentals will begin on Aug. 1, the Honolulu Civil Beat reports.

Owners of illegal properties will be subject to pay a $1,000 fine for the first violation, and $5,000 per day after.

The city will begin issuing licenses to bed-and-breakfasts on Oct. 1, 2020.  After that, owners will have to display their permit number in all online advertising, including social media.

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