Think About It: Rental Reboot - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

September 8, 2014

Think About It: Rental Reboot

Whoops. The Hawaii Tourism Authority just completed a study which shows that there may be as many as 26,500 houses and condos being used for vacationers or short term rental. While the final figures are being tabulated before official release to the public, this reported figure of 26,900 units is quite a bit higher than the previously released figure of 6,900… by almost 20,000 more units.

The report says there are now 4,478 such units on Oahu- the previous number reported was 555. Oahu has not permitted short-term usage permits in 25 years. Hmmmm… And on Maui, where the number was thought to be about 3,342 units, there are now apparently 11,166 units. And while Maui does still have a permit process, how many of these just-realized units do you think are actually accounted for in city or state tax records? How many of these units are in areas zoned as residential? How many neighbors find it strange that 15 different people come and go from the unit or house next door over the course of an average year? How many local people can't find reasonable rentals in the same areas due to the simple math that it's easier to charge a premium to 15 different guests over the course of a year than to charge one long-term renter?

When the new, official numbers come out pertaining to short-term rental units, someone should explain how the figures could have been so far off for years, and then someone in the enforcement world should tell us how this growing dilemma will be dealt with. Legal units that provide a more local experience for visitors might be fine, but only if they are bona fide, accounted-for legal units, with all of the taxes and regulations that go along with them. Let's have that discussion based on facts. As we regularly hear of the need for more relatively affordable housing units for locals, let's get a reality check on the hidden world of vacation rentals. Think about it…


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