Honolulu County awards pot of gold to hotel industry

Hawaii has had a complicated relationship with the short-term vacation rental market. Back before Silicon Valley got its claws into the process, these types of arrangements were called B&Bs (bed and breakfasts). Stereotypically, older ladies with a penchant for macramé would rent rooms and provide a meal or two – hence the name.

In recent years there’s been a (insert “large” synonym) growth in these types of listings. Back in the 1980s, Honolulu County (encompassing the island of Oahu) set a limit of 770 licensed B&Bs outside the tourist areas of Waikiki and Ko’Olina. It’s estimated there are 8,000 to 10,000 B&Bs operating on Oahu today. Suffice it to say that even subtracting those operating legally and in the designated tourist areas, there are still a ton operating illegally.

In June 2019, Honolulu County approved a measure that would increase the number of legal vacation rentals to 1,700 beginning in October 2020. That gives the city 14 months from the effective date of the legislation (August 1, 2019) to shut-down all the illegal ones. Essentially any ad placed without a license number will get a visit from the county. Violators can get slapped with a $1,000 fine for a first offence that’s then ratcheted up to $5,000 per day on the next violation and finally $10,000 per day on future offences.

The new regulations also shine a light on the already outlawed (though largely ignored) unhosted or whole-house rentals outside the tourist areas of Waikiki, Ko’Olina and Turtle Bay.

Note to readers: If you have a reservation after August 1, 2019 for a short-term vacation rental on Oahu outside designated tourist areas, you might want to recheck. The city is saying they have little sympathy for those already-made reservations. I assume landlords have been busy informing their upcoming guests.



Photo courtesy NoiseAware

Like many, you may be using your second home as a part-time income generator, too — utilizing Airbnb, VRBO, or another platform to rent out your vacation home to other vacationers.

And maybe you’ve had a great run of good luck, but all it takes is one noisy set of short-term tenants, or one raucous party, for your fellow neighbors to be long-term irritated with you.

Over at the Mother Ship, we’ve written about NoiseAware before. After our Bethany Erickson wrote about neighbors fed up with a property owner who (they said) indiscriminately rented out a home in a residential area to people who liked to, shall we say, party, David Krauss and his business partner, Andrew Schulz, reached out to Candy’s Media to tell us about their product, which they feel is a boon to homeowners taking advantage of the short-term rental market — a noise detector that alerts a host when the noise level is reaching neighbor-irritating levels.

“I started my company, NoiseAware, in Dallas after a single partying Airbnb guest of mine ruined my rep with my neighbors,” Krauss told us in his email introduction. “That was two years ago when there were a few hundred Airbnb listings in Dallas. We’ve been partnered with HomeAway/VRBO for over a year now and are really making a difference in helping reduce the surging ‘neighbor nuisance issues.’”  (more…)

Game of Thrones

Photo courtesy Winterfell Tours

If the series finale of Game of Thrones was not enough for you, we have just the story for you. Check out that, plus some great travel recommendations, a warning about Airbnb, and a great Cliff May original up for grabs.

This is what we’ve been reading. What are you reading?

Can’t Quit Game of Thrones? Five Spots You Can Visit

Doune Castle courtesy Viator

Love the ending, hate the ending, if you aren’t ready to give up Game of Thrones, there are five spots where you can get your Baratheon on, Hypebeast explains. (more…)

What makes a traveler choose Airbnb over a hotel? A variety of reasons, one survey by IPX1031 revealed, including privacy and better options.

And with many second home owners opting to take advantage of the relative ease short-term rental companies like Airbnb provides in earning a little income from a property that sometimes sits dormant, knowing what moves the needle for a prospective guest is important.

IPX1031 surveyed 2,000 Americans to get a better idea of why they might choose a short-term rental over a hotel.

“According to survey respondents, 68 percent would choose to rent an Airbnb over a hotel, even if the prices were the same,” the company said. “Privacy, uniqueness of rental, free parking and pet-friendliness were some of the top factors that set Airbnb apart from hotels, according to our survey.”


According to the survey, 61 percent would choose an Airbnb over a hotel, while 72 percent felt that short-term rentals were better for group travel. But 68 percent said they’d choose an Airbnb even if the rate was the same as a comparable hotel room. (more…)

Who will buy this US$3.8 million New Zealand penthouse?

In the good old days, the wealthy used to scoop up gold and jewels and flee in the dead of night before poor, angry peasants descended upon their estates. Today, the million-dollar jewels are often red carpet loans where today’s décolletage is rented like a yesteryear billboard.

Hiding assets from pillagees, modern-day pillagers have offshore banks, blind trusts, LLCs and cryptocurrencies. Fleeing is now the purview of private jets to far-away lands – but the local residents in those faraway lands are getting ticked-off at being priced out of their own markets and they’re mobilizing.

Last month, New Zealand passed a law banning many foreigners from purchasing existing homes. The legislation was part of a promise during Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s campaign in 2017 to reduce the country’s skyrocketing housing prices. Earlier in the year The New Yorker published a story about super wealthy Americans purchasing New Zealand real estate as a hedge against potential political or nuclear Armageddon – nicknamed “apocalypse insurance.”

Why New Zealand? (more…)

south padre island

With views and playgrounds like this, South Padre is a popular destination.

Previously this week, we discussed how the housing market in South Padre Island could really give vacation home seekers a lot of bang for their buck.

Today, we’ll look at how that bang can become a boom — if you’re willing to jump through a few hoops the city says are designed to protect renters, landlords, and make sure city resources are allocated wisely.

With South Padre appearing regularly on lists of best beaches for families and best Spring Break beach destinations, it stands to reason that there are a fair amount of people looking for the freedom and room a condo or beach house might offer, as opposed to a hotel.

“Spring break brings 50,000 to 60,000 people in at one time — and the population of South Padre is only 2,800 or so,” said Gary Tate of Keller Williams Lynne Tate South Padre Island. (more…)