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.

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Airbnb

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…)