Hawaii Set to Ban Airbnb and Short-Term Rentals State-Wide

Caribbean News…
06 May 2024 3:41am


A new bill that would effectively ban Airbnb and other short-term rentals in Hawaii is about to be signed into law.

The bill, called SB2919, was passed by the state’s Senate and House this week and now heads to Gov. Josh Green’s desk. It gives Hawaii’s individual counties the ability to change zoning laws that would effectively phase out short-term rentals, requiring them to be converted to longer-term housing.  

Green, who has previously criticized short-term rentals for not only being owned by non-residents but also contributing to “skyrocketing housing costs” in Hawaii, has indicated that he will sign it.

When and if he does, which could happen as soon as Friday, the law would officially go into effect in July.

The bill was not only supported by Green, but also by Hawai‘i’s Hoteliers and Hotel Labor Unions, and Lahaina Strong, a group that has supported the rebuilding of Lahaina following the devastating wildfires from last summer. That group, and others, have cited short-term rentals as one of the reasons that many displaced residents have been unable to find permanent housing.

According to UHERO’s Hawaii Housing Factbook, as of February, 5.5% of Hawaii’s total housing units were short-term rentals. That number is as high as 15% in Maui and even higher in Kauai. Compare that with other U.S. destinations, including Las Vegas, around 3%, and Los Angeles, around 1%.

Hawaii’s percentage is also more than seven times higher than that of New York City, which also moved to ban short-term rentals over the past few years.  Last September, New York started enforcing a 2022 law that banned people from renting homes for fewer than 30 days unless the host was staying on-site with them.

That ban, according to AirDNA, has caused listings for New York short-term rentals to drop more than 83% since August. According to a report in the Guardian last week, a black-market, short-term rental community has sprouted on social media and Craigslist in New York.

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