City’s new crackdown on vacation rentals is also designed to target overtourism

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – The illegal vacation rental industry is now one of the main targets of the administration of Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi.

But his crackdown proposal is also part of a strategy that could help curb overtourism as well as free up housing for residents.

At a planning committee meeting on Wednesday, the city’s planning and permitting department director Dean Uchida said vacation rental regulations “provide some kind of management tool to regulate the number of visitors to Hawaii “.

Supporters said regulation of illegal vacation units was overdue.

“It’s totally out of control. This bill is very robust in terms of the tools it would give the city to be able to control the situation. So we think this is vitally important, ”said Rick Egged, president of the Waikiki Improvement Association.

The measure aims to remove short-term rentals from residential areas and restrict them to resort areas of Waikiki, Turtle Bay, Ko Olina and Makaha Valley.

Legal vacation rentals will be taxed at a higher rate.

“Basically, legal vacation rental units are sitting ducks. You have a list of all of us, you know where we are. So basically you say ‘hey, let’s go get them’ – $ 5,000 in registration fees, $ 2,500 a year in hotel and resort property tax, ”said Mitch Bednarsh, owner of the resort. ‘a legal vacation rental.

The extra money would pay for a special team to find those who are operating illegally.

Vacation rental owners also say tourists will always come, but not to their properties.

“My guests are not loud, they are the kind of respectful and caring people who make a neighborhood a great place to be. If you close me, you’ll have the same overtourism issues, ”said Margaret Aurand, owner of a vacation rental.

The planning committee will hear further testimony on the bill on Wednesday.

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