ALERT – Protect Hawaii Communities From Illegal Short-Term Rentals

Today, over 23,000 homes in Hawaii are being used for short-term rentals– many which are illegal. That amounts to nearly 1 out of every 24 homes in Hawaii. The Hawaii legislature is current considering HB2605(HD2)(SD2) a bill that allows companies like Airbnb to collect taxes from legal hosts but also requires compliance with the law. Stopping illegal operators from listing units on Airbnb is a critical step to reign in the proliferation of illegal rentals in residential neighbors that would otherwise be available to Hawaii residents.

Click Here To Learn More – HB2605(HD2)(SD2)

The Airbnb lobby is fighting hard to stop this legislation. A substantial percent of Airbnb’s revenue generated from Hawaii hosts comes from mulit-unit operators and entire home investors–and it’s highly likely that the majority of these units are illegal. Airbnb knows if they are required to follow the law, thousands of Hawaii units may have to removed from its site.

Our community can defeat the Airbnb special interest and protect our neighborhoods—but we must act now.

If you want keep Hawaii housing for residents and stop the rise of illegal short-term vacation rentals in Hawaii, it’s time to act now.  We can’t allow companies like Airbnb to profit from illegal activity that hurts our neighborhoods and takes away much needed rental housing for Hawaii residents. Tell our state legislators, schedule a hearing of HB2605(HD2)(SD2) in conference committee and take action to ensure Airbnb and its hosts complies with our land-use laws. The future of neighborhoods and future rental opportunities for Hawaii residents are at stake.

How can you help?

  • Click here to sign up for information updates and stay informed.
  • Read our website to learn more about the issues and what’s at stake.
  • Contact your state representative and senator and ask them to support HB2605(HD2)(SD2).
  • If you have been adversely affected by an illegal short-term vacation rental in your neighborhood and are willing to share your story, click here and tell us your story.

We can stop the Airbnb lobbyists from winning if we speak up as one community.

What’s the “real” Airbnb story (and how is Hawaii being affected by illegal short-term rentals)?

If you’ve seen the Airbnb commercials lately, you would think most of its hosts were local families renting a spare room to help with the mortgage payment.  The reality is far different.

85% of Airbnb Oahu revenue comes from entire home listings

54% of Airbnb Oahu revenue comes from owners of 2 or more units

64% of Maui vacation rental units owned by non-Hawaii residents.

Almost all of Airbnb Oahu revenue comes from investors, commercial operators and entire-home renters.    They include companies like Hawaii Hideaways Inc., a Irvine, California company that has over 15 entire-home luxury home listings on Airbnb Oahu alone. They also include companies like Luxury Retreats, with numerous listings that start at $1,106 per night.


Read the CBRE Report on Airbnb Oahu Revenue

Of particular concern are the entire-home and multi-unit Airbnb listings in buildings ideal for workforce housing rentals.   A quick scan of Oahu Airbnb found more than a dozen locations (with dozens more likely) of entire-home rentals that could be available for local renters.

Why is this troubling?

A significant number of the illegal short-term rentals listed on Airbnb are the type that a local family would be able to afford.  A quick survey of Airbnb Oahu found dozens of units in condo towers and mid-rise apartment buildings listed on its site as a vacation rental.  The average monthly rent for many of these units ranges between $1,200 to $1,700 a month; but the investors who own these units realize they could make the equivalent of a month’s rent in a matter of days on Airbnb.

Hawaii families are heavily dependent on workforce rental housing, that’s increasingly harder to access

43% of Hawaii residents rent a home or condo unit.

Honolulu rents have skyrocketed by 33% over the last decade

A 2015 study by Honolulu’s Office of Community Services indicates that at 80 percent occupancy, the average Airbnb unit would bring in about 3.5 times more revenue than a long-term rental

22,202 more rental units needed in Hawaii over the next 10 years.


Data Sources 


Know the Facts

Oahu Surge of Illegal Short-Term Rentals Frustrates Neighbors & Government

The spread of vacation rentals into neighborhoods also is frustrating government officials and lawmakers who

have spent decades trying to ensure zoning laws are upheld and taxes are collected. The quest for a solution

has pitted neighbor against neighbor and challenged politicians, who must answer to divided constituencies.


Governor Ige Says Airbnb Hides Illegal Rentals

Gov. David Ige has vetoed a bill that would allow short-term accommodations brokers, such as Airbnb, to act as tax collection agents for the state,

along with six other measures that he found problematic for various reasons.  House Bill 1850, which became known as the “Airbnb bill” because of

the company’s heavy lobbying efforts to get it passed, would have potentially helped the state collect millions in unpaid transient accommodations

taxes. Officials with the Hawaii Department of Taxation supported the bill.   However, opponents of the measure argued that the bill would undermine

efforts to crack down on Hawaii’s pervasive illegal vacation rentals.

Illegal Kunia Rentals Spread Online

Several vacation rentals are being advertised at Kunia Loa Ridge Farmlands, with the operators using websites such as Airbnb to solicit customers

interested in staying on property with stunning views of Pearl Harbor and beyond, according to a Honolulu Star-Advertiser review of the websites.


Vacation Rental Conundrum Money Drives Competition Limits Oahu Housing

A group of BYU-Hawaii students and staff are working with the North Shore community to raise awareness about the illegal use of residential

properties as vacation rental houses.    Rebekah Matagi Walker, of the BYUH International Cultural Studies Department, is especially active in

the movement and explained, “At first glance, it’s a way for people to make their mortgage. What’s happening is it takes away residential space

and turns it in to commerce space. It drives up prices of homes within our community because outside investors are willing to pay top dollar for

what they see as a profitable investment.”


Illegal Rentals Skirt Law


Airbnb a Good Thing or Bad


Airbnb Asks City to Hold Off on Crackdown of Illegal Vacation Units


Airbnb Either a Drain or Boon for Hawaii


Airbnb Calls to Collect Taxes from Vacation Rental Owners


Report Indicates Illegal Vacation Rentals Far Outnumber Permitted Ones


Vacation Rentals Hurts Housing Supply


Vacation Rentals Revolving Door Strangers


Vacation Rental Scofflaws Beware


Find Out More

Other community groups across Hawaii have organized to fight the proliferation of illegal short-term vacation rentals in our

neighborhoods—click these links to learn more.


Save North Shore Neighborhoods

Keep It Kailua

Stop Illegal Rentals

My Kailua

Aikea Hawaii

Save Oahu Neighborhoods



Tell Us Your Stories

People across Hawaii are sharing their stores—from residents evicted from a rental home that converted into an illegal short-term rental, to horror stories of all night parties and behavior inappropriate for a neighborhood setting.

If you have been negatively affected by an illegal short-term vacation rental, please tell us your story. You are not alone, and together, we can work to keep our neighborhoods safe and make access to housing for residents and families a top priority.


Click Here to Tell Your Story


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