HomeNative HawaiianBills banning short term vacation rentals in Hawai'i discussed in legislature

Bills banning short term vacation rentals in Hawai’i discussed in legislature

Two bills that would ban short term vacation rentals in Hawai’i are making their way through the state legislature, ABC News reports.

State House Bill 1838 and Senate Bill 2919 are the two bills that could make that happen. According to SF Gate, HB 1838 passed its final committee hearing on March 28 and SB 2919 will undergo a final reading on April 11.

The bills are receiving support from local advocates but strong objections from corporate interests and vacationers.

Proponents of the bills see them as one avenue to address the housing crisis in Hawai’i.

“Short-term rentals in Hawai’i have proven to be more profitable than renting to local families, but this profit often comes at the cost of the communities where they’re located,” Gary S. Suganuma, Director of Taxation said in support of the House bill, according to ABC News.

According to SF Gate, many hope specifically that the bills will aid those who were displaced by the fire in Lahaina, Maui. In Lahaina, ABC News reports, the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization found that 25% of housing units are short-term rentals. The percentage increases to 41.8% in the south and 87% percent in the north.

Jordan Ruidas, founder and organizer of Lahaina Strong, told SF Gate she supports both bills.

“The thought of the possibility of my keiki [children] and my future grandchildren not being able to stay and live in Hawaii is haunting,” she told SF Gate.

“If we continue down the wrong path and don’t get a hold on short-term rentals that are wreaking havoc on our housing crisis in not only Maui, but all of Hawaii, the amount of locals leaving will be detrimental,” she added.

Owners of the short-term rentals are concerned about how the bill could impact things like vacation and retirement plans.

“I think this is a very unfair and probably illegal bill that is going to consume you considerably down the road. … It’s also very unfair to the aloha spirit,” Merrill Nisam, a physician from Marin County who owns two properties Maui, told SF Gate.

Nisam visits Maui frequently and hopes to retire in one of his two properties, but he told SF Gate he can only afford to do so if he is able rent out one of the properties.

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