Honolulu County said goodbye to 2020 with a law that may change the short-term rental market on the Island for the better. In an effort to reduce the number of illegal short-term rental operations in the County of Honolulu, the County has signed two memoranda of understanding (MOU) with the short-term rental platforms, Airbnb and Vrbo.

The new law requires hosts to provide additional tax information per property in order to have an online listing with these two popular platforms. Any listings deemed by the Department of Planning and Permitting as non-compliant, will be removed.

The following are the detailed MOU agreements between Honolulu County, Airbnb, and Vrbo:

How will these short-term rental laws affect your online listing?

  • You will need to provide the City-issued Tax Map Key (“TMK”) and the Host’s Transient Accommodations Tax License number (“TAT”) on both platforms for your listing.
  • Your listing will be taken down from the above mentioned platforms if you don’t provide the new required information 61 days (January 25th, 2021) after implementation of the mandatory field or 61 days after the Department of Planning and Permitting’s issuance of the first B&B registration, whichever is later.
  • By February 22nd the two mandatory fields will be required when creating a new listing.
  • Failure to update a current listing with the required information will result in deactivation, however, the listing may be reactivated by providing the new required tax information.

How Short-Term Rental Laws May Benefit the Market in Honolulu

With Hawaii’s announcement of reopening their doors at the end of 2020, and the introduction of these memoranda with the two largest short-term vacation rental platforms in the online market, we are looking at a lot of change for the STR community in Honolulu County. 

Ensuring that the short-term vacation rentals being advertised on Airbnb and Vrbo are properly zoned and regulated is the main focus of the memoranda, this in turn will cull any currently advertised short-term rentals not up to standard. The ultimate goal appears to be to create a higher quality of hospitality for Honolulu County and raise bookings for local short-term rental hosts.

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