Council member seeks solutions to short-term vacation rental problem

Honolulu City Council member Ikaika Anderson

Honolulu City Council member Ikaika Anderson is reaching out to other lawmakers and the public to help tackle the issue of short-term vacation rentals on Oahu.

Anderson, who chairs the council’s Zoning and Planning Committee, is asking for people’s ideas by February 2 on how to deal with rentals that pop-up without the proper permits.

Back in July 2014, then-Honolulu City Council member Stanley Chang proposed a bill that focused on illegal commercial activities in residential neighborhoods, such as short-term vacation rentals (fewer than 30 days), unlicensed bed-and-breakfasts, and wedding businesses who do not pay transit accommodation taxes.

The resulting Bill 50 passed a first reading on Aug. 13, but was deferred in the Executive Matters and Legal Affairs Committee on Aug. 26.

“The issues of short-term vacation rentals in our residential communities is a very complex issue,” Anderson said. “If it were an easy issue, it would’ve been long ago resolved.”

Anderson has extended the invitation to Mayor Kirk Caldwell and his administration to be part of this decision process that will include public hearings.

“Back in the ’80s, the City and County of Honolulu decided there’d be a moratorium on new permits, non-conforming new certificates for short-term rental accomodations in residential communities,” he said.

Part of the problem has been the lack of enforcement of the law. Andersons said that the city “has 15 or fewer building inspectors. … They check everything from building code violations, electrical codes, to dilapidated sidewalks, and that’s been a lot of the issue. I’m hoping we’ll be able to work with the Dept. of Planning and Permitting and with the Mayor to iron this out.”

If you’re interested in submitting ideas about the issue of short-term vacation rentals, you can contact Council member Anderson’s office at 808-768-5003, email him at ianderson@honolulu.gov, or send a fax at 808-768-3750.

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