Strict new rules and harsh penalties could be coming to vacation rentals on Oahu.
After hours of testimony, the City Council approved two bills that would severely limit the number of rentals, while putting heavy restrictions on those that would be allowed.
Bill 89 will allow about 1,700 more owner-occupied short-term vacation rentals on Oahu.
City Council Chairman Ikaika Anderson represents Windward Oahu where the issue has been controversial for decades — and says the bill is the way to move forward.
“The best and only way to address this issue is holistically, from the standpoint of both very strict enforcement and very limited permitting for owner-occupied short-term rental units, which Bill 89 does.”
City Council Chair Emeritus and bill co-author Ron Menor, speaking before the vote, said the vacation rental industry has done more harm than good for the state.
“The passage of Bill 89 CD2 will finally bring relief to residents and allow them to reclaim their neighborhoods, which have been increasingly overrun by illegal short-term rentals.”
Councilwoman Kymberly Pine says it was neither hotel industry pressure nor massive grassroots effort that swayed the vote.
“I think it was none of that. I think it was council members seeing the destruction of their own communities. For me, it was seeing my favorite street in Ewa Beach, where it used to be all local families, bought by a guy from Russia. He bought 10 homes, and completely changed the neighborhood.”
The bills go on to Mayor Kirk Caldwell, who is likely to sign Bill 89.
Conflicting language in Bill 85 puts its fate in question.