2 Replies Latest reply: Mar 1, 2018 3:15 PM by droptop RSS

    2018 Hawaii Airbnb bill very much alive, "has mutated into something quite frightening"

    droptop Contributor

      Just in case anyone read an earlier re-post from 2017, below, and thinks it pertains to the 2018 Airbnb/Homeaway bill.  If you're a Hawaii owner and haven't joined RBOAA, you're very likely to be missing out on key information that impacts you -- like tax increases and when they take effect, and new legislation that could curtail your TVR.

       

      This is from the Hawaii Rental by Owner Awareness Association on the 2018 Airbnb/Homeaway bill:

       

      Legislature Update  -- Legislature 2018 Now in Session

       

      The legislature started up again in mid-January and originally about 30 bills were introduced which could affect you.  As predicted, most of them fell away, so it probably good we didn’t bore with the full list a few weeks ago.  And one bill we wouldn’t have mentioned three weeks ago is now top of the list.  The bills which remain are quite concerning, as usual.

      SB2963
      This bill is the latest iteration of the AirBnB as tax collector bill that we have seen for the past three years.  However, it has mutated into something quite frightening.  How AirBnB can continue to support the bill is a complete mystery.  (If you advertise with AirBnB, you might ask them!)

      In a nutshell, SB 2963 includes:

      1. An amnesty program for those who haven’t been totally on-board with their zoning permits, GET and TAT collection and remittance.  We have been asking for this provision for year, so good to see it is finally on the table.
      2. The advertising broker ( i.e. AirBnB) may collect and remit tax on behalf of all advertisers.  However, if they mess up, AirBnB and the owner are jointly and severally liable for all taxes.  So, if AirBnB collects TAT and doesn’t remit it, you are potentially on the hook.  The bill also requires AirBnb to provide details of how many nights were rented, the rates per night, the address and name and number of the local contact – and this information can be made available to the Counties.  The County of Honolulu has been asking for this for years to help detect compliance with their complex permitting requirements.
      3. All operators must provide proof of compliance with all zoning, land use and tax laws.  Our concern here is in providing positive proof of compliance – how do you prove you are legal in every regard.  The Counties have no system to accommodate this.
      4. Failure to comply with any tax or zoning law is considered a Class C Felony (more than one year in prison).  The bill also provides for not only seizure of the property but also all income earned from operating a vacation rental.The bill also allows counties to phase out all transient accommodation in any zone for any reason.

      RBOAA is actively opposing this bill, but, we need to warn you that the legislators want this bill to pass and have cleared away a lot of procedural steps to ensure that it does go through.This bill has already cleared the Senate and the next step is to be heard by a House Committee (we don’t know which one or when).

        • Re: 2018 Hawaii Airbnb bill very much alive, "has mutated into something quite frightening"
          anja Senior Contributor

          droptop wrote:

           

          [...]  If you're a Hawaii owner and haven't joined RBOAA, you're very likely to be missing out on key information that impacts you -- like tax increases and when they take effect, and new legislation that could curtail your TVR.[...]

           

           

          Correct!  Wake Up Everyone....

          Hawaii owners -- whether they be full-time, part-time residents or off-island property owners better pay attention...better get involved by, first, signing up with RBOAA for their updates...and second -- submitting your (written) testimony when RBOAA informs us it's time to speak up for ourselves in defense of our TVRs.  It's easy to sign up for legislative updates on what's being discussed....how the bills are progressing  .or not....the amendments...what's passing into law. ...go to the RBOAA website.  Speak up in your (our) defense ....let the HI legislators know what is at state for you (us) ...island visitors...our island economy...our personal economy....local jobs....hospitality / tourism overall in Hawaii.  Want to know what to do?  Sign up with RBOAA and SPEAK UP to the legislators when we are asked by RBOAA to submit our testimony ...via email.  RBOAA makes it easy for us to SPEAK UP (they email us the links...they even draft a response to use...or you can write your own). The point is...we must not sit passively and let hotel lobbyists and anti-TVR others... be the only voices the legislators hear ...we must be heard.  RBOAA | Rental By Owner Awareness Association

            • Re: 2018 Hawaii Airbnb bill very much alive, "has mutated into something quite frightening"
              droptop Contributor

              Good points, Anja.

               

              And a minor one triggered by your comment on the op-ed, and the earlier poster unaware of a tax increase in Hawaii that garnered front-page stories for most of last summer, because of the rare summer session of the legislature to debate just that one issue.  Vacation rentals are being targeted everywhere.  If anyone thinks Hawaii is aggressive, check out what Vancouver and the Province of BC did to one of the most expensive housing markets in North America: Foreign buyers' tax, then an increase in it to 20%, and an expansion of it to other parts of the province; vacation rentals in Vancouver limited to rooms in your house, while you're there (save for your personal annual holiday); taxes of 2% on properties worth more than a couple of million; empty-house tax of about the same if you're not renting out your second property to long-term rentals; and, a tax applied to foreign- and out-of-province owned properties whose owners are not resident of, or paying taxes in, the province.  Translation?  Vacation rentals are a plague on affordability of home ownership, and the rental market, and BC wants rid of them.  Full stop.

               

              The point is, it's getting complex to operate a TVR in many locations.  If you're not subscribing to your major state or province newspaper, you're not reading the paper that most electeds read, and that shapes their views.  For those in Hawaii, a subscription to the legislators' go-to read, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser costs me $59 USD a year for the online print-replica edition, which looks like the real paper.  Why is that important?  Because it's essential to know a story's placement in the paper, and whether it got art, or teased on the front page, or is above the fold, or buried after the classifieds. 

               

              I wouldn't run a vacation rental without making sure I had a subscription to the city, province, or state's major paper.  Especially when, in Hawaii's case, bills want to make a failure to comply with these laws a Class C felony.