27 Replies Latest reply: Oct 3, 2019 8:04 AM by happyfeet RSS

    Hawaii County has new short term rental law! Bill 108

    jdgreggor Active Contributor

      Hawaii county has new law and regs regarding short term rentals. $500 registration fee, zoning, non-conforming use permits....

        • Re: Hawaii County has new short term rental law! Bill 108
          laurie_l Contributor

          Are you sure you have the correct bill. Are you referring to SB108? I don't think SB108 addresses vacation rentals. Perhaps I'm missing something.

            • Re: Hawaii County has new short term rental law! Bill 108
              sage Senior Contributor

              Hawaii County, i.e. the Big Island, is in the final stages of adopting regulations. To the best of my knowledge, the final reading at the County Council has yet to occur, and then the regs will go to the Mayor, but it seems to be a done deal. Other than perhaps the cost of registration (which I believe may vary depending on the zoning of the VR's location) the regs seem to strike a fair balance. All existing, legal (i.e. tax paying) VRs will be able to continue operation, but it is going to be difficult to have a new one in an area zoned residential or agriculture.

            • Re: Hawaii County has new short term rental law! Bill 108
              sage Senior Contributor

              Here is an article on the status of the proposed Hawaii County regulations:

              https://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/2019/03/25/hawaii-news/vacation-rental-rules-updated/

              And here is a link to the Planning Department page with information and links to the draft regulations:

              http://www.hiplanningdept.com/short-term-vacation-rentals/

              Note that the final public hearing on the proposed regulations is scheduled for April 2.

              • Re: Hawaii County has new short term rental law! Bill 108
                jdgreggor Active Contributor

                Sept 28th deadline for non-conforming use applications!

                 

                Required for stvr's in agricultural areas. Successful lobbying from effort from hotels to reduce the number of available rentals by unconstitutionally regulating use of our home.

                  • Re: Hawaii County has new short term rental law! Bill 108
                    happyfeet Contributor

                    I am trying to prepare the registration submittal to comply with these Short Term Vacation Rental (STVR) requirements.

                    I have found that there are not good instructions to follow so that one can submit the registration documents that are required.

                    Furthermore, many of the requirements are Impossible. So the only possibility I see is to do my best and make a submittal and see if it gets by -- or at least, see if the county officials will actually help me to provide the documents (which are buried with-in their own record system) -- they believe they need.

                    I know I'm not alone on this - there should be quite a few fellow STVR owners and managers on this Forum who have property on the Big Island of Hawaii who are in the same boat.

                    Maybe we could share knowledge and help each-other on this Forum a little? Let's try to work together to get this thing Done!

                    Happyfeet

                      • Re: Hawaii County has new short term rental law! Bill 108
                        hawaiiparadise Contributor

                        Do you need an NCU or just registration?    I'm not too familiar with the former but might be able to help regarding the latter.   Which ones are you struggling to provide?

                        • Re: Hawaii County has new short term rental law! Bill 108
                          sage Senior Contributor

                          For anyone who has not yet found the application form and instructions, it is on the planning department's site at http://www.hiplanningdept.com/short-term-vacation-rentals/.

                          many of the requirements are Impossible

                          Can you be specific? While some of the requirements could be onerous, none look to be impossible for a VR which had been operating legally prior to April 1 unless the dwelling is more than 5 bedrooms (if that is the case, the excess bedrooms may need to be converted to other purposes -- maybe what had been an 8 bedroom house becomes one with  5 bedrooms, a library, a game room, and a media room).

                            • Re: Hawaii County has new short term rental law! Bill 108
                              happyfeet Contributor

                              Sage & hawaiiparadise

                               

                              My condo is located within Fairway Villas in Waikoloa, Big Island, Hawaii. There are 166 condos contained within 15 buildings.  Approx 90% would need to register for STVR's per Bill 108. All buildings were built between 2001 & 2003. The majority have been used as Short-Term Vacation Rentals on a continuous basis.  A NUC (Non-Conforming Use) application is not required for this area.

                               

                              Look at item 7 titled "Site Plan" on pg 4 of the Linked 17 pg. Registration Packet linked above. (Of course, that Packet lists or contains what I must submit).

                               

                              I obtained 3 different types of "site plan" documents from our HOA. There seems to be no other source for these site plans. Each highlights different features and 2 of them supply most of the data requested. The Boundaries, Dimensions and Setbacks are shown. It might not be readable or complete but maybe that isn't specifically a listed requirement. Item 7 (e), "A table (on the site plan drawing I presume) listing all structures and their square footage" is definitely not provided on any of those drawings.

                               

                              Reference item 8 titled "Floor Plan" which is required. Again our HOA provided 5 possible floor plans. Again I don't know any other source for "Floor Plans". One of them is close to being a match to my condo. The kitchen layout is slightly different but that could be overlooked easily. The main problem is that it is a mirror image of my condo. Again one could overlook that too during a review. Other owners at Fairway Villas (whose occupations are related to Real Estate) advised that I hand write several confirmations on the floor plan document - probably due to their past experiences with dealing with the Planning Department who is responsible for approving the registration submital.

                              More specifically -- The use of each room and the room "dimensions of all spaces" are required on the site plan. I suppose I could get out my tape measure and hand write those in by hand on the site plan drawing. (I have no idea if the Planning Department  would want that or accept that anyway?)

                              Those are 2 good examples. I could also complain that some of the building permits (supplied by the Count of Hawaii are not good enough quality to be readable - so I'm not sure how the planning department would handle such a submital.

                               

                              Happyfeet 

                                • Re: Hawaii County has new short term rental law! Bill 108
                                  hawaiiparadise Contributor

                                  The table you need should be in the Declaration.   Find the last amendment, print the table which should show 100% of the units.   Your AOAO community manager should have this.   I believe the Planning Department may not emphasize this for your situation (condo in a resort).

                                   

                                  Planning is definitely requiring floor plans with all rooms dimensioned.  The floor plan usually is separate from the site plan.   Hand-written dimensions and room designations have been accepted.  So, yep pain the neck but take out your tape measure and do it, even for the bathrooms.  I suspect mirror-image will be OK, suggest to note it on the drawing. 

                                   

                                  For the building permits what's important is the final inspection date.  Check the County property tax record website and find your property.  For many properties the information shown includes a list of permits and inspection dates.  Print that out if available for yours.  The building permit area is a known mess so Planning may be lenient if there have not been any "recent" permits.

                                   

                                  Last suggestion - go talk to Planning.  Take what you have with you and ask for feedback.  We found them very helpful, just don't go near their cut off time for STVR applications (listed on the Planning Dept website).   Planning also has on file a lot of information and drawings.  You may be able to purchase some of what you need (I think about $1/page) from them.

                                   

                                  Good luck.  

                                    • Re: Hawaii County has new short term rental law! Bill 108
                                      happyfeet Contributor

                                      Reply to "The table you need should be in the Declaration. Find the last amendment, print the table which should show 100% of the units. Your AOAO community manager should have this. I believe the Planning Department may not emphasize this for your situation (condo in a resort)."

                                      I think You already know that AOAO ( I don't know what AOAO stands for --) is Fairway Villas management company. (or maybe You obviously are very familiar with "Fairway Villas" or maybe work in a Real Estate field on the Big Island (just guessing). Anyway AOAO already provided us through the on-site manager at Fairway Villas with several batches of documents they believed we needed to make our submital. I an not overly impressed with what they provided so far.

                                      They provided several "Site Plans" -- We have 15 condo buildings -- One of their site plans provided only showed 14 buildings. Bldg L with 14 condos was missing. (Maybe it was added to the site plan late). They also provided 14 building site building permit SUBMITALS. Not the final - completed building permits as the STVR application requires. Notice I said 14 permits -- again one was missing - Bldg "J".  And about 4 of those permits were unreadable. I could not read what bldg they pertained to.

                                      They provided 4 floor plans (Step 8 on the submital document) when there are really about 15 or 20 different layouts used at Fairway Villas.

                                      I decided it's not worth my time to deal with them and try to convince them to provide the correct data to us all.

                                      I think it's interesting to note that the "final inspections Dates" in the 2001 - 2003 time frame often occur about 8 months after the building condos are already sold and occupied. - Is that normal in most states?

                                      I believe you are correct that talking to planning - in person should work pretty good. I could bring in all my stuff in advance and show it to them and let them review it. Except there is one catch -- I don't live there. I'm actually in my own condo now on vacation. But I didn't bring all my stuff with me.

                                      So I'm going to do what the locals suggest. I'm just going to submit "My Best Effort" and if they ask for additional information, I'll just deal with what they specifically ask for rather than try to guess what they might want or accept.

                                      I'm not used to dealing this way -- With the IRS I wouldn't dream of submitting the correct information on the wrong form because I couldn't get the correct form -- for example.

                                      Thank-you for your help and insights, BTW

                                      HappyFeet

                                    • Re: Hawaii County has new short term rental law! Bill 108
                                      sage Senior Contributor

                                      It has been my experience that the Hawaii County Planning Department employees are actually helpful and reasonable. Rely on information from them rather than other owners, even those "whose occupations are related to Real Estate."

                                       

                                      I know that there are many VR owners on the island who have become so worked up over the new requirements that they see a fairly routine administrative process as being an extreme burden. Relax, but be sure to get your questions answered promptly so you can file the application well before the deadline. And be aware that it is not unusual for initial applications for permits of any type to be amended/supplemented if the reviewing official finds them to be incomplete.

                                       

                                      As long as you make a good faith effort with your application, I think you will be fine. Keep in mind that it is not VRs such as yours that are seen as the problem requiring the new law, but rather single family dwellings in residential neighborhoods, and especially those in buildings that were constructed, or modified, without permits and inspections, and therefore might contain conditions that endanger anyone staying in them. And those who have been operating without paying the TAT on their rentals may have some serious explaining to do.

                              • Re: Hawaii County has new short term rental law! Bill 108
                                jdgreggor Active Contributor

                                It took a month to complete a nuc registration application form. Finally mailed it off this last week. Between the effort , time, mailings, taxes, new registration tax of $500, service fees from websites, etc. , I just don't know if it is all worth it.

                                  • Re: Hawaii County has new short term rental law! Bill 108
                                    happyfeet Contributor

                                    jdgreggor

                                     

                                    I still haven't submitted mine yet -- I'm in the last stages, but higher priorities are biting me -- I'll submit it in a few days.

                                    I'm pretty sure I've spent 3 or 4 weeks of 8 hr days trying to do this properly -- but now I'm just going to submit my best effort and go on.

                                     

                                    I do believe the that the County of Hawaii has chosen to Torture us for being a part of the Vacation / Tourist Industry, even though, as I pointed out above -- there is no other Industry here on this Island.

                                     

                                    Somehow or for some unknown (to me) reason -- I believe the Hawaiians just dream of living on the beach under a tree, without the responsibilities of the 20th century and just hope all us who aren't "True Hawaiians" just go away.

                                     

                                    HappyFeet

                                      • Re: Hawaii County has new short term rental law! Bill 108
                                        jdgreggor Active Contributor

                                        I think the hotels have bought off the local politicians to decrease competition by buying dinners and such. The law benefits realtors and property managers as well by providing extra work for them to submit applications for owners that are overwhelmed.

                                         

                                        If they , the politicians, truly wanted to increase stocks of long term rentals, they would have made laws that are not so tenant biased. I will never ever ever ever rent long term again in Hawaii. We have been burned too many times, costing thousands of dollars.

                                          • Re: Hawaii County has new short term rental law! Bill 108
                                            happyfeet Contributor

                                            I've talked to a few people who live on the Island permanently, I think they are unhappy that there isn't more housing available for the residents who work and live on the Big Island permanently. I don't know why there seems to be a shortage of housing in general if that is the case. I have always believed that the laws of "supply and demand" should create more supply of housing if that is needed. I don't know why that isn't working on the Big Island, but I wouldn't be surprised if the local government might also be responsible for restricting the creation of new housing and has a hand in causing the problem.

                                             

                                            I'm sure that if a survey was conducted asking potential long term renters if they would like to rent a condo in Fairway Villas in Waikoloa (my condo location) -- most working class residents would respond with a nasty snirk -- and a "Are you kidding! -- I don't want to live in some resort!"

                                            We condo owners are minding our own business by providing "Short Term Vacation Rentals" and I think the local residents want to live in the communities they desire or are familiar with near their families, schools, and employment, etc.

                                            So I just don't see the reasoning for the government to pick on us basically with this form of harassment. It would be easy enough to simply make Fairway Villas and similar condominium complexes totally exempt. Of course, the county would want to collect the $500 fee. That's what politicians do. Tax those who don't vote in the next election --

                                             

                                            Happyfeet

                                              • Re: Hawaii County has new short term rental law! Bill 108
                                                jdgreggor Active Contributor

                                                The reason that there is a shortage of long term rentals is that property owners have been burned too many times trying to rent their space to people that don't pay their rent, try to barter their rent for services that don't suit the owner, and the laws that are in place to protect the renter even after a failure to pay rent. It takes an average of three months to evict a tenant which is too long in my opinion. Then you have to clean up their mess and refurbish the place for the next tenant. Add to that the fact that you cannot use your property while it is rented out.

                                                 

                                                You can't stay at our home unless there is a ticket to fly in and a ticket to fly out. It is just better all around that way!

                                                  • Re: Hawaii County has new short term rental law! Bill 108
                                                    happyfeet Contributor

                                                    BTW I did get my STVR application mailed in yesterday. I double checked everything more than I would do for an income tax return - I guess I'm just paranoid -- probably for good reason.

                                                     

                                                    I've heard that the eviction procedures favor the tenant in Hawaii -- and have even been warned that some renters play that game by bouncing from one unsuspecting out-of state owner to the next -- never staying at a rental where they actually intend to make payments.

                                                     

                                                    But like I said above -- the county or state government causes that. Those out of state owners can't vote so let's play politics accordingly.

                                                    I'm not going to waste my time studying what the fix to the problem should be -- except to suggest that the lawmakers study and copy what works for the rest of the United States.

                                                     

                                                    The political press and the politicians work together I notice -- The press never seems to present both sides of the story. -- and I suspect you are right - the big hotels and resorts are laughing out loud the whole time.

                                                     

                                                    Happyfeet 

                                                      • Re: Hawaii County has new short term rental law! Bill 108
                                                        jdgreggor Active Contributor

                                                        I just had our nuc application rejected upon submittal in Kona. The clerk did not issue a letter of denial which is necessary in order to apply for an appeal with the board of appeals.

                                                          • Re: Hawaii County has new short term rental law! Bill 108
                                                            jdgreggor Active Contributor

                                                            Anyway, we are mailing in our packet to the Hilo side even though we have been told it would be denied and would be issued a letter of denial. With that letter, we can appeal the ruling.

                                                             

                                                            The reason for denial is that we are in a state Ag zone vs. an Ag zone. The significance is lost on me. We have next door neighbors that essentially have a junk yard on one side , an automotive repair shop on the other side, and a bakery above us. Yet the use of a 2br home will probably not be approved for use as a 2br home for occasional rentals of less than 31 days.

                                                             

                                                            VRBO has called us this morning to ascertain if we will receive a nuc registration. They want us to change our nightly minimum to 31 days. I won't change anything about our rental until we go through the appeal process. I anticipate that the appeal will be denied.

                                                             

                                                            The county says that our lot was created in 1991, yet the home's original permit to begin building was issued in 1978. The lot must have been created prior to construction and the previous lot subdivision date was in 1969. By the terms of the new law, the lot must have been created prior to 1976. The problem remaining is that if the lot had been subsequently re-subdivided, that the new date is used by the county.

                                                             

                                                            The planning dept website states that there is a path to continue operation of a STR by applying for the nonconforming use permit but it is apparent that the county is not abiding by their statement.

                                                              • Re: Hawaii County has new short term rental law! Bill 108
                                                                jdgreggor Active Contributor

                                                                The deck is most certainly stacked against us determining how our home is to be used by this unconstitutional law. Any others in this same boat? The map shows over 300 rentals in our surrounding neighborhoods.

                                                                  • Re: Hawaii County has new short term rental law! Bill 108
                                                                    happyfeet Contributor

                                                                    jdgreggor

                                                                     

                                                                    I'm afraid I can't help much. It does look like the deck is stacked against you. Just from me knowing how government offices are often managed, the middle level manager might have an internal goal the politicians above him set to only approve a certain low percentage of NUC applications, which forces the working level to find unstated reasons for rejecting applications. Again, politics often comes into play because the individual workers are seldom given a free hand to use their knowledge and reasoning to make the decision.

                                                                     

                                                                    Happyfeet

                                                                      • Re: Hawaii County has new short term rental law! Bill 108
                                                                        droptop Contributor

                                                                        jdgreggor

                                                                        happyfeet

                                                                         

                                                                        You don't need to tread softly in suggesting that TVRs are a marked entity in Hawaii.  A group called RBOAA (Rental by Owner Awareness Association) has been active since 2012 countering those who would strip us of our properties, or our ability to operate them as TVRs.  First, property managers wanted us wiped out so the only rentals could be through them.  Failed miserably, due to our efforts, but in one of the great strategic blunders, their desire to have legislators nationalize our properties and award their operation to property managers awakened hoteliers, who then, and now, don't think anything is needed, other than a hotel monopoly.

                                                                         

                                                                        But we fight hard and effectively in the state legislature, so we win.  As a result, the Hawaii Hotel Association turned its attention to Counties.  Armed with money and the support of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, a body comprising mostly hoteliers, that was the new battleground, witness Oahu, and Hawaii results.   And Maui property taxes for TVRs up by 40% this year -- I now pay $5,300 a year in property tax for my 550 square foot condo, up from $3,200 last year.

                                                                         

                                                                        With the Hawaii Tourism Authority claiming that TVRs cause everything from warts to climate change, and the hoteliers pushing for a hotel monopoly in the state through the Counties, you are indeed, up against a stacked deck.

                                                                         

                                                                        Our small group is effective at the state level, but can't take on the Counties -- we're volunteers and have days jobs in the US and Canada!  But as you and we on Maui are experiencing, Counties are a new battleground, and owners will have to get organized at that level.

                                                                    • Re: Hawaii County has new short term rental law! Bill 108
                                                                      sage Senior Contributor

                                                                      The reason for denial is that we are in a state Ag zone vs. an Ag zone. The significance is lost on me. We have next door neighbors that essentially have a junk yard on one side , an automotive repair shop on the other side, and a bakery above us. Yet the use of a 2br home will probably not be approved for use as a 2br home for occasional rentals of less than 31 days.

                                                                      It sounds as if your problem lies not with the County, but rather with the state. Being in State ag land you are, and have been, subject to HRS §205-4.5. Regardless of what your neighbors may be doing, if your use was not permitted under that, then you will likely be out of luck. Looking at §205-4.5(b) it appears that your problem may be due to the 1991 subdivision. " [N]o subdivision of land within the agricultural district . . . shall be approved by a county unless those . . . lands within the subdivision are made subject to the restriction on uses as prescribed in this section and to the condition that the uses shall be primarily in pursuit of an agricultural activity . . .." That appears to say that the 1991 subdivision wiped out the previous exemption and the County may be applying that correctly. I have seen other instances on Hawaii ag lands that resulted in the loss of grandfathered rights due to a later, unrelated action affecting the lands.

                                                                       

                                                                      However, all may not be lost. From the language you use it sounds as if you may live on the same TMK lot as your rental. If that is the case, I would question whether your rental even meets the definition of "short-term vacation rental" because it is limited to "a dwelling unit of which the owner or operator does not reside on the building site . . .." If, by definition, yours is not a short-term vacation rental, then the ordinance would not apply. But do not rely on my comments in lieu of consulting an attorney.

                                                                       

                                                                      As an aside, I would observe that perhaps the greatest flaw in the County ordinance is that it excludes from the definition of short-term vacation rental houses with more than five bedrooms, so if someone builds a monster house in a residential neighborhood for use as a virtual hotel, it may be allowed even though it could be more disruptive to the neighborhood than the regulated houses. See https://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/2018/03/04/hawaii-news/california-couples-mini-hotel-draws-complaints/.

                                                                  • Re: Hawaii County has new short term rental law! Bill 108
                                                                    happyfeet Contributor

                                                                    Well --- The 28th of Sep has come and gone. Has anyone else received any word about their STVR submital?

                                                                    They cashed my $500 check but I haven't heard a thing from the County of Hawaii.

                                                                    Happyfeet

                                                                      • Re: Hawaii County has new short term rental law! Bill 108
                                                                        hawaiiparadise Contributor

                                                                        Yes, we know permits have been issued.  Our first came 100 days after we submitted an acceptable application.   The letter was dated at 90 days as required in the ordinance but somehow mailed 9 days later.

                                                                         

                                                                        If you have passed the 15 day clock with no questions your application is deemed complete.  Assuming your submittal was >15 days ago and you didn't get a letter indicating that (they may have stopped sending those - not sure) you may want to swing by the Planning office or send an email just to check though.  

                                                                         

                                                                        You will hear the result probably sometime a bit after the 90th day.   Planning is swamped and seems to be taking action only at the last minute (at least as far as the documents indicate).

                                                                          • Re: Hawaii County has new short term rental law! Bill 108
                                                                            happyfeet Contributor

                                                                            I submitted my application 3 Sep '19. No I didn't get a letter or E-mail or any communication of any sort. but they did cash my $500 check.

                                                                            It's good to know you have been approved already on some applications. I didn't know the county had 90 days to comply with processioning our submitals.

                                                                            But it doesn't surprise me that it is taking 90 days. I can't swing by - I don't live there. I would only try an E-mail or call if I thought it would help my chances. It might just annoy them instead.

                                                                            So 90 days for me will be about 3 Dec '19 or 13 Dec '19 if I we count 100 days --  including the extra "Mailing" time.

                                                                            Thanks for taking the time to respond.