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Welcome to the website of Rental by Owner Awareness Association

News Alert!  See February 25, 2017 Posting Below.

We are a Hawaii non-profit organization of property owners who have banded together to educate the public, property owners, and the legislature about "rental by owner" and to protect the rights of property owners. Our officers and committee members serve on a volunteer basis.

On our website, you will find a wealth of information that will help you to understand what we do and the issues that are important for owners to understand.

We invite you to participate with us and volunteer your time to assist us in the many activities in which we are engaged to protect the rights of property owners.  Your annual membership fees and donations allow us to carry on our activities, to hire attorneys to advise us and to hire lobbyists to represent us to the Hawaiian legislature.

Please consider joining us or renewing your membership now.

Membership requirements:

  • Property ownership in the Hawaiian Islands

  • Compliance with state and county laws including taxation collection and remittance and county bylaws.

 The cost for membership is $100.00 annually.


February 25, 2017.  NEWS ALERT!!! 

Immediate Action Needed!

There are two bills your RBOAA team is very concerned about and last night, notice was posted that both are being heard on Tuesday morning.  Both bills are generating hundreds of pages of submitted testimony, so we are going to try a different approach and ask that you call or email the committee members directly and voice your opposition.  We are providing the emails and phone numbers of the committee members as well as some suggested comments for you to make.

SB683 and SB686.  Increase to property tax   The State is proposing to amend the constitution in order to increase property taxes on those who own residential property which is rented out and on vacation rental owners.  We would be hit with both taxes.  The numbers are not insignificant.  If your property is worth $400,000, your annual tax bill would go by $3225 - $1400 from the residential tax and $1825 from the vacation rental property tax.  For me personally, this doubles my property tax bill.

Your increase in residential property tax can be calculated as:   Value of your property divided by 1000 times by the rate in the chart below.   Your transient rental property tax is calculated as $5 times 365 days per year.   Add the two numbers together.

Property Value

Surcharge per $1000 of property value

Under $500,000 $3.50
$500,000- $750,000 $4.50
$750,000-$1,000,000 $5.50
$1,000,000 - $2,000,000 $6.50
$2,000,000 and over $7.50

Not only is the increase a significant amount, but the property tax is only imposed on those who own vacation rentals and those who rent out residential property.  That group comprises only 2% of the total assessed value of property in the State of Hawaii and that group already pays 3.5% of the property tax in the State of Hawaii.   The bill has gained public support as the funds are earmarked to pay for education and higher salaries for teachers.

Suggested Comments.  Here are some suggested comments you could make in your emails or phone calls   My name is {  } and I own a vacation rental in {  }.  I am writing / calling to express my opposition to SB 683.

  • Vacation rental property owners already pay property taxes that are 3 to 4 times higher than residential home owners

  • My property tax bill will increase by [  ] which will [double] my property tax bill.

  • Education benefits everyone and so the cost of education should be borne by everyone.

  • The group of taxpayers targeted by this bill owns 2.0% of the assessed taxable value in the State, but pays 3.5% of the property tax in the State.

  • This bill puts the cost of education solely on the shoulders of a small minority of taxpayers.  That is discriminatory and unjustified.

  • Applying this tax increase to all taxpayers would result in only a very small increase for everyone, rather than a large increase for a few.

  • Don’t create bad tax policy for political popularity.

  • (If you really want to get fired up, you could go on to say – This bill is protectionist and isolationist and will only result in decreased investment in Hawaii.  It is nothing more than an attack on tourists and an attack on companies who rent accommodation to others.)

HB 1471 - Advertising Platforms as Tax Collection Agents   This bill became very complicated and very onerous after the last committee when the bill was amended to make it mandatory for advertising platforms to become tax collection agents.  The move to make it mandatory has two implications.  1) It sets us on the path to become a regulated industry – something we fought tooth and nail against a few years ago.  2) For advertising platforms who do not want to or cannot become tax collectors (think VRBO and HomeAway), they will not be able to accept advertisements from Hawaii vacation rental owners.  Either way, the amendments were designed to shut us down.    This bill was never close to being good legislation but we had been optimistic it could be improved.  Now, we simply have to stop this bill.

Suggested Comments.  Here are some suggested comments you could make in your email or phone message.   Aloha.  My name is { } and I own a legal vacation rental in { }.  I am calling to express my profound/deep/intense opposition to HB 1471.

  • Making it mandatory for advertising platforms to become tax collectors is a very negative attack on legal vacation rental operators.  This is either the first step in making vacation rentals a regulated industry in Hawaii or an attempt to ban advertising platforms from accepting advertisements in Hawaii.

  • The tourist industry is dependent on legal vacation rentals to provide accommodation for the tourists who visit the islands every year.

  • I have been operating for [x] years.  I have always paid my GET and TAT correctly and on time since I started.  I am in compliance with my county zoning requirements.  I don’t need a private company to police me.

  • The bill offers no consumer protection to owners or to travelers

  • The bill makes transient vacation rental owners the only taxpayers in the USA who are required to use a private company to oversee their tax compliance.

  • This bill puts a private company in between the tax payer and the State, putting both parties at risk.

  • The bill opens the door to fraudulent tax collection agents

  • The bill penalizes both the Dept of Taxation and vacation rental operators who are compliant.

  • The advertising platforms will choose to stop accepting Hawaii advertisers rather than comply with all the onerous requirements.  That will lead to a drop in TAT of $100 million per year.

  • The tax collection agents will increase the fees charged to vacation rental owners.  Vacation rental owners are not getting rich off their investments in Hawaii.

  • The state will pay the tax collection agents to collect taxes the State now collects for free

Contacts for Hawaii State Senators.  This table lists the contact information for all Senators.  The names bolded are hearing SB683 on Tuesday morning.

Baker ,  Rosalyn H. (D) 808-586-6070
Chang ,  Stanley (D) 808-586-8420
Dela Cruz  Donovan M.(D) 808-586-6090
English  J. Kalani (D) 808-587-7225
Espero ,  Will (D) 808-586-6360
Gabbard  Mike (D) 808-586-6830
Galuteria  Brickwood (D) 808-586-6740
Green ,  Josh (D) 808-586-9385
Harimoto  Breene (D) 808-586-6230
Ihara ,  Les Jr. (D) 808-586-6250
Inouye  Lorraine R. (D) 808-586-7335
Kahele  Kaiali‘i (D) 808-586-6760
Keith-Agaran  Gilbert S.C. (D) 808-586-7344
Kidani ,  Michelle N. (D) 808-586-7100
Kim  Donna Mercado (D) 808-587-7200
Kouchi ,  Ronald D. (D) 808-586-6030
Nishihara ,  Clarence K. (D) 808-586-6970
Rhoads  Karl (D) 808-586-6130
Riviere  Gil (D) 808-586-7330
Ruderman ,  Russell E. (D) 808-586-6890
Shimabukuro  Maile S.L.(D) 808-586-7793
Taniguchi  Brian T. (D) 808-586-6460
Thielen  Laura H. (D) 808-586-6460
Tokuda  Jill N. (D) 808-587-7215
Wakai  Glenn (D) 808-586-8585

Contacts for Hawaii State Representatives.  This table lists all the members of the House of Representatives.  The names bolded are hearing HB1471 on Tuesday morning.

Aquino ,  Henry J.C. (D) 808-586-6520
Belatti ,  Della Au (D) 808-586-9425
Brower ,  Tom (D) 808-586-8520
Cachola  Romy M. (D) 808-586-6010
Choy  Isaac W. (D) 808-586-8475
Creagan ,  Richard P. (D) 808-586-9605
Cullen  Ty J.K. (D) 808-586-8490
DeCoite  Lynn (D) 808-586-6790
Evans ,  Cindy (D) 808-586-8510
Fukumoto ,  Beth (R) 808-586-9460
Gates  Cedric Asuega (D) 808-586-8460
Har ,  Sharon E. (D) 808-586-8500
Hashem ,  Mark J. (D) 808-586-6510
Holt  Daniel (D) 808-586-6180
Ichiyama ,  Linda (D) 808-586-6220
Ing ,  Kaniela (D) 808-586-8525
Ito ,  Ken (D) 808-586-8470
Johanson ,  Aaron Ling (D) 808-586-9470
Keohokalole  Jarrett (D) 808-586-8540
Kobayashi  Bertrand (D) 808-586-6310
Kong ,  Sam Satoru (D) 808-586-8455
Lee ,  Chris (D) 808-586-9450
LoPresti  Matthew S. (D) 808-586-6080
Lowen  Nicole E. (D) 808-586-8400
Luke  Sylvia (D) 808-586-6200
Matsumoto ,  Lauren Kealohilani (R) 808-586-9490
McDermott ,  Bob (R) 808-586-9730
McKelvey ,  Angus L.K. (D) 808-586-6160
Mizuno ,  John M. (D) 808-586-6050
Morikawa ,  Dee (D) 808-586-6280
Nakamura  Nadine K. (D) 808-586-8435
Nakashima ,  Mark M. (D) 808-586-6680
Nishimoto ,  Scott Y. (D) 808-586-8515
Ohno ,  Takashi (D) 808-586-9415
Onishi ,  Richard H.K. (D) 808-586-6120
Oshiro ,  Marcus R. (D) 808-586-6700
Quinlan  Sean (D) 808-586-6380
Saiki ,  Scott K. (D) 808-586-8485
San Buenaventura , Joy A. (D) 808-586-6530
Say ,  Calvin K.Y. (D) 808-586-6900
Souki ,  Joseph M. (D) 808-586-6100
Takayama ,  Gregg (D) 808-586-6340
Takumi ,  Roy M. (D) 808-586-6170
Thielen ,  Cynthia (R) 808-586-6480
Todd ,  Chris (D) 808-586-8480
Tokioka  James Kunane(D) 808-586-6270
Tupola  Andria P.L. (R) 808-586-8465
Ward  Gene (R) 808-586-6420
Woodson ,  Justin H. (D) 808-586-6210
Yamane ,  Ryan I. (D) 808-586-6150
Yamashita  Kyle T. (D) 808-586-6330





Preview of the 2017 Hawaii Legislative Session 

The Hawaii Legislature opened in January and will run until about mid-May.    To understand the 2017 session, we need to remember last year.  The 2016 session ended with Governor Ige vetoing the bill which would allow the advertising platforms to collect and remit taxes on behalf of the operators.    One of the main criticisms of vacation rentals, whether true or not, is that we do not collect and remit taxes.  The hotel industry uses that argument across the nation to support increased regulation of vacation rentals.  The bill had put forward in an attempt to crack down on tax cheats.  During the session, the bill took on additional burdens – namely the requirement for advertising platforms to ensure owners complied with county zoning regulations.

Those themes have become front and center in 2017.    There are 20 bills currently on the table dealing with vacation rentals and they boil down to four themes.

  1. Advertising Platforms (such as VRBO) can collect and remit taxes on behalf of operators (you).

  2. Travelers to Hawaii and people and companies who provide accommodation to the travelers should pay more in tax.

  3. People who rent out property on a secondary or accessory basis should be limited to renting out no more than 60 nights per year and owning no more than one or two properties.  (More on this below)

  4. Counties should be allowed to change zoning to eliminate transient vacation rentals.  This proposal comes up each year, but this year, it only applies to the County of Kauai.

Please see the News section of our website for a list of the current bills and, as we become aware, their status.

Update on the 2016 Hawaii Legislative Session

This session saw the introduction of a number of bills that would have revisited some of the issues that eventually lead to the passage of Act 204 in 2015.  See the details below in the "The 2015 Hawaiian Legislative Session."  None of them gained any traction and we believe that legislators are waiting to see how Act 204 plays out.

However, there continue to be numerous proposals floating around which would significantly and negatively impact the way we do things.  The most onerous which comes up often is one we have seen implemented in other parts of the country; it is to make us into a regulated industry.  This would require each of us to get a license from the state and/or the county, meet whatever criteria was set out (annual financial audits, surprise inspections, health and safety requirements, use of real estate agents, hiring only unionized cleaners), pay annual fees, etc.  Being a regulated industry would also give the Dept. of Consumer Affairs in Hawaii the right to revoke your license at will – meaning, one day you could be legitimate and the next day you would have to cancel all your bookings.  Yes, this is a worst case scenario, but it is not an improbable scenario.

The 2015 Hawaii Legislative Session.  SB519 SD2 HD3 CD1 (“SB519”) is now Act 204

In January, we faced almost a dozen bills which could have impacted our transient vacation rentals.  In the end, only one survived -- SB519 – which became Act 204.   On July 2, 2015 Governor Ige signed SB519 into law and is now known as Act 204.  Generally, this bill covers Local Contacts, Advertising and Tax Compliance for Transient Rentals.  The latest version of the bill was posted on the legislative website Saturday, May 2, 2015 and can be accessed through this link:  SB519 CD1.htm

This is a very good outcome for RBOAA members and all those who own or own and operate rental accommodations in Hawaii. There is no doubt that we would be in a very different place, and a very disadvantageous place, had it not been for all the efforts of the RBOAA membership.  We banded together and made strong, passionate and logical arguments to the Legislators.

Please note that this bill replaced Act 326 which ceased to have force on December 31, 2015.  SB519/Act 204 carried forward indefinitely within the Transient Accommodations Tax Act certain key provisions of Act 326.


The following is an email sent to all Hawaiian Senators and Representatives offering to work together to resolve the challenges posed by TVR and the unsubstantiated claims being made:


Dear Hawaii Senators and State Representatives:

I’m writing to you in the hope that we might work together to put in place a consistent, effective approach to the state’s array of accommodation offerings including owner-operated transient accommodations and agency-managed transient accommodations.

This legislative session — and the four legislative sessions prior — have witnessed a number of bills introduced that offer widely disparate statements as to the definition, quantity, and legality of these types of transient accommodations. Whether the description is Individual Visitor Units (IVUs), Individually Advertised Units (IAUs), Transient Vacation Rentals (TVRs), or Transient Vacation Units (TVUs), we do not believe that Hawaii wishes to put an end to this type of accommodation, nor do we believe Hawaii wants to send a message that such options are to be denied to consumers. But the attacks on this popular vacation option has seen Hawaii legislators criticized for advancing bills that create monopolies for hotels or property managers.

READ MORE (click here)



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