April 13, 2019 Legislative Update


Dear RBOAA Members:

It’s been a busy couple of months at the Hawaii Legislature, and it’s important that all members know where we stand.  At this point, three bills have progressed through the legislature that will affect our vacation rentals.

HB 419 — Significant new language was recently added to this bill.  In its latest form, the bill requires the Counties to set up a database of owners of short-term vacation rentals.  It also requires hosting platforms (VRBO, Airbnb, etc.) to report to the Counties the address of the vacation-rental property, the amount collected for rents, and days stayed at the rentals.  It also requires the hosting platforms to collect and remit the General Excise and Transient Accommodations taxes (GET and TAT).

SB 1292 — This bill allows the hosting platforms to collect and remit GET and TAT, and requires owners to inform hosting platforms that the hosting platform must ensure that the owner’s GET and TAT numbers, and the name of their Local Contact for the vacation rental are contained in all advertising of the vacation rental by the hosting platform.

HB 1042 — This bill requires that anyone who collects rent on behalf of a transient accommodation must, at the operator’s year-end, provide to the Hawaii Department of Taxation the name, address, Social Security Number/Tax ID of the operator, the amount of the GET and TAT collected during the operating year, and the total amount of rent collected during the operating year.

We are still not sure what these bills will ultimately look like as there are still several weeks left in this year’s Legislative session.  We will keep you posted as to their progress and content.

County Action:

As you may know, RBOAA has always been concerned with state-level legislation and regulation, as that is the best focus for us given our volunteer resources.  That said, in addition to the above state-level actions, we are aware that there are other items of concern arising from County action on vacation rentals.  We have tried to ascertain County groups such as ours that we could direct you to for further information on County activities, but have been unable to find groups for all.

This means that RBOAA members will need to support County groups that do exist, and where they have yet to form, take direct action as vacation-rental owners to preserve their property rights in the County level where they operate their vacation rental.

Here’s our summary of County action and groups identified that you can support:

Maui County — Maui County Council is discussing a large increase in property taxes.  They are talking about moving to $15.41 from $9.28 per $1,000 assessed value.  Maui County Council, which has nine members — of which six are new this year — will make a decision on this increase this month.  Council members appear to view that visitors should pay more to cover the wear and tear on County facilities and services.  Accordingly, Council seeks to increase taxes on short-term vacation rentals and hotels, while reducing all other property tax rates.

We have not identified any Maui County group of owners.  We will update you if an organization like RBOAA is formed on Maui; please let us know if you have any information on such a development.  Until a group is formed in Maui County, owners of vacation rentals will need to take individual direct action.

You can contact the Council members at the following email addresses:

Kelly.King@mauicounty.us, Council Chair
Keani.Rawlins@mauicounty.us, Council Vice-Chair
Tasha.Kama@mauicounty.us, Presiding Officer Pro Tempore
Riki.Hokama@mauicounty.us, Councilmember
Alice.Lee@mauicounty.us, Councilmember
Mike.Molina@mauicounty.us, Councilmember
Tamara.Paltin@mauicounty.us, Councilmember
Shane.Sinenci@mauicounty.us, Councilmember
Yukilei.Sugimura@mauicounty.us, Councilmember

County of Hawaii — The County of Hawaii is has a new ordinance that is placed on all TVRs that are not owner occupied.  The final rules for the ordinance are expected to be published by April 19th.  They do have a Facebook Page “Hawaii TVR Alliance” where you can join for more information.

Honolulu County — In Honolulu, the battle continues for the right to use your property as a vacation rental.  You can get information at http://www.oahushorttermrentalalliance.org/index.html.

Kauai County — Kauai has a new organization to help preserve owners property rights, and it can be found at http://northshoretvrgroup.org/.  Please sign up to receive information on the status of activities on Kauai.

RBOAA will continue to work hard at the Hawaii State Legislature to protect your property rights.  We are still actively working on state-level proposed vacation-rental legislation as the Legislature is still in session.

While our resources don’t allow us to take on County monitoring and advocacy, please do let us know if you are able to form or fund such a group in your County — your vacation rental may depend on it.  We will help you stay informed on County groups as they form and advance.

As always, we depend on your support to help protect your interests in the Hawaii State Legislature.  I know some of you had issues contributing due to a website problem, and I’m happy to report that the issue has been fixed.  Please visit our website at https://rboaa.org and click on the Donate or Join Now buttons to help us keep doing the work we do for you.


Alicia Humiston