Can you have your Maui Luxury home as a vacation rental?

June 16, 2011
Categories: Uncategorized

So many people ask me- Can I rent out my luxury Maui home as a vacation rental? The answer has always been No ! Yes- others have but it is illegal unless they have a county B&B Permit. One of the criterias in even obtaining one-is that you must be an owner-occupant.

But now- there might be some light at the end of tunnel regarding that issue. Read here. Nothing solid yet- but there is at least an opening to that being possible in the future. I am simply going to reblog the post I read by David DeLeon. Here you go. As this progresses, I will keep you updated. Or just give me a call 808-276-1832 for the latest on our little island in the Pacific!

Maui Vacation rentals

Golf on Maui along the Pacific Blue

Push is on for passage of Short-Term Rental rules
June 06, 2011
If high-end residential properties are part of your business plan, then you need to attend a Maui Planning Commission hearing on a proposed Short-Term Rental regulatory process next Tuesday.The Maui Planning Commission will hear a bill that seeks to set up a permit process to allow the short-term rentals of residences that are not the primary residence of the owner. (Public Hearing, Maui Planning Commission Conference Room, 9 a.m. June 14. This bill is the only item on the agenda.)

The bill is patterned after the successful Bed & Breakfast ordinance that RAM helped shepherd into existence two years ago, over the resistance of the then Mayor Charmaine Tavares. While by no means perfect, the B&B ordinance gave homeowners a means to legally rent out a portion of their homes to visitors. If passed, the bill before the Planning Commission will provide owners of residential properties, where they don’t live, an opportunity to legally rent out their homes short-term as well. Ultimately, the bill will require approval of the County Council and the Mayor.

While this measures raises a lot of questions, the chief one that you are probably asking is why should Realtors be concerned about this proposal? Because it is a fundamental property right to be able to use your property as you choose – as long as you do not bother your neighbors. This measure is a step in that direction.

If you are involved in the sale of high-end residential properties, and especially along Maui’s leeward coasts and Upcountry, this measure could also affect their value. While the bill as currently written does not limit which residential (think homes, not condos) properties can be permitted, it is generally assumed that the type of properties that will get this permit will be high-end – the type generally rented by families or persons of means seeking privacy.

Maui already has a large number of these residences, many which sit empty for much of the year. Some are now illegally rented, in many cases not so much for profit as a means to defray the cost of maintenance.

Most of these types of properties will never be seen as “affordable housing” or even viable long-term rentals. For the most part, their owners intend to use their Maui second homes sometime during the year, which would not be possible if they are rented out long-term. So this bill will not result in the loss of homes that local families could rent.

If you think this bill could affect your business or your clients’ situation, then you need to get involved in this effort.

The political situation facing this legislative effort is just about the opposite of our campaign of three-four years ago that resulted in the passage of B&B Ordinance. In that case, early prognosticators gave our cause no chance for success. In 2007 the term Transient Vacation Rental was a pejorative. The Council summarily rejected a bill to set up a regulatory process that had been in the works for years. County Planning Staff openly a worked against any legislative effort to legalize vacation rentals. And the Mayor ordered a nearly complete shut down of the industry. Tough sledding.

But the affected community, led by the Maui Vacation Rental Association, the Maui Chamber of Commerce and RAM, fought back, demanding a change in policy and doing the hard work of changing public opinion. In 2009 the new B&B rules went into effect and the Tavares Administration backed away from its aggressive shut down.

If we were going against a gale back then, by comparison we now have the wind at our backs. The Mayor supports the legislative proposal and the Planning Director is a former Realtor who appreciates how restrictive our permitting process can be. The Council has changed members and now appreciates the value of vacation rentals as well as the need to protect neighborhoods. And the vehement opposition is matched by a business community that – after the Tavares experience – gets how a permitting process such as this could affect their bottom lines.

So everything is hunky-dory, right? Well, not quite. Because there is no current enforcement against vacation rentals, the pressure is off. And without pressure to face, the affected community is not really paying attention to our effort. We need you to start paying attention now. Particularly those of you who handle high-end transactions or property manage these types of properties.

Why should you? For starters, Alan Arakawa won’t be Mayor forever. The public winds will change again. Now is the time to make sure there is a legal place for short-term rentals in Maui County.

While the atmosphere is much better than it was three years ago, residential vacation rentals are still controversial. If this bill appears before the Planning Commission or Council without a strong showing of community support, it will be much easier for it to go sideways or to be rejected altogether.

What’s in the bill? View a synopsis of the proposed bill

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