When deciding whether to become an Airbnb host, it's important for you to understand the laws in your county. As a platform and marketplace we don't provide legal advice, but we want to give you some useful links that may help you better understand laws and regulations on Hawaii Island. This list is not exhaustive, but it should give you a good start in understanding your local laws. If you have questions, contact the Hawaii County Planning Department, other county agencies, or consult a local lawyer or tax professional.
The Hawaii County Code. Ordinance 2018-114 amended Chapter 25, article 4, division 1, of the Hawaii County Code to regulate short term vacation rentals on Hawaii Island. This ordinance only applies to "Short-Term Vacation Rentals," also known as STVRs. If the property is your primary residence, and you are present on-site with the guest, then this ordinance does not apply to you.
Hawaii County’s Planning Department provides information on their website. Some key terms include "accessory dwelling," "dwelling unit," "guest," "short-term vacation rental," "transient," and "transient vacation rental use."
Short-Term Vacation Rental. Hawaii County defines a "Short-Term Vacation Rental" as a "dwelling unit of which the owner or operator does not reside on the lot site, that has no more than five bedrooms for rent on the building site and is rented for a period of thirty consecutive days or less. This definition does not include the short-term use of an owner’s primary residence as defined under section 121 of the Internal Revenue Code."
Categories of permitting
Non-Conforming Use vs. Regular Permit. Depending on the kind of listing you offer and the location of your listing, you may be required to apply for a permit. Please note, that if you operate a pre-existing STVR you will need to submit your registration application to the Planning Department no later than September 28, 2019. Consult the County Code and the County’s short term vacation rental website to determine the type of permit you need, if any. We recommend hosts consult the County of Hawaii, or your local lawyer, to see if your listing is consistent with current zoning requirements or use definitions.
Building and Housing Standards. Hawaii County has rules and regulations specifying minimum construction, design, and maintenance standards for buildings, including regulations on habitability, health, and safety. Certain regulations applicable to residential and non-residential uses may be relevant to your listing, including Chapters 5 and 25, of the County Code.
Local contact information must be provided to each guest prior to the start of the reservation. Airbnb does not allow this information to be included on listings, but as a host, you may share it via the message thread after a booking request has been confirmed.
Other Rules. It's also important to understand and abide by other contracts or rules that bind you, such as leases, condo board or co-op rules, HOA rules, or rules established by tenant organizations. Please read your lease agreement, consult with your local lawyer, and/or check with your landlord, if applicable.
Transient Accommodations Tax. The State of Hawaii’s Tax Code assesses transient accommodations taxes on the furnishing of a room, apartment, suite, or similar structure, to transients for stays of less than 180 days.
Hawaii’s Tax ID, Contact Information, and Reporting Requirements. Owners and operators of listings are required by state law to report certain information about their listing and obtain a Certificate of Registration from the Hawaii Department of Taxation. The law requires hosts to post the tax ID on their listing. You may include your short-term rental permit number on your listing under Local Laws. In the dedicated permit field, type in your permit number following the acceptable permit format for Hawaii. The format is: WXXXXXXXXX-XX. An example would be: ‘W12345678-01’.
Our commitment to your community
We are committed to working with local officials to help them understand how Airbnb benefits our community. Where needed, we will continue to advocate for changes that will allow regular people to rent out their own homes.