When deciding whether to become an Airbnb host, it is important for you to understand the laws in your county. As a platform and marketplace we do not provide legal advice, but we want to give you some useful links that may help you better understand laws and regulations in Oahu. This list is not exhaustive, but it should give you a good start in understanding your local laws. If you have questions, contact the Department of Planning and Permitting, review their FAQ page, contact other city agencies directly, or consult a local lawyer or tax professional.
The Land Use Ordinance
The Island of Oahu is part of the City and County of Honolulu. Chapter 21 of Honolulu’s Code, the Land Use Ordinance, governs most land use in Oahu. On June 21st, 2019, Mayor Kirk Caldwell of Honolulu signed Bill 89 (CD2) now known as Ordinance 19-18 -- new legislation that regulates short term rentals on Oahu.
- The City & County refers to “Short Term Rental” as the commercial use of a residential dwelling, for a stay of less than 30 days. Within this definition, rentals are put into two categories, “Bed & Breakfasts” and “Transient Vacation Units (TVU’s).
- An amendment to Ordinance 19-18 would allow the County to issue about 1,700 permits for Bed & Breakfasts across the island as soon as April 30, 2021. These permits will be issued by the Department of Permitting & Planning (DPP) via a lottery system. It does not permit any TVU’s outside of the resort zoning without a previously acquired Non-Conforming Use Certificate (NUC).
Transient Accommodations Tax License Number (TAT) and Tax Map Key (TMK)
- Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT). The State of Hawaii assesses transient accommodations taxes on the furnishing of a room, apartment, suite, or similar structure, to transients for stays of less than 180 days. More information about the transient accommodations tax is available in the State’s tax code. To apply for your TAT number please visit this website. 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 also requires hosts to post the tax ID on their listing.
- Tax Map Key (TMK). Per Airbnb’s Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the City and County of Honolulu, hosts are also required to input a City-issued TMK number in order to list on Airbnb. The City and County of Honolulu also refers to the TMK number as the Parcel ID. If you need help locating your TMK, you can visit this website.
Advertisement requirements (TMK and TAT number)
You’re required to add both your Tax Map Key (TMK) and Transient Accommodations Tax License Number (TAT) number to your listing. If you need help locating your TMK, you can visit this website. To apply for your TAT number please visit this website.
Listings that don’t add their TMK and TAT numbers or haven’t switched their calendars to long-term stays (29+ nights) will be blocked from hosting short-term stays on Airbnb.
- Rental Use Certificates. In some parts of Oahu, owners or operators of vacation rentals are required to have obtained and periodically renew a “nonconforming use certificate” from the City and County of Honolulu. Please review Sections 21-4.110-1 and 21-4.110-2 of the Land Use Ordinance to see if this requirement applies to your listing.
- Building and Housing Standards. Oahu 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 the Building Code and the Housing Code.
- 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 and check with your landlord if applicable.
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.