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).
- Ordinance 19-18 would allow the County to issue about 1,700 permits for Bed & Breakfasts across the island as soon as October 2020. 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).
- You should consult Ordinance 19-18 & the LUO to see if your listing is consistent with current zoning requirements or use definitions.
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.
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 also requires hosts to post the tax ID on their listing. You may include your short-term rental permit number on your listing by going to Listings > Edit > Local taxes and Laws > Click ‘Edit” to enter your Permit or registration number. In this field, you may type in your permit number following the acceptable permit format for Hawaii. For Transient Accommodations Tax, the format is: Wxxxxxxxx-xx. An example of how to enter would be: W12345678-01.
Transient Accommodations Tax. 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.
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.
Last updated: July 12, 2019