I wanted to start a conversation with fellow hosts in Honolulu, HI. How do you feel about the recent bills?
Here's my response to another thread....
"Im not too worried.... Bill 85 and 89 (has anyone read it yet?) have legalese that contradict each other. While the City approved it... the mayor hasn't signed it into law yet. He may lean to sign Bill 89.
Besides, the City doesn't have the manpower to cite homes. In order to be cited, a huge burden of proof lies on the City... a contract (airbnb payment/receipt) has to be found as evidence among other things. People going in an out of a house is not grounds for citation. The City has to have a huge burden of proof to sue. They can't even get records from Airbnb! So don't buy into the scare mongering/propaganda.
So I tell my guests that if anyone(city inspector) approaches them ... first tell that person to get off my private property and have the conversation on public property (street/sidewalk)
then feign ignorance, not say anything, and pretent to not know what Airbnb is and at worst say they're just house sitting.
Besides, an attorney will sue the City based on the contradiction and that'll be tied up in court for a long while. That lawyer is gonna walk away with a pretty penny on the backs of the Hawaiian taxpayers..
It seems that this is all political theater to have us look away from the failed rail, failed prosector dept, and 'Save Sherwoods' scandals.
I'm surprised how ignorant Hawaiian citizens are.... they can write formal letter of complaints to the Hawaii State Bar to get rid of these corrupt judges and lawyers. Watch dog groups in Boston, Massachusetts and across the country do this on the daily. Hawaiian politicians are only "getting away" with it because Hawaiian citizens don't seem to know how public office works or hold their own officials accountable."
I am with you, Lauren! I am so worried about the guests who booked our place! Airbnb doesn’t give any support any it is so disappointing! I guess I will just take off the listing...
I unlisted my house and the other five neighbors I book for. Airbnb has not made a "monthly rate" available and we are at risk of fines if they list a nightly rate, even if we are renting for 30 day minimums
Regardless of the language of the bill, anyone who runs his/her B&B in compliance with a tax code i.e. pays GET and TAT will be easy to find, cite and fine once they submit their tax returns.
The interesting and confusing point in Bill 89 is that the illegal activity is ADVERTISING after 8/1. It's kind of surprising that they didn't spell out the act of actually having guests as illegal. Thus, I think many of us are in the same boat - we're going to de-list or snooze our listings but do we need to cancel the bookings made prior to 8/1. You would think yes, and yet the bill and DPP FAQs don't speak to that. I think I'll try calling the DPP on Monday.
I have tried to find an answer as to whether existing rentals will be allowed. My host says we are fine to come in November but I’m not so sure. I have emailed the mayors office and left messages on social media sites with no response. Please let me know if you get a definitive answer. Thanks!
I did finally hear back from two different people. If a VR is and has been operating illegally then existing bookings warrant them receiving fines if they are caught. They said they would be vigorously enforcing the law. If I cancel my booking, as a guest, I have to pay the booking fee. I am hoping that my host will cancel it at some point as they realize it isn’t worth the risk. They have several bookings before mine so hopefully there will be clarity soon. It’s definitely frustrating for hosts and guests. Bottom line is that they don’t care if you have bookings in place. If you are not operating legally your bookings are illegal and you can be fined if caught. Wish it were better news.
Good point... I started renting last year and because of a long vacation I didn't file my taxes and was getting ready to do it now but I'm thinking maybe I shouldn't pay it now so they don't have my info..
Aloha all. Any insight as to whether rules apply to "hosted" rental? I offer a room in my townhouse. I'm unclear on that . Btw here's a link to an organization that advocates similar views. http://www.oahushorttermrentalalliance.org/regulation.html
I'm on hold with Airbnb now, asking all these great questions. My question, that some of you have asked, is what about the booked rentals after August 1? Are we subject to fines if we "honor those bookings"? Are you putting your listings on "snooze" for now or are you waiting until July 31 to put it on snooze? There are so many questions that are unanswered.
I did just speak with Airbnb, and got the same response you did, Lauren. They said it's between us and the City & County of Honolulu, a very unacceptable response. Knowing they have dealt with this in several other destinations, I was hoping for more guidance on what others did. We are each alone on our own island so chats like these are helpful.
Please share information as you get it and I will promise to do the same.
Airbnb”s radio silence in our hour of need is the most frustrating aspect of all this. If you read about their legal challenges in Boston, New York, Las Vegas, and Santa Monica you see how much they fight to keep an arms length distance between a host”s posted content and their liability. Even if they just emailed all of their hosts on the island and said “we know you are nervous and have lots of questions and we just want you to know we are preparing to fight this.” Even that little but would be encouraging. But we are appear to be on our own.
The activity that is illegal on 8/1 is advertising.
Advertising, according to the bill, includes anything you do to induce a guest to rent. That includes not just listing on a hosting platform but all emails, texts and verbal conversations.
The existing of advertising will be prima facia evidence that illegal hosting is occurring.
There is no grace period for booking gs after 8/1 that we’re booked before 8/1.
Beginning on 8/1 , if unchallenged, Airbnb will be required to provide hosting data to the city including host name and address, length of stay and total revenue earned.
The city has up to six months from 8/1 to implement their complaint and enforcement procedures. Most of us would guess they will need every bit of that time to begin enforcement.
The allocation of those 1700 bed and breakfast permits that will be awarded October 2020 are area specific. As I recall from the map I saw, Kailua where I am, I will only get 173. So even if you can comply with district list of permit requirements you will not be one if 1,700 but one of a much smaller number based on your city/ area.
There will be a flood of long term rentals that come on the market. Because of this, we will be compelled to be extremely competitive. And this was exactly one of the primary goals of the anti VR groups.
There will be risk takers among us and people who attempt to be compliant. Most of all there will be disappointed guests, thousands of jobs lost, struggling homeowners, and countless business owners who likely will be shuttering their businesses.
I agree with you and well-put - radio silence from Airbnb, so disappointing. There is one class action lawsuit that I know of already, and we're definitely joining the fight. What they are attempting to do violates our privacy and property rights, and they will challenged, legally, for certain. It has happened in other parts of the country, which I'm sure you know. I appreciate your intelligent and well crafted posts! It's refreshing to see, Lauren!
Our corrupt & bullying City Officials will be taken to task and we're definitely on board that fight!
I'm actually sympathetic to both sides, Jon, even though my bank account will be severly hurting.
There is one data point that was used extensively against us by the anti-vacation groups and I simply don't know why Airbnb doesn't address this. The anti's presented this data extracted from the hosting platforms and used it to demonstrate the number of absentee hosts and the number of homes that would become available to local residents -
"There are 8,522 active rentals on Oahu on Tuesday, according to Airdna; 6,842 of those, or 80 percent, were entire homes."
Not so! All of us who have a completely private, separate ohana unit attached to our homes have been forced to choose Airbnb's category of "Entire home." Because here are three options:
Shared Room = No private space
Private Room = Some private space, some shared space
Entire Place = Fully private space
There are many threads regarding this subject - most related to guest misunderstandings and not legislative issues. But this data point made it far easier to get people on the anti VR band wagon.
We need to get the word out that the data was extremely misleading and misrepresented.