Air BnB vacation rentals, a good thing or bad?
It's one thing to book a vacation rental online through Air BnB or VRBO. It's another thing to find out you're living next to one. Senator Stanley Chang knows all about it.
HONOLULU - It's one thing to book a vacation rental online through Air BnB or VRBO. It's another thing to find out you're living next to one.
Senator Stanley Chang knows all about it. One day the neighbors in a home were a local family with kids, the next day they were gone.
"I live next to a vacation rental, there have been a number problems over the last couple of years. Loud parties, drug use where the odor is noticeable and people's cars taking up all the street parking," Chang said.
A study by American Hotel and Lodging Association looked at the air bnb bookings in major cites across the country and sheds new light on the issue.
It found that most of the rentals are not small home operators renting out spare rooms.
It says 85 percent of the Oahu revenue is from the rental of entire homes.
"We are looking for transparency. We are looking for those operating like hotels to act like hotels and to pay taxes like hotels. We need airbnb to accept the fact that by pushing a bill to blanket all illegal rentals on their platform is not going to be acceptable for Oahu communities or any community in Hawaii," Kekoa McClellan with American Hotel and Lodging Association said.
The association is against legislation to allow airbnb to act as a broker for the state.
It says 27 percent of airbnb revenue comes from operators who rent out 20 units or more.
Airbnb fired back saying the report was misleading.
It says most of its large operators are condotels in the Waikiki Resort district like the Waikiki Grand and the Ala Moana hotel.
It said if AHLA is truly concerned about the Hawaii market, it would focus on larger players like VRBO which handles 38 percent of the market instead of airbnb which handles 9 percent.
The governor vetoed the airbnb bill last year because of a fear it didn't contain enough safeguards to prevent the proliferation of illegal rentals.
He said its not about just collecting millions of dollars in taxes owned to the state.
"We want to ensure that there is transparency in the process and again we want minimize any unintended consequence," Ige said.
Across the street, the city struggles to enforce land use laws relating to illegal rentals and is currently mired in legal challenges.
"I would to see where we could allow more legal rentals but then tax them at a higher rate so that money is going for things like affordable housing," Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said.
The mayor says there are some 800 legal rentals on Oahu though recent studies point to at least four thousand illegal units.
The city council is preparing to take up the vacation rental issue once again, but an earlier attempt failed to go anywhere.
A tough issue getting tougher to tackle every year.