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Short Term Vacation Rentals
Posted on May 24th, 2019

What is a Short-Term Vacation Rental under this law?

For purposes of this law, an STVR property is defined as follows: “[A] dwelling unit of which the owner or operator does not reside on the building 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.”

Does this law apply to me?

If your apartment is used as an STVR property, you need to register your STVR with the County of Hawai‘i Planning DepartmentThe Fairways website contains addresses and links for important information, including the registration application.

Permitted Use

The County zoning classification applicable to The Fairways permits an apartment being used as an STVR on or before April 1, 2019, to continue to be used as an STVR without interruption provided its owner submits the required registration form and one-time $500 fee to the Planning Director no later than September 28, 2019.  (Because of The Fairways’ zoning classification, obtaining a non-conforming use certificate is unnecessary.)  Any new STVR established after April 1, 2019, must register and pay a onetime $500 fee “prior to use of such rental.”

Penalties for Non-compliance

Any STVR that has not lawfully registered within the deadlines described in the preceding paragraph is an “unpermitted use” and subject to the penalties set forth in the County of Hawai‘i zoning law for violations of the law.

The Fairways’ Declaration of Condominium Property Regime provides that apartments shall be used and occupied only as may be permitted by applicable zoning, and always in compliance with all applicable law; and charges the Association not to suffer any unlawful or improper use of any part of The Fairways project.  The Fairways’ Bylaws reiterate the Board’s responsibility to enforce all provisions of the Declaration.

Please keep in mind the following points relative to the registration for your apartment as an STVR:

  •       The application will take time to complete and compile necessary information.  Start now in order to ensure timely submission.
  •       You must submit a site plan showing the location of the rooms for rent and requisite parking.  These site plans are available on the Fairways website
  •       In the application, you must certify that the requisite amount of parking pursuant to County zoning law is available.  Available parking at The Fairways satisfies this requirement only if the parking stall in the STVR apartment’s garage is available for use by guests.
  •       You must designate a “reachable person” (who may be the Owner) who resides in the County of Hawai‘i and is reachable on a twenty-four hour, seven days-per-week basis by guests, neighbors, and County agencies. The reachable person must respond via telephone within one hour of a call, and be physically present at the STVR within three hours when a neighbor or guest so requests the reachable person’s presence. The designation of a “reachable person” as described above under county law is separate and distinct from a landlord’s responsibility under Hawai‘i state law to designate in writing an agent residing on the Big Island to act on the owner’s behalf.
  •       You must display prominently within the unit and recite in the rental agreement the “Good neighbor policy,” found in the local law, that addresses quiet hours, excessive sound, and parking.
  •       All print or internet advertising of the STVR must include the registration number. Under the local law, advertising of any sort that offers a property as an STVR constitutes prima facie evidence that a short-term vacation rental is operating on that property.

The Association assumes no responsibility for any error or omission on your part in complying with, or failing to comply with, County Ordinance 2018-114 before or after receiving this alert.  This notice does not constitute professional tax or legal advice.  Each Owner is responsible to comply with all provisions of law, which may be subject to change.  Accordingly, we urge you to consult with an attorney and/or professional tax adviser if you are not sure whether and how County Ordinance 2018-114 and its implementing Rule 23 apply to your particular situation.  In addition, we expect this law will have implications for your Association and the administration, fiscal management, and operation of The Fairways. To the extent relevant to the administration, fiscal management, and operation of The Fairways, your Board will rely upon Owner’s representations concerning the use of their apartments.