City and Permitting
The City and County of Honolulu regulates and enforces land-use permitting for
short-term rentals, also known as Transient Vacation Units (TVUs).
The Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP) is the city agency that
oversees and enforces these regulations.
In 1989, the Honolulu City and County placed a moratorium on new permits for
TVUs on Oahu.
Since that time, the number of permits has remained capped at only 810 rental
units and 48 Bed and Breakfasts. Unfortunately, this has left thousands of
operators and nearly an entire industry without options for compliance.
The Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) estimates there are 17,000 vacation rental
units throughout the state and roughly 6,800 2 on Oahu (as of 2016).
Nearly everyone in the alternative lodging industry agrees the permitting process
and land-use regulations should be updated for the modern economy and to
meet changing visitor demands.
State and Taxes
The State of Hawaii regulates and enforces tax laws related to the short-term
Generally, two types of taxes apply to the short-term rental industry – the
General Excise Tax (GET) and the Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT).
The Department of Taxation (DoTAX) is the state agency that oversees these
To eliminate confusion with complex tax codes and ensure all applicable taxes
on transactions are collected by the state, short-term rental platforms have
proposed legislation to collect and remit taxes on behalf of operators.
As the third-largest short-term rental platform in Hawaii, Airbnb alone would have
provided $26 million in revenue in 2016 to the state if such a program were