Hawaii County officials are considering legislation regarding transient vacation rentals, or TVRs, which have been the center of complaints issued by Big Island companies that are trying to manage property.

West Hawaii Today reports that Kona real estate agent Gretchen Osgood says the problem with the short-term rentals is that many owners who are renting out their properties are joining forces with big vacation-rental networks that don’t abide by state law.

“They’re not paying their fair share of the taxes,” Osgood said, “and the rest of us are carrying them.”

Hawaii law requires absent owners to use an on-island property manager and have an on-island contact to collect taxes.

Local governments on Oahu and Kauai have tried tackling the issue of TVRs, but most of the authority is held by the state. Bills trying to give counties more control have been unsuccessful in the Legislature, but bills sponsored by the Hawaii State Association of Counties, which represents all four county councils, will once again be brought to the Legislature in January.

“The County of Hawaii does not have any vacation rental laws,” Osgood said. “It doesn’t exist in our county code.”

The Hawaii County Council is considering a resolution in support of local control. Hilo Councilman Dennis “Fresh” Onishi is sponsoring the resolution, which distinguishes single-family residential use from single-family vacation rental use and would allow counties to use their zoning authority to phase out “nonconforming” rentals.

Groups such as the Lahaina, Maui, Rental By Owner Awareness Association have opposed restrictions on vacation rentals. In an undated letter to state lawmakers during the legislative session, the association said bills create monopolies for hotels and property managers.

“Owners of legal Hawaii vacation rental property contribute to the state’s ability to offer the accommodation choices of any globally significant tourist destination in the competitive tourism marketplace,” the letter reads. “We would appreciate an end to the special-interest lobby-based bills that arise each year. Such bills harm what Hawaii stands for and threatens its economic future.”


Information from: West Hawaii Today, http://www.westhawaiitoday.com

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