HomeExchange, as a global community of home exchangers, cannot administer legal advice, but we can keep our members informed on local legislation through the sharing of important links and information.

Over the past few months, many HomeExchange Members from Honolulu, Hawaii, have been writing into our Member Support about notices in the mail regarding their HomeExchange listings.  Upon further analysis, our team discovered a New Ordinance on Short-Term Rentals that went into effect this past Summer 2019.

Bill 89 CD2 was adopted by the City Council on June 17, and signed (Ordinance 19-18) by Mayor Kirk Caldwell on June 25.

Its main points:

  • Allows a limited number of new Bed and Breakfast Homes (B&B) in non-resort areas under a new registration process, with annual renewal required.
  • Continues to prohibit Transient Vacation Units, or “unhosted” rentals, in non-resort areas, unless the dwelling has a Nonconforming Use Certificate (NUC).
  • Regulates hosting platforms, such as Expedia or Airbnb, requiring monthly reports to be filed with the Department of Planning and Permitting, which will share the information with City Council.
  • Makes illegal any form of advertising short-term rentals which are not in compliance with zoning regulations as provided in Ordinance 19-18.

Section 14 of the Ordinance and its implications for HomeExchange Members:

I am a member of homeexchange.com, where owners “swap” the use of their homes with other owners around the world. No money is exchanged and terms of the use can range from a few days to several weeks. Does this activity fall under the new short-term rental law?

Home exchanges are subject to the new regulations. While home exchanges may not
involve cash transactions, owners are compensated for such exchanges with things like “guest points” or a home/lodging. The definition of transient vacation unit contains a broad definition of compensation, i.e., “... compensation includes, but is not limited to, monetary payment, services or labor of transient occupants.” The definition was intended to prevent people from renting a dwelling or lodging unit for less than 30 days, regardless of how the owner is compensated.

“Transient vacation unit” means a dwelling unit or lodging unit that is advertised,
solicited, offered, or provided, or a combination of any of the foregoing, for
compensation to transient occupants for less than 30 days, other than a bed and
breakfast home. For purposes of this definition, compensation includes, but is
not limited to, monetary payment, services or labor of transient occupants.”

What does this mean for HomeExchange Members?

In order to abide by the new regulations we recommend that HomeExchange Members located in the City and County of Honolulu update the description of their home by including the following sentence.

Members can copy and paste this sentence into the Additional Information section of their Home Profile: "My home is only available for a 30 day exchange period.  If I do offer my home for 7 days, I will not offer it again for 30 days starting from day 1 of the 7 day period."

For more information see below:

Another good reference on short-term rental laws can be found on the Ostra (Oahu Short-Term Rental Alliance) Facebook Group.

If you have further questions, feel free to reach out to our Member Support team or contact the Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting. You can also review their FAQ page.