The Law

The City & County of Honolulu Land use Ordinances (LUO) prohibit residential-zoned property owners from providing (for compensation) vacation rentals or B&B lodging to transient occupants (visitors) for less than 30 days. Compensation includes, but is not limited to, monetary payment, services or labor of employees.

Vacation rental and B&B lodges that proved they were in operation prior to the passing of the ordinances were grandfathered non-conforming use certificates (NUC) and allowed to continue operating as visitor accommodations in residential zoning. These businesses are often referred to as legal residential-zone vacation rentals and B&B’s.

This compromise was agreed upon to avoid possible “unjust taking” law-suits, but included the assurance by the City Council that visitor lodging businesses would ultimately be removed from residential-zoning via attrition (1).

The legislative intent of these ordinances was to prohibit visitor lodging businesses from operating outside resort-zoning and protect residential-zoning for residential uses.

Vacation rentals and all other forms of visitor lodging are allowed on resort-zone land parcels.

(1) In 2009, former 1989 City Council member John Henry Felix reconfirmed the agreement when he publicly stated; “We have to live up to our commitment of 1989, I would say no more TVU’s, no more B&B’s, we will allow that number (those grandfathered in 1989) and as they fall out of the system, so be it. We have to keep communities residential in nature and not turn them into visitor destination areas, not a second Waikiki”.

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