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  • Saturday, March 21, 2020 9:00 AM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    Governor Ige has called for a mandatory 14 day self quarantine for all arriving visitors and residents beginning March 26, 2020. This means your guests must remain inside their accommodations for 14 days before they are allowed venture out and about on Maui.

    The Governors second supplemental emergency proclamation ( orders all individuals, both residents and visitors, arriving or returning to the State of Hawaiʻi to a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine beginning on March 26, 2020. The mandate -- the first such action in the nation -- applies to all arrivals at Hawaii state airports from the continental U.S. and international destinations and extends to other private and commercial aircrafts.


    "With the majority of Hawaiʻi’s COVID-19 cases linked to travel, it is critical that we further mitigate the spread of the virus by both residents and visitors who are coming from out-of-state. This plan was developed in collaboration with our county mayors and Hawaiʻi’s business, community and visitor industry leaders.

    All visitors and residents arriving through Hawaiʻi’s airports will be required to complete a Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture form that will be distributed onboard their flight. They will retain the form when disembarking the aircraft. Upon arrival, they will go through a checkpoint and present the completed form with a valid identification. Checkpoint staff will validate the form and issue documentation that certifies they cleared the checkpoint. The form also includes information on the mandatory requirements for the 14-day quarantine along with penalties.

    Failure to follow this order is a misdemeanor and punishable by a maximum fine of $5,000, or imprisonment of not more than one year, or both. Enforcement will be handled by each of Hawaiʻi’s four counties."

    The mandate will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, March 26, 2020.

    These actions are extreme, but they will help flatten the curve and lay the groundwork for a quicker recovery. They are asking that everyone to comply with these quarantine orders to help protect Hawaiʻi’s residents and visitors.

    Read the full news release at:

  • Wednesday, March 11, 2020 9:32 AM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    Tamara Paltin referenced this new proposal that she will introduce at next Friday’s Council meeting to reduce the STRH caps to match the number of existing permits. This proposal as written does not account for applications in process.

    NO. 20-194 - COUNCILMEMBER PALTIN. transmitting a proposed resolution entitled "REFERRING TO THE MAUl AND LANAI PLANNING COMMISSIONS A


    This item on the council agenda on Friday proposes to set the cap for all STRH permits at the current number of permits. This proposal would need to be sent to Planning Commissions for comments and then back to County council before any changes could be made to the current caps. 

    A better study of all the current short term rental uses taking place sould be completed, including what the right number of short term rental homes in each area of the island should be.

    Such a study should include analysis of current travel trends, current legal and illegal short term uses taking place and the benefits to Maui of each. Limiting further legal short term rentals could lead to meeting the market demand by illegal operations.

    It may seem that reducing the caps is not that concerning. However, it is important to note that it was a communication item to set the cap for Molokai to 40 permits that ultimately morphed into a cap of zero and non-renewal of the existing 17 permits.

    This item from Councilmember Paltin could possibly have the same effect as the phase-out proposal that we heard about at Friday’s community meeting. 

  • Friday, March 06, 2020 9:22 AM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    On Friday, March 6 at 3 pm at the Kalana Pakui Conference Room at 250 S. High Street, the County of Planning Department hosted a community meeting regarding the potential phase out of Short Term Rental Home #STRH Permits. Their presentation was made to a standing room only packed meeting room. They did one presentation and then cleared the room and did the presentation a second time so that everyone would get a chance to hear it. Both times to a standing room only crowd.

    While the supporters outnumbered opponents 50 to 1, and made some very good arguments during the Q & A, we do not yet know what Director Michele McLean and Planner Jacky Takakura will put out in their report.

    The major concern of the planning department was that they hear the complaint, “We do not know our neighbors” at some of the planning commission meetings when people are applying for permits. Enforcement of illegal operations was another concern.

    However, they did not know exactly how many of these complaints they have actually encountered. In addition, the Planning Department said they were working on enforcement, and their current enforcement report touts success in bringing the number of illegal rentals down. Finally, very few complaints are heard on actual permitted properties.

    You can view the meeting presentation and subsequent Q and A session (3 videos) on the Maui Vacation Rental Association Facebook page: at

    or on our youtube channel:

    At the beginning of Video 2 Councilmember Tamara Paltin explains some of her plans regarding the Minatoya List condos.

    Please take a moment to like our facebook page too!

    We would also like to invite you to our private facebook group forum at

    If there is something to learn here, its that we have to be engaged as a group, and continue to keep informing the public and the planning department that the short term rental industry is a positive influence in our community. That there is value in the network of small businesses that surround the rentals. That there are very little complaints on permitted homes in the community. Short term rentals are not increasing home prices. Short Term Rental Homes are not diminishing affordable housing. In fact, Short Term Rentals are the single biggest contributor to the county’s Affordable Housing Fund with over $2 million for the fiscal year 2019-2020. See the chart below for the breakdowns in all categories.

    Source: Real Property Tax County of Maui

    Please sign up for our newsletter

    You can also read the Maui News article on Friday’s meeting at

  • Thursday, March 05, 2020 1:29 PM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    We are recommending people arrive around 2:30 to be sure they can get a seat. 

    On Friday, March 6 at 3 pm at the Kalana Pakui Conference Room at 250 S. High Street, the County of Planning Department will be hosting a community meeting regarding the potential phase out of Short Term Rental Home #STRH Permits.

    Planning Department 

    Informational Community Meeting

    Friday March 6, 2020 3pm 

    Attend and share your thoughts on Phasing Out Short Term Rental Permits on Maui.

    Send written testimony to for those unable to come.

    If you haven’t sent any comments or testimony here are some that you can cut and paste from and customize for yourself:

    “I use my Maui home part time and as a result it would never be available as a long term rental.”

    There have been a lot of misconceptions about Short Term Rental Homes. Some people think by eliminating them we would get more affordable housing. This is absolutely not true. The facts show most of these homes are second homes and high end homes. Many of the owners come to live on Maui for part of the year, and rent out the property using a permit. Taking away the permit system would not create housing, nor long term rental situations. Homes that would be put on the market would not be in the affordable range. 

    There has never been any complaint regarding the short term rental of my home by any of my neighbors”

    I have heard people say STRH are changing neighborhoods. But we want to know details. Lets get specific. There are lots of neighbors and neighborhoods that also support STRH homes, and like them as their neighbors. They feel these homes are well maintained, and if there is a problem, neighbors know who to contact, because the information is posted. If a home is a second home, getting used by extended family and friends, its use would look like a vacation rental, but neighbors would have no way of knowing who to contact. There are a lot more second homes on Maui, around 8000, then there are short term rental homes, which total 189 on Maui. 

    If your neighbor supports you ask them to write a quick letter or forward this newsletter to them.

    “I provide long term housing on Maui because …”

    If you provide long term housing for a manager or otherwise indicate that

    “I have owned my Maui home since (year purchased) and was issued my STRH permit in (year granted) (if this difference is more than 5 years.)”

    “I have spent $XX,XXX.00 maintaining my Maui home”

    “I have paid $XX,XXX.00 in GET, TAT and HawIi income taxes related to the Short Term rental of my Maui home”

    “I pay $XX,XXX.00 per year in property tax on my Maui home and this amount is double what I would pay if I did not have a permit.”

    “I live on Maui and own a STRH”

    There is a misconception that only mainland or international owners run STRH. There are a lot of Maui people who own these homes. Around 50% of the permit holders live on Maui and run their operation from Maui. Many Short Term Rental permit holders also have long term renters on their properties, or provide long term housing for some of their employees. Eliminating these permits will probably eliminate those long term housing situations for Maui residents.

    In addition please see the testimony from former President of Maui Vacation Rental Association, Tom Croly, it is a great overall history of the industry and has a lot of points that you may be interested in and can utilize.

    “The short term rental home (STRH) ordinance was established into Maui County code in May 2012. It was the second piece of legislation, after the B&B ordinance, that was designed to help regulate an already well established part of the visitor industry consisting of various forms of short term rental uses taking place in single family homes in Maui County. The need for this regulation was recognized in the late 1990’s when operations making these uses began applying for Conditional use permits and the planning department found themselves overwhelmed with the processing of individual Conditional use permit, each that would need to go before planning commission and full Council for approval. 

    In 2005 the Realtors association of Maui commissioned the Kauaian Institute to do a comprehensive study of the existing short term rental industry in Maui County. This study revealed that at that time there were 816 single-family home properties that were making short term rental uses. And these 816 properties were operating a total of 1095 rental units. The study did not attempt to differentiate between properties where the owner lived and properties that were strictly rentals where the owner did not reside.

    When the B&B ordinance was crafted in 2007 and 2008, a cap of 400 permits was established. That cap was expected to make enough B&B permits available to meet the existing demand for this use by the traveling public that was being met by the existing owner occupied B&B operations. Since there was an understanding that owner occupied B&Bs were only one segment of these operations, the cap of 400 permits island wide, and the distribution of these permits established in each community plan area was calculated by the proportions that had been identified in the Kauaian Institute report. This number of permits represented approximately half of the properties that had been identified by the report.

    After the B&B ordinance had been established and the planning department and Council began their work on the Short Term Rental home ordinance, a cap was established for STRH permits at 400, that along with the 400 B&B permits would provide enough permits to fill the total market demand that had been established by the Kauaian institute report. Later the cap for STRH permits in Hana was reduced from 48 to 30 and in 2019 the cap for STRH permits in Paia-Haiku was reduced from 88 to 55. Leaving a current cap of 349 STRH permits for Maui Island.

    During the promulgation of both the B&B and STRH ordinances several community members expressed opinions that if these uses were allowed, everyone on the island would choose to make these uses because they were so profitable. Twelve years later it is very clear that such fears were completely unfounded, as today there are currently only 152 Bed and Breakfast permits and 226 Short term rental home permits. The planning department estimates that there are still 100-200 unpermitted operations, but this total of 478 to 578 is well short of the 800 properties that were identified in 2005 and well below the inflammatory estimates of thousand and thousands from those opposed to this use based on unfounded hyperbole.

    It is true that Maui County has between 4000 to 8000 off-island owned second homes that are neither permitted short term rentals nor long term rentals, whose owner’s have shown no interest in obtaining an STRH permit that comes with lots of regulations and doubles owners the property tax bill. These second homes are often erroneously identified by neighbors as short term rentals because when their part time owners use them or when they allow their friends and families to use them, they may look like short term rentals. But these second homes are not subject to quiet hours, occupancy and parking restrictions, and these second homes are not managed by nearby professional property mangers as Permitted short term rentals are. 

    Assertions have been made by uniformed individuals that the availability of short term rental home permits has driven up the costs of housing on Maui. Such assertions have no basis in fact. When the fact is that of the 10,104 single family homes that have been sold since 2010, only approximately 50 of them have been granted a short term rental home permit. (Less than 1/2 of 1 percent) These 50 home purchases that later were granted STRH permits most certainly did not set the market value for the other 10,054 homes sold during that period. STRH permits have never been transferable. And in March of 2018 the STRH ordinance was amended to require an applicant for a STRH permit have owned the property for at least 5 years before becoming eligible to make application for a permit. Therefore any future STRH permits could never have any influence on market prices at all. 

    Additional unfounded assertions have been made that short term rental homes are causing assessed values to increase and therefore placing a greater tax burden on residents, when the total opposite is the truth. When a property sells that had an STRH or B&B permit associated with it, the real property tax department flags that sale and does not use it for a comparison for assessed values of non permitted homes in the area. 

    However, properties where an STRH permit has been granted pay property tax at a rate that is approximately double the rate that they would be subject to without such a permit and four times the rate that a resident homeowner of the same property would pay. So STRHs actually bring down the tax burden to residents. As point of fact, last year all properties classified as short term rental, including the 11,450 condos in apartment and hotel zoning and the 229 short term rental homes, paid a total of $101 million in property tax. Compared that to the $34 million paid by all 26,000 Maui county homeowner’s. Yes, 11,679 short term rentals paid three times the total property tax paid by all 26,120 Maui resident homeowners. Short term rental homes actually lower the tax burden to Maui resident homeowners.

    Finally, assertions have been made that permitted short term rental homes have negatively impacted neighborhoods. However a review of the Requests for Service (RFS) filed on the 229 permitted short term rental homes does not support such an assertion. While some members of the community have regularly come forward to oppose any and all short term rental and bed and breakfast permits with assertions of change in neighborhood or fears of who might be staying in a particular home. None have ever substantiated those assertions with any evidence. And while it is true that some neighborhoods in Maui are made up primarily of off island owned properties, there is no evidence that the availability of a permit created any change of the property uses or demographics of ownership of those properties. For example many oceanfront properties have been owned by off island owners for many years and while some of those owners have come forward to apply for, and be granted STRH permits, the majority of oceanfront properties have been owned and continue to be owned by off island owners, used strictly as second homes and the availability of an STRH permit has not changed that situation.

    It is a short sighted and unsubstantiated idea that elimination of the Short term rental ordinance and non renewal of current short term rental permits would lead to any better regulation of this use or availability and lower price of residential housing on Maui. While it is well documented that elimination of the permits for this use would result in less real property tax revenues, less State General excise tax and Transient accommodation tax revenue, less oversight of rentals, and would leave the market demand for such accommodations solely to the underground unregulated segment of the market. 

    The Short term rental home ordinance is serving its purpose of regulating this use in Maui County. It is not perfect and requires considerable effort both on behalf of the permit applicants and the County. But Overall it has much higher compliance rate than that of building permits for home and condo renovations. Yet, no one is proposing abandoning building permits, although some have called for moratoriums on issuing some types of building permits. As was demonstrated in the 2005 Kauaian Institute study, Short term rentals will exist with or without a permitting process to regulate them. But without such a process, they will all be unregulated and perhaps less safe for visitors and the State and county will lose out of hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues.”

    See this info in the newsletter form:


    Recent articles Maui News articles on Short Term Rentals:

  • Thursday, February 27, 2020 4:04 PM | Executive Director (Administrator)


    The Planning Department needs to hear your input at their meeting!

    Public Meeting on Possible phase-out of Short Term Rental Home permits on Maui

    This is an Informational meeting, opportunity for people to get their remarks on record on: 

    The possible phase-out of STRH permits on Maui

    Friday, March 6, 2020, 3pm

    Maui Planning Department Conference Room

    250 South High Street

    Kalana Pakui Bldg, #200

    Wailuku, Maui, HI 96793

    The Planning Department is in the process of preparing legislation to repeal the STRH ordinance and not renew any STRH permits in the future. Right now, they are soliciting public input on this proposal. It is imperative that EVERYONE either come to this meeting or send in testimony in support of Short Term Rental permits remaining available and about the good that they bring to Maui.

    For those who cannot attend, Please SEND AN EMAIL NO LATER than March 5, 2020 so your voice will be heard.

    for quick reference:,, and Bcc:

    We are asking that everyone also bcc’s us on their written information, so we can also keep track.

    This is a chance to let the Planning Department know what your remarks would be on their proposed phase-out of short term rental home permits.

    We encourage everyone who works in the industry to attend this meeting. Please to let their managers and other small business people that they work with, like housekeepers, landscapers, and such, know. It would be useful for the department to hear from people who make their living this way. Perhaps the most valuable testimony would come from the neighbors of your short term rental. If your neighbor is in support of your rental, because you make a nice neighbor to have. Then please ask them to tell the Planning Department so.

    The Planning Department is asking for our feedback on how these jobs are valuable to the small business community, and how people who choose to have a small business in this manner do so because it has advantages over having a job at the hotels. 

    Here are some other important talking points that you can use in your testimony:

    • Permits are not transferable and Applicants must own property for five years before making an application to ensure that STRHs can NEVER have any impact on housing prices or availability of housing for residential uses. This has been definitively proven in that less than 1/2 of 1 percent of houses sold in the past 8 years have been issued STRH permits. Permitted STRHs have never impacted housing availability or costs.
    • One important point is that the STR homes tend to be higher end homes. Without an STR permit, they will simply sit empty as they are “second homes”, not “investment homes”. Most of these owners spend 1 to 5 months of the year in Maui, so these will never convert to long term housing. Rather than being empty, they are providing jobs for managers, agents, housekeepers etc. These are jobs that allow residents to live/work within their community, which is a goal of our community plan. As an example, the housekeepers that we use in Haiku / Paia have no desire to travel to Wailea or Kaanapali every day.  
    • The permitted homes have proven that they can blend into their communities, with almost NO complaints.  
    • This is the future of our visitor industry. Hyatt and Marriott are both getting into the short term rental business, forming alliances or making purchases to give them access to homes and condos. Many hotel brands are investing in timeshare kinds of buildings. 
    • With the promise of being able to operate legally, homeowners made the requested modifications, etc to their properties, some at great expense. It is extremely unfair and unethical to say “well we said you could, but now we changed our minds.
    • If the department is concerned about the work load to renew 250 permits (approx. 50 renewals each year), then revise the ordinance to say that permits will remain in effect until a) the property is sold, b) “x” valid neighbor complaints, c) property is not being operated in accordance with the provisions of 19.65.
    • 229 STR's are not changing communities. People buying second homes where long term families lived, is changing the neighborhoods. Those numbers are closer to 8000 or higher.
    • The median earner in Hawaii can't afford the median priced home. Until this is solved, our neighborhoods are changing and 229 STR's have virtually nothing to do with this.
    • We need to give the department more information on the difference between running your own housekeeping business, versus working for the resorts as a full-time housekeeper employee which is around $14.10/hour average according to Indeed job placement website.

    Let me know if you have any questions.


    Jen Russo

    Executive Director


    Find our full newsletter info here: 

  • Friday, February 14, 2020 7:48 PM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    The Maui County Planning Department has said they are thinking about creating a plan to phase out all short term rental homes. 

    “The idea is to phase-out STRHs over a longer period of time than is being done for Molokai. Let them expire when they expire but no more renewals. We need to see what the industry and community feedback is. Depending on that, we may (or may not) draft a bill and take it through commissions and then to Council.” - Michelle McLean, Director of Planning, Maui County.

    We will be meeting with the planning department next week about this idea. There are about 50% of the existing permits that need to be renewed this year and next.

    We need to grow support for the “Good Guys” who have gotten permits and are paying the huge tax bills that allows local residents to have low taxes. 

    We have to shed light on the issue of illegal short term rentals and the second homeowners who buy up housing at a rate ten or twenty times greater than permitted Short term rentals and pay the lower tax rates. When people say that their neighborhood has changed because of short term rentals, let's ask them, "Which permitted, short term rental has changed your neighborhood? How?" Likely the addition of so many off-island owners who use their homes as second homes, has had a stronger hand in making that impression on people in the neighborhood.

    This message must come from hundreds of people on all forms of media. But we also must be prepared for the push back from the uninformed who don’t understand the numbers, like:

    Maui has 45,000 single family dwellings yet only 250 of these are legally permitted short term rentals. Some of these short term rentals pay more than $100,000/year in property tax. Yet

    Maui county has somewhere between 2500 and 5000 second homes that are not rented out long term and “might” be rented Illegally short term.

    This is what you need to do: 

    All STRH permit holders should understand that their permits are currently under threat. Not new permits, but all existing permits may not be renewed, should a proposal, currently in the state of being drafted by the planning department, be adopted. 


    Every permit holder must be prepared to participate in the upcoming fight. If you can write letters to the editor, start writing. If you can donate money towards a legal fund, start writing checks. If you can influence decision-makers, start talking. We need the public and the decision makers more aware that we are the good guys. We are the legal permitted industry that pay taxes twice what we would pay without our permits. We are the short term rentals who operate responsibly with professional on-island managers, occupancy limits, parking requirements, no party rules and a host of rules designed to protect the peace in neighborhoods.


    MVRA cannot take on this battle alone!  We need your membership NOW! If you want to be kept up to date on government actions with our newsletters. JOIN NOW!


    {Join Now}


    If you prefer to mail your membership dues, send checks to MVRA to 140 Hoohana St. Suite 210, Kahului, HI, 96732. 


    LET US KNOW if you would be interested in organizing an STRH tour for council members, or if you are good at writing press releases, or if you can do graphic design, or  if you would like to organize a Habitat for Humanity / MVRA event, or think you could be helpful in creating info for our website repository for guests and members with Cultural History, Hawaiian Culture, Ocean Safety, Environmental Awareness, etc.

  • Wednesday, February 12, 2020 8:29 PM | Executive Director (Administrator)


    The Maui Planning Department has released their 2019 enforcement report.

    Maui County Transient Vacation Rental Enforcement 2019 Summary

    In 2019 quarters 1 through 4, ZAED Inspectors issued more than 180 Notices of Warning and more than 80 Notices of Violation.

    The Notices of Violation have resulted in ZAED collecting $50,000.00 in fines from TVR violations issued throughout the 2019 calendar year, with others still pending or being litigated that total in excess of $300,000.00 in additional fines.

    At the end of 2019, there were 379 permitted STRH and B&B homes, making the highest possible total of illegal properties being 230‐304.  A total of 1,217 non‐exempt ads, assuming each property lists on 2 platforms, indicates 609 properties; subtracting 379 permitted operations leaves 230 non‐compliant properties.    Assuming an average of 3 platforms per property results in approximately 27 unique properties illegally advertising at the end of 2019.

    How do you feel? Do you get the sense that illegal operations have ceased in your neighborhoods?

    Comment here or send an email to

  • Friday, February 07, 2020 8:24 PM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    We had a great turnout for our annual meeting. Thank you to everyone who came out on this rainy night to attend. We like seeing you! A big mahalo to Boardmember Michael Baskins for donating the catering from Surf Club Tacos, the food was incredible, the service was commendable. To experience more Surf Club Tacos please go to 65 Hana Hwy, Paia, HI, 96779, 808-579-3333 ,

    MVRA Annual Report 2020

    February 6, 2020

    Major Accomplishments

    1. MVRA lived another year – four out of five board members were new

    2. Hired and Trained, Executive Director, Jen Russo

    3. Created and Launched new Website –

    4. 19 STR permits granted, 29 B&B permits granted

      1. Total: 229 STR permits, 156 B&B permits

      2. Total net difference from 2018 to 2019: 7 STR permits and 17 B&B permits - What this means is 14 B&B permits and 12 STRH permits were closed out, not renewed or expired without renewing during 2019. 

    5. Published newsletters and updates to membership

    6. Created private Facebook group page and MVRA Facebook page

    7. Advocacy, Testimony, Meetings, Alliances

      1. 9 County Council meetings

      2. All Planning Commission meetings either attended in person or reviewed video/tape record

      3. 12 Testimonies presented in person or written in

      4. 6 County Council meetings attended

      5. 1 Board of Variances and Appeals attended

      6. 1 Annual Community Council of Maui meeting attended and presented

      7. 1 Meeting with AirBnB, 1 presentation at Community Council of Maui

      8. 4 Planning Committee meetings attended

      9. All Community Plan meetings attended or reviewed

      10. 2 Mayor’s Press Conferences attended

      11. 4 Community Association meetings attended.

      12. 10 MVRA Board meetings

    8. Went from 0 to 60 paying members

    9. Helped to keep Paia/Haiku STR’s renewable and existing applications (already in the pipeline) viable

    10. Helped to lessen property tax rate increase from proposed $15/$1000 assessed value to $10.

    Unsuccessful Endeavors

    1. New rule instituted mandating renewal applications be submitted 60 days or more prior to permit expiration date. 

    2. Reduced cap for STR permits in Paia/Haiku area from 88 to 55

    3. Lost ability to apply for STR permit within the Shoreline Management Area in Paia/Haiku district.

    4. Molokai passage through Planning Committee (by unanimous vote) of an STR cap of Zero, and a sunset for existing permits in as few as 90 days. First Reading at full Council, tomorrow (Friday). 

    Goals for 2020

    1. Modify or stop current and near future legislation threatening existing STR renewals

    2. Modify or stop reduction of STR’s in the Lahaina Historic District to zero  

    3. Set up Tour of STR’s and B&B’s for Council Members, Mayor

    4. Continue meeting with legislative representatives, Mayor, Planning

    5. Engage Kupuna in every district

    6. Investigate legality of current and proposed legislation that may threaten STR renew-ability

    7. Be a pro-active voice in CPAC (Community Plan) process

    8. Advocate for less bureaucracy by opposing the creation of Community Advisory Committees to the Planning Commission

    9. Continue to create a repository (on website) for member and guest use:

      1. Maui Cultural / Historical education

      2. Environmental education and tips

      3. Ocean Safety

      4. Local Customs

    10. Be the authority on STR and B&B data

      1. Taxes remitted by district

      2. Actual number of bedrooms/units offered

      3. Send press releases to news outlets

    Financial Report : Members: Contact me at to request pdfs of the Profit and Loss and Balance Sheet

    Elections - Same Board Members for the next year

    Discussion points and suggestions from the meeting:

    • 4000-8000 second homes that may look like vacation rental use as owners and their families utilize the home.

    • We need to dispel the myth that vacation rental homes are creating a housing issue, when most of these homes will not convert to housing;

    • Public relations about safety, community and other benefits of vacation rentals

    • Create a free affiliate level of membership for the employees of vacation rentals, like the handymen, housekeepers, and landscapers. To expand the membership to build a coalition of people that the changes to the vacation rental laws would be affected.

    • Use social media to get our messages across

    • Create ads on social media that say the dollar amounts of how much the RPT tax totals are

    • Letters to the editor campaign: Have people to write letters to the editor

    • Public opinion: opposers of the vacation rental industry do not care about the economics, they care about the culture. Honor their history and their feelings

    • Create a scholarship fund for Native Hawaiians

    • Do a PR spread on Bed and Breakfast and Short Term Rental Homes

    • Do more events throughout the year

    • Let people report issues in their neighborhoods to MVRA, and have MVRA file RFS with planning

  • Monday, January 27, 2020 9:46 AM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    Honorable Tamara Paltin, Chair

    Maui County Planning and Sustainable Land Use Committee

    Council of the County of Maui 

    Wailuku, Hawaii 96793

    RE: Proposed Bill PSLU-21 CC 17-173

    Dear Committee Chair Tamara Paltin and Planning and Sustainable Land Use Committee Members,


    A component in the Molokai Community Plan adopted in 2018 is that collaboration between community, government, and landowners is needed for the future of Molokai, its people and its culture (page 23). This kind of collaboration will start with good policy. 

    Another important action outlined in the Molokai Community Plan is the expansion of complementary tourism markets, supporting limited growth of alternative lodging units, and support increased enforcement of the STRH ordinance. The Planning Department just started its new enforcement fines on December 22, 2019. These other two items, join several others in the list of goals for a stable, balanced, diversified, and sustainable economy, respecting cultural and natural resources, that is compatible with Moloka'i's rural island lifestyle (page 65).

    I am not comfortable with the idea of phasing out Legally permitted vacation rentals on Molokai, and what this committee is putting forth in this bill seems to contradict what was outlined in the community plan.  In the last ten years, the County has worked so hard on the permitting process for legal rentals and 18 individuals have invested in good faith to obtain legal permits on Molokai. Existing permit holders should be allowed to renew. 

    Current Single-Family Housing Stock on Molokai is 2632 Single Family Units (Molokai Community Plan 2018 page 86), and of the 18 permits there are 20 dwellings, this is less than 1% of the housing on the island. This is not too much. This is in line with the goals set forth in the community plan. These permitted homes paid $154,349 in real property taxes in 2019, an increase of nearly $40,000 from 2018. These are important funds for the Molokai community and the county. Median nightly rental rates for these properties range from about $265 in Central Molokai to $376 in East Molokai to $613 on the West End.

    It would be a disservice to the community, to the goals set forth in the community plan, to set the cap to zero. These homes have attract visitors that spend a high dollar amount while on vacation as well as providing the highest economic benefit to local residents in the way of property managers, cleaners, landscapers, and concierge services providers, as well as supporting the complementary tourism markets like fishing, hiking, and hunting tours, just to name a few. Please set the cap to allow the existing homes to remain. 


    If complaints are a problem, perhaps this body could request a part-time inspector to reside on Molokai. And, neighbors also have the ability to have register complaints with the County. There have not been any complaints registered in 2019 on the current permit holders, the complaints that were registered in 2018 and earlier that involved certain permits were addressed. 


    The legalization of short term rental homes has helped to meet an established need for our tourism industry, allowing a small business to flourish. The permitting process was created to regulate and limit short term rentals in the community. Phasing out the permitted operations will leave Molokai open to more illegal operations, who will not pay the higher tax rates applied to permitted operations.


    There is a demand for a limited number of short term rental homes on Molokai. Moreover, there has been significant investment from the Maui County budget 2019 towards Molokai tourism. 


    The individuals that have gone through considerable effort and expense to be legally granted a permit show that they want to work with the community and believe that they have made the best efforts to invest in tourism in Molokai through the legal process. They do not believe that this committee should be considering that they should be giving up this land use right that they have paid so much to obtain through the county’s permitting process, as well as work with the community to obtain. 


    We absolutely want enforcement of those operating without permits or those violating the terms of their permit. However revoking a permit that has never had any issues, or not letting them renew a permit that was legally obtained should not be something that this committee is supporting. It is detrimental to the community of Molokai, against the goals of the community plan and further punishing a small business operating to the best of their ability to benefit this community. It also punishes those that are currently working at the vacation rentals or the businesses that rely on the visitors that stay at them.

    We want the community of Molokai to thrive. We want to support the rural subsistence lifestyle that is here, and we want to support the kind of tourism that the community needs. We feel that the limited Short Term Rental homes available on the island is a critical part of the community. We do not support capping them out to zero.


    Thank you for considering my testimony


    Jen Russo

    Executive Director

    Maui Vacation Rental Association

  • Wednesday, January 22, 2020 12:54 PM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    The Planning Department’s new fines for illegal operation of short term rentals, transient vacation rentals and bed and breakfast are in effect as of December 22, 2019. The new fines are $20,000 for an initial fine for a notice of violation, with daily fines accruing at $10,000 a day. I have seen an uptick in the request for service logs in the Planning Department, there were a total of 16 in December of 2019, we are at 23 as of today already in January 2020. 

    The Planning Department says 5 Notice of Warnings have gone out so far. What that means is those receiving a warning have 7 days to act to stop operations. If not the Notice of Violation will go out that will include the fines. 

    I am keeping track of the RFS numbers, and will keep reporting back on information on the new system of fines. I am hoping we will see a reduction in illegal short term rental activity. Please let me know if this is the case for your neighborhood. Or if you would like more information please email or call me at 808-280-3286.

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