Illegal vacation rentals are coming to the forefront of issues in Hawaii relating to vacation rentals. On the Big Island of Hawaii we do not deal with illegal rentals as far as zoning goes, but we do deal with owners not adhering to the current laws and the State of Hawaii not enforicing them. My question is: Who is at fault, the homeowner or their unlicensed agent?
The Hawaii Law clearly states that to manage a vacation rental in Hawaii you must have a real estate brokers licensed and be set up to do property management (HRS Chapter 467). The only common condition is that if you are an employee of an individual and only manage that one property. It is becoming more and more common for homeowners to just use their housekeepers as their managing agent in order to save money in this tough economy. Not only is this hurting the local property management companies, but it is also hurting the state as there is being less income generated within small businesses in the state of Hawaii, which in turn is costing the state tax dollars.
As the issue was becoming greater and greater I was getting really frustrated with the people that were involved in these activites, but I soon realized that it really was not their fault, but the State of Hawaiis'. At no point has the State attempted to enforce the laws or to even make people aware of them. What I feel should happen is the State of Hawaii should send letters to anyone renting their property out letting them know what the rules are and then from that point forward they be held acountable.
If the State of Hawaii did hold someone accountable who would it be? The person really at fault is the housekeeper whom is acting as a broker, but is unlicensed. It also seems as though the homeowner should be at fault also for knowingly acting against the law with their vacation rental.