hawaii airbnb laws

It’s no secret that Hawaii and Airbnb have been at odds for quite some time. With the rise of vacation rentals and short-term rentals through platforms like Airbnb, Hawaii has faced a significant uptick in tourism. This has resulted in debates over the impact of short-term rentals on local communities, housing affordability, and taxes. In order to address these concerns, Hawaii has implemented strict laws and regulations for Airbnb hosts. If you’re planning on hosting visitors in your Hawaiian home through Airbnb, it’s important to understand these laws and how to comply with them. This post will serve as a comprehensive guide for hosts on Hawaii’s Airbnb laws in 2024.

Note: Regulations regarding vacation rentals are fast-moving and subject to change. It is important to stay informed and regularly check for updates from the city.

Host Tools provides an automated, unified calendar for short-term rental hosts, allowing you to seamlessly list on all major channels. Start your free trial today!

Changes and Updates on Hawaii Airbnb Laws for 2024

Hawaii’s laws governing vacation rentals have undergone significant changes to address community concerns and regulate the growing number of short-term rentals. Here are some of the key updates for 2024:

  • Stricter zoning regulations to control where short-term rentals can operate.
  • Enhanced registration and licensing requirements for all Airbnb hosts.
  • Increased enforcement and penalties for non-compliance.
  • Modifications to the Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT) and other related taxes.

Legal Requirements for Short-term Rental Owners in Hawaii

Compliance with these regulations ensures the sustainability of the tourism industry, helps protect local communities, and preserves housing affordability. By understanding and adhering to these legal requirements, hosts can provide their guests with a safer, more reliable experience while contributing positively to Hawaii’s economy and community well-being.

Registration and Licensing

All Airbnb hosts in Hawaii must register their rentals with the state and obtain the necessary licenses. This process includes:

  • Completing an application form with details about the property and its intended use.
  • Paying a registration fee.
  • Displaying the registration number prominently in all rental listings and advertisements.


Airbnb hosts must also comply with tax regulations, including the Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT) and General Excise Tax (GET). Here’s what you need to know:

  • Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT): This tax, also known as transient vacation rentals, applies to all short-term rentals and must be collected from guests and remitted to the state. The current TAT rate is 3%.
  • General Excise Tax (GET): In addition to the TAT, Airbnb hosts and property owners are required to pay the GET, which is currently set at 4.5% on rental income.

Hawaii offers a tax map key that can explain your zone’s specific requirements. View the map here.

Zoning Regulations

Hawaii has implemented stricter zoning laws to manage the impact of short-term rentals on local communities. Most vacation rental homes are only allowed in the resort-zoned areas.

Before investing in a vacation rental property, be sure to check the specific requirements of the island you’re buying land on. Key points to consider include:

  • Identifying specific zones where short-term rentals are permitted.
  • Requiring hosts to ensure their property complies with local zoning laws before listing it on Airbnb.
  • Regular inspections to ensure compliance with zoning regulations.

Here are a few quick considerations for the individual islands:

  • Oahu: Short-term rentals are only allowed in resort-zoned areas and a few apartment-zoned areas.
  • Maui: Maui County allows vacation rentals that are under 180 days. However, there are strict laws and regulations to be aware of.
  • Big Island: Vacation rentals are almost entirely limited to the resort-zoned areas.
  • Kauai: Short-term rentals are only allowed within the Visitor Destination Areas. However, exceptions are made for listings that are considered eligible for a “nonconforming use certificate.”

Practical Tips and Best Practices for Short-term Rentals in Hawaii

Staying compliant with Hawaii’s Airbnb state and local laws requires ongoing effort and diligence. Here are some practical tips to help you stay on the right side of the law:

  • Stay Informed: Regularly check for updates on Hawaii’s Airbnb laws and regulations. Joining local host communities and subscribing to relevant newsletters can keep you informed.
  • Keep Accurate Records: Maintain detailed records of all your rental activities, including guest information, rental income, and tax payments to ensure you’re following Hawaii tax laws.
  • Communicate Clearly with Guests: Make sure your guests are aware of the house rules and any local regulations they must follow during their stay.
  • Use Professional Services: Consider hiring a property manager or legal advisor who specializes in vacation rentals to help you navigate complex regulations and ensure compliance.

Key Takeaways for Short-term Vacation Rentals

Understanding and adhering to Hawaii’s Airbnb laws in 2024 is crucial for maintaining a successful and compliant vacation rental business. By staying informed about the latest changes, following practices to operate legal vacation rentals, and implementing best practices, you can avoid penalties and provide a positive experience for your guests.

Host Tools provides an automated, unified calendar for short-term rental hosts, allowing you to seamlessly list on all major channels. Start your free trial today!

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