February 13, 2020

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

“T he 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, and certainly are not paying these higher tax rates.

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!  
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.


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 Baskin 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 , https://surfclub.com/ .

MVRA Annual Report 2020
February 6, 2020

Major Accomplishments
  • MVRA lived another year – four out of five board members were new
  • Hired and Trained, Executive Director, Jen Russo
  • Created and Launched new Website – www.mauivacationrentalassociation.org
  • 19 STR permits granted, 29 B&B permits granted
  • Total: 229 STR permits, 156 B&B permits
  • 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. 
  • Published newsletters and updates to membership
  • Created private Facebook group page and MVRA Facebook page
  • Advocacy, Testimony, Meetings, Alliances
  • 9 County Council meetings
  • All Planning Commission meetings either attended in person or reviewed video/tape record
  • 12 Testimonies presented in person or written in
  • 6 County Council meetings attended
  • 1 Board of Variances and Appeals attended
  • 1 Annual Community Council of Maui meeting attended and presented
  • 1 Meeting with AirBnB, 1 presentation at Community Council of Maui
  • 4 Planning Committee meetings attended
  • All Community Plan meetings attended or reviewed
  • 2 Mayor’s Press Conferences attended
  • 4 Community Association meetings attended.
  • 10 MVRA Board meetings
  • Went from 0 to 60 paying members
  • Helped to keep Paia/Haiku STR’s renewable and existing applications (already in the pipeline) viable
  • Helped to lessen property tax rate increase from proposed $15/$1000 assessed value to $10.

Unsuccessful Endeavors
  • New rule instituted mandating renewal applications be submitted 60 days or more prior to permit expiration date. 
  • Reduced cap for STR permits in Paia/Haiku area from 88 to 55
  • Lost ability to apply for STR permit within the Shoreline Management Area in Paia/Haiku district.
  • 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, February 7, 2020). 

Goals for 2020
  • Modify or stop current and near future legislation threatening existing STR renewals
  • Modify or stop reduction of STR’s in the Lahaina Historic District to zero  
  • Set up Tour of STR’s and B&B’s for Council Members, Mayor
  • Continue meeting with legislative representatives, Mayor, Planning
  • Engage Kapuna in every district
  • Investigate legality of current and proposed legislation that may threaten STR renew-ability
  • Be a pro-active voice in CPAC (Community Plan) process
  • Advocate for less bureaucracy by opposing the creation of Community Advisory Committees to the Planning Commission
  • Continue to create a repository (on website) for member and guest use:
  • Maui Cultural / Historical education
  • Environmental education and tips
  • Ocean Safety
  • Local Customs
  • Be the authority on STR and B&B data
  • Taxes remitted by district
  • Actual number of bedrooms/units offered
  • Send press releases to news outlets

Financial Report: 2019 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

Molokai Zero STRH Cap

The County Council unanimously passed the change to cap Molokai STRH to zero at their meeting on Friday February 7th. There has been a lot of testimony on this, and the council still feels like the majority of the testimony from the community on Molokai is in support of capping short term rentals to zero. 

Maui Planning Department Enforcement Report

The Maui Planning Department released their 2019 enforcement report:

  • 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? Let us know.



Jen Russo
Executive Director
A new  Maui Vacation Rental Association Website  is up - and we have begin renewing memberships in the new system. If you haven't signed up, please do so! Your membership is critical to the work we do. Please take a moment to respond to invoices and login to the new site. We will be sending future emails from this new system. We will continue to develop this site with County updates, featured properties, new member highlights, and directories of vendor businesses. There are new monthly membership payment options as well. Please keep an eye out for membership emails coming from the new site and email me with any questions on this process.