Tag Archives: Airbnb


  The City and County of Honolulu City Council adopted Bill 89 and Bill 85 on June 17, 2019 after many long and contentious hearings.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed Bill 89 into law on June 25, 2019. On July 3, the City Council chose not to address Bill 85 Veto.

Here is the information provided by the Department of Planning and Permitting:

 June 21, 2019

City Department of Planning and Permitting

New Regulations on Short-Term Rentals

Bill 89 CD2 was adopted by City Council on Monday, June 17. It is awaiting action by Mayor Kirk Caldwell. Its main points:

 _Allows a limited number of new Bed and Breakfast Homes (B&B) in non-resort areas under a new registration process, with annual renewal required.

 _Continues to prohibit Transient Vacation Units, or “unhosted” rentals, in non-resort areas, unless the dwelling has a Nonconforming Use Certificate (NUC).

 _Regulates hosting platforms, such as Expedia or Airbnb, requiring monthly reports to be filed with the Department of Planning and Permitting, which will share the information with City Council.

 _Makes illegal any form of advertising short-term rentals which are not in compliance with zoning regulations as provided in Bill 89. Bill 89 CD2: http://bit.ly/2Kt9Qu9

The following Questions and Answers are based on the assumption that Bill 89 CD2 will shortly be enacted into law.


I own an unhosted, “whole house,” or Transient Vacation Unit. I pay taxes. Can I continue to advertise online and in the local newspaper?

Only if the dwelling has a NUC or is located in a resort district.

When will the department start enforcing the new advertising restrictions?

Beginning August 1, 2019.

What are the fines for illegal advertising?

Owners of the property involved in illegal advertising will be notified, and if the advertisement is taken down in 7 days, no fine will be imposed for a first offense. If not taken down within this deadline, fines of between $1,000 and $10,000 can be imposed for each day the advertisement remains on display.

If the management company for my property places an illegal ad, will the company get cited?

They may be cited, but Bill 89 CD2 says, “The burden of proof is on the owner of the subject real property to establish that the property is not being used as a bed and breakfast home or transient vacation unit or that the advertisement was placed without the property owner’s knowledge or consent.”


I have been operating a Bed and Breakfast Home for several years. Do I still have to obtain a registration number?

Yes, unless you have a NUC.

I only rent out my house for more than 30 days at a time. Do I need to register?


I only rent my house while my family spends 2 weeks each year visiting family on the mainland. Do I need to register? When can I register?

Registration will begin no sooner than October 1, 2020.

Why do we have to wait more than year to register?

The time is required for the Department to develop more specific procedures for implementing Bill 89 CD2, including the adoption of rules, and creating the software to help with enforcement and the registration process. If necessary, it provides time to acquire more staff and to train them.

What are the registration requirements?

There are more than a dozen requirements. Most notable:

 _Applicants must be “natural persons,” and not an organization or company

 _Applicants must have a home exemption granted under real property tax law

 _There must be insurance coverage for bed and breakfast use

 _The initial registration fee is $1,000. For annual renewals, the fee is $2,000

 _No more than 2 bedrooms can be used for visitor accommodations

 _Quiet hours must be observed between 10 pm and 8 am

 _If part of a homeowners or apartment owners association, approval by that association must be obtained

 _Neighbors within 250 feet must be given a phone number to contact to make complaints 24 hours a day

For the complete list of requirements, refer to Bill 89 CD2: http://bit.ly/2Kt9Qu9 3

Are there other requirements?

Density Limit. No more than 0.5% of the total number of dwelling units in each regional development plan area (DPA) can be used as B&Bs. Here are the limits by area:

New B&Bs are not allowed in the North Shore area, based on directives of the North Shore Sustainable Communities Plan: http://bit.ly/2Y4QpLg

Condominium Limit. Up to 50% of units in a condominium building may be allowed a B&B, subject to AOAO approval.

Nontransferable. Registration numbers are not transferable to another property, nor transferable to another homeowner.

Separation Minimum. B&Bs must be at least 1,000 feet from each other. This does not apply to units in resort areas and NUCs.

Renewal Criteria. Noise and other nuisance complaints can be grounds to deny renewal requests.

For the complete list of requirements, refer to Bill 89 CD2: http://bit.ly/2Kt9Qu9

How long will it take to get registered?

It is not yet determined. An online registration process is anticipated, but certain requirements will have to be verified; e.g. compliance with parking requirements.

If only a limited number of registration numbers will be given out, how can I guarantee to get one?

There is no provision for guarantees.

How will it be determined who gets a registration number?

Generally on first-come, first-served basis. If the number of requests exceeds the limit for a DPA, then a lottery will be held.

How will the lottery system work?

This will be fleshed out in the Rules. There will be a public hearing on the draft Rules before they are finalized.

I am currently operating a B&B, and do not have a NUC, so will need to register. Will I get priority in the registration process?


Can I advertise and operate a short-term rental once I register?

No. To avoid a citation, operation cannot occur until the registration process has been completed and registration number issued.


Note that DPP has not mentioned about the property tax designation to “Resort”.  It’s unclear whether it would be based only on the two bedrooms of a home.

Refer to the Department’s website:honoluludpp.org

Email the Department:info@honoluludpp.org

Call the Department:

Advertising Restrictions: 768-8127

Registration Process: 768-8127

General Zoning Information: 768-8252

Make a complaint: 768-8127

Public Information Officer: 768-8284

Choon James has been a real estate broker for over 30 years. She can be reached at 808 293 8888 ChoonJamesHawaii@gmail.com 

Daniel James has been a Real Estate Associate for 5 years. He can be reached at 808 542- 5165 http://www.HawaiiRealEstateOhana.com

Laie Point Cliff Collapse – Erosion or Shoreline Set Back Violations?

Laniloa Point aka “Laie Point” in Laie, Oahu is a peninsula that juts into the ocean.

The peninsula rises to higher elevation (40-45 feet) at the Laie Point Lookout. A small part of the Peninsula is connected at ground level by Clissolds Beach aka Bikini Beach. However, most of the Point peninsula drop into the ocean waters with no sandy beach below.

Several Point properties have carved steps on the 40-feet shoreline setback in their backyards to gain access to the ocean waters.

On October 1, 2018 a resident was walking along Clissolds Beach and noticed huge quantities of fresh naupaka foliage with its roots washed up along the shores. She had not seen this the day before. It was estimated that this cliff collapse triggered at 55-064 Naupaka Street happened in the early morning of October 1, 2018.

I live next door to this property. My house is the one on the far right. We built this home with our mason friend, Wahanui Elkington and other construction friends about 25 years ago.

Our next door neighbors then (subject white roof house with safety netting) were friendly and open. It was just the two of them senior citizens. They let the surrounding neighborhood children visit them at will. She loved children. They had a grand piano. They had a small Koi pond. We visited often. He even showed me the natural fissure in their shoreline set back  and suggested carving steps to access to the waters below, together. We both didn’t do anything about it. She passed away first. Her husband later sold the property in 2007 to the current owner from California.

This property would turn into an Airbnb vacation rental. Many illegal vacation rental impacts problems ensued.

We would be subjected to loud partying, be woken up by loud quarrels and so on. Their hot tub was first situated next to our yard boundary but would later be relocated even closer to the ocean. There would then be a fire pit with smoke coming our way.

We would hear jack-hammering. Sometimes I would even hear jack-hammering in the darkness but it would stop after I turned on our deck porch lights. These hammering, chipping, terracing and fillings into the  40 feet shoreline set back began around 2012. I heard the jack hammering and also felt the vibrations through the years.

As recently as last month, a local fisherman attested to hammering activities then in facebook comments. The local fisherman also commented he was told he was not allowed to fish from the cliff ledge.

Another local fisherman commented he could no longer fish there because of the cliff collapse. His fishing spot has disappeared. There was a parameter foot path along the cliff ledge  where local fishermen used. That path is now cut short.

Airbnb Guest reviews in 2013 also reveal the “carving” into the 40 feet setback on the cliff for a hot tub and other amenities to be closer to the ocean.

Photos of the Airbnb vacation rental website, closed as of October 14, 2018, also showed the encroachments and placement of amenities into the 40-feet shoreline setback.

Through the years, the operators – Eric Orr – Property Manager, of this illegal vacation rental encroached and violated Hawaii’s 40-feet shoreline setback. These continuing encroachments into the 40-feet shoreline set back crept closer and closer to the edge of the cliff and ocean.

I emailed the property owner who lives at Dana Point, California about this cliff collapse on October 1, 2018. His response was that it was an “erosion”.  He said to contact his property manager who also claimed “erosion” and that he was in no way responsible for the cliff collapse.  Their seven Airbnb online websites for Laie have been discontinued as of October 14, 2018.

As of October 15, 2018, the  Honolulu City and County Department of Planning and Permitting has issued a NOTICE OF VIOLATION to the owners in California – “Development work within the 40-ft shoreline setback, but not limited to, including a CMU fish pond, hot tub, and a circular stone fire pit-type structure are to be removed and so forth.

The Notice of Violation also stated for owners to “Restore the area immediately . . .”

How does one restore the irreparable carved out cliff top and portions of the collapsed cliff?

What is the relevance of the 40-feet shoreline set back in Hawaii?

What do you think?  Is it Erosion or did  the 40-feet shoreline set back violations through years of jack hammering, terracing, fillings, and other activities to get closer and closer to the waters contributed to the cliff collapse into the ocean?  

Additional Photos Taken October 3, 2018

Photos below expose the leveled area, fillings, and missing retaining wall at the trigger spot of the cliff collapse.

Photos below show portions of a natural vertical fissure (left) in this property.

October 17, 2018 Photos Taken BELOW Portions of the leveled area/retaining wall collapsed into the waters. A new bamboo screen and other accessories are seen. New palm frond debris now cover the surface edge of collapsed cliff top.

The hot tub below has been lifted up from its position onto the fire pit area, exposing  grading on cliff surface inside the 40-feet shoreline setback.  Other portions have further been terraced and leveled towards the ocean.

1-29-2013 Laie Point  Google Image (below) showed a “fisherman’s foot path” along the cliff’s edge known to locals.

April 2017 These images below were shared on YouTube, showing sprawl towards the natural fissure in the 40-feet shoreline setback.


UPDATE:  Property Manager Eric Orr later contacted Honolulu City and County DPP Inspector: On Tue, Oct 23, 2018 at 12:59 PM Hirano, Lester <lhirano@honolulu.gov> wrote:

Good afternoon, Choon,

Thanks for the heads-up concerning the edge of the cliff.  I really appreciate your concern for our safety and I’ll be careful not to get too close to the edge!

This morning I received a call from the agent/tenant, Eric Orr who admitted to jackhammering the cliff side in order to carve out a stairway to the rocks at the base of the cliff.

Therefore, since Eric admitted to doing the jackhammering and causing the collapse, the City will now be working on creating a notice of violation to the owner and tenant for causing the cliff side collapse.

Just FYI, I have made an appointment to meet with Eric at the property this Friday at 2pm. In order to observe the progress he’s made in removing the items within the shoreline setback which the City cited him for.

And thank you as well for offering even further assistance than you already have in the form of additional drone flights.  The photos you provided from previous drone flights were extremely useful in pinpointing the problem areas of the subject property.

I’ll let you know when and how the City will be taking action against the owner and agent as soon as I confer with the other DPP planners.”


The Public, fishermen, neighbors and community have yet to receive a response from those responsible – no apologies for destroying a natural resource for their profits; no apologies for destroying the local fishermen’s path; no apologies for destroying our land area. The State of Hawaii needs to tighten the laws and treat this as a crime for those who INTENTIONALLY violate the shoreline management setback laws for their illegal profits and greed and no respect for the aina.