Submit testimony for 9/19 Honolulu Planning Commission hearing re: vacation rentals

On September 5, the Honolulu Planning Commission heard several bills re: vacation rentals and decided to hold another meeting to hear more public testimony. Their next hearing will be on Wed. 9/19 at 1:30pm at the Mission Memorial Auditorium (550 South King Street, Honolulu, Hawaii).

Submit testimony by Mon. 9/17 to stand up for affordable housing by emailing [email protected] or using our email form below. If you already submitted testimony for the 9/5 hearing, spread the word to your family and friends and ask them to submit testimony.

We urge you to do the following:

  • Support Res. 17-52, CD1. You may remember that AiKea organized to pass Res. 17-52 CD1 last November. We believe that Res. 17-52 CD1 would do the best job in enforcing illegal vacation rentals and protecting our affordable housing.
  • Oppose Agenda Item 2. AKA the Mayor’s omnibus bill.
    • We urge you to oppose this bill because it does nothing to hold platforms like Airbnb accountable, which will make enforcement difficult if not impossible.
    • The omnibus bill would also allow an unlimited number of B&Bs (owner-occupied short-term rentals). Keep it Kailua estimates that there are 175,000 housing units on Oahu that could qualify to get a B&B permit. We don’t have a problem with local residents who need to rent out part of their home to make ends meet, but allowing an unlimited number of these rentals is irresponsible and will hurt our local rental market.

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Testimony needed: Tell Airbnb and our legislators that we need affordable housing

The Honolulu Planning Commission will be hearing several bills re: vacation rentals on Wed. 9/5 at 1:30p at the Mission Memorial Auditorium (550 South King Street, Honolulu, Hawaii).

Submit testimony by Mon. 9/3 to stand up for affordable housing by emailing [email protected] or using our email form below. We urge you to do the following:

  • Support Res. 17-52, CD1. You may remember that AiKea organized to pass Res. 17-52 CD1 last November. We believe that Res. 17-52 CD1 would do the best job in enforcing illegal vacation rentals and protecting our affordable housing.
  • Oppose Agenda Item 2. AKA the Mayor’s omnibus bill.
    • We urge you to oppose this bill because it does nothing to hold platforms like Airbnb accountable, which will make enforcement difficult if not impossible.
    • The omnibus bill would also allow an unlimited number of B&Bs (owner-occupied short-term rentals). Keep it Kailua estimates that there are 175,000 housing units on Oahu that could qualify to get a B&B permit. We don’t have a problem with local residents who need to rent out part of their home to make ends meet, but allowing an unlimited number of these rentals is irresponsible and will hurt our local rental market.

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Testimony needed: Oppose Bills 51 & 52, stop criminalizing our houseless community

TESTIMONY NEEDED: Oppose Bill 51 and Bill 52 which criminalize our houseless community. Honolulu City Council’s Public Works, Infrastructure and Sustainability Committee will be hearing the bills next Wednesday, 7/25 at 1pm.
Both bills are awful, but Bill 52 is so broad that it could criminalize anything anyone does on sidewalks or other public property. It would give police officers unbridled discretion to make any activity illegal and then prosecute people for that activity.
Submit testimony opposing the bills here: http://www.honolulu.gov/ccl-testimony-form.html.

 

Big Island residents: OPPOSE Bill 108 to protect affordable housing

Hawaii County Council’s Committee on Planning will be hearing Bill 108 Draft 3 on Tuesday, July 10 at 10:30am at Hawai’i County Building (25 Aupuni St. Hilo, HI). Bill 108 Draft 3 is a bad bill that needs to be opposed to protect our affordable housing from being turned into vacation rentals (aka short-term rentals, or STRs).

Submit written or video testimony before Monday, July 9 at 12:00pm by emailing [email protected]. Click here for more details on submitting testimony.

Here are some reasons why we are opposing Bill 108 Draft 3:

  • The bill defines a short-term rental (STR) as “a dwelling unit of which the owner or operator does not reside on the building site, that has no more than five bedrooms for rent on the building site, and is rented for a period of thirty consecutive days or less. This definition shall not apply to the short-term use of an owner’ s primary residence as defined under the Internal Revenue Code.” (emphasis added)
    • This means if the owner resides in the same building, it is not even considered an STR and is not regulated at all. Proving how much time the owner actually spends in the building is essentially impossible, meaning as long as the owner claims this as the legal residence, the building is exempt no matter how many units it offers. A very big loophole.
    • This also means buildings with more than five bedrooms are not STRs and therefore have no regulations.
  • The bill doesn’t mention anything about rental services or platforms like Airbnb, which advertise STRs. These services should be required to file reports of the units they list in order to effectively enforce any vacation rental regulations.
  • It does not include any penalties for those who would violate this new law.
  • It does not allow private enforcement, such as allowing neighbors to file complaints or take private actions

Tell legislators: don’t let Airbnb off the hook!

AiKea and other affordable housing advocates support HB2605 HD2 SD2 because it holds illegal vacation rental operators more accountable. Vacation rentals are taking away what little affordable housing is left in Hawai’i.

HB2605 HD2 SD2 is currently in the House-Senate Conference Committee. Tell them to SUPPORT HB2605 HD2 SD2 and move it forward. Please take a minute to email the conferees, especially if they are your representative/senator.

Use the form below to easily send them an email.

The conferees are:

  • Senate:
    • Glenn Wakai (586-8585)
    • Clarence Nishihara (586-6970)
    • Gil Keith-Agaran (586-7344)
  • House:
    • Richard Onishi (586-6120)
    • Scott Nishimoto (586-8515)
    • Sylvia Luke (586-6200)
    • Ty Cullen (586-8490)
    • Bob McDermott (586-9730)
    • Troy Hashimoto (586-9444)

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Tell legislators to move SB2963 SD 199 forward to protect our affordable housing

Earlier this week, the Senate Ways and Means (WAM) & Economic Development, Tourism, and Technology (ETT) Committees heard SB 2999 – a decent bill that would take several important steps in addressing illegal vacation rentals and their negative impact on housing for locals.

AiKea and other affordable housing advocates supported SB 2999, but it was deferred to another hearing on Monday. Just yesterday, another bill surfaced with its original language being gutted and replaced with much of the same language found in SB 2999.

The new bill, SB 2963 SD1, still includes important provisions that would increase the counties’ abilities to enforce illegal vacation rentals.  The Senate Committees will be hearing the new bill TOMORROW: Monday, February 5th at 9:55 a.m.  Please take the time to send in testimony supporting SB 2963 SD1 now.

Airbnb and its hosts oppose these bills. Including a “co-host” from California who is paid to fly to Hawai’i to host other people’s vacation rentals, located in neighborhoods like Aiea and Kapolei.

BEWARE: there are over 30 bills re: vacation rentals this legislative session. Any one of them can be gutted and replaced with the bad bills that Airbnb has been trying to pass for the past 2 years. We must be vigilant and let the legislators know that we’re watching.

Send an email to the WAM and ETT committees: encourage them to move SB2963 SD 1 forward. It will only take a minute to send an email using this form on our website:

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Res. 17-52 CD1 moves forward, but more testimony needed

Now more than ever, we need you to take action. We only have 6 days left to make sure Res. 17-52 CD1 continues to move forward so that we can protect our affordable housing.

At yesterday’s Zoning & Housing hearing, Chair Kymberly Pine and the committee decided to move Res. 17-52 CD1 forward. As countless testifiers stated, local residents are living paycheck to paycheck, and many are faced with the reality that they will never be able to buy a home. Many are a paycheck away from being homeless. Affordable rentals for residents are needed now more than ever. Res. 17-52 CD1 will be heard again by the full City Council next Wed. 11/1 at 10:00a.

Submit testimony to SUPPORT Res. 17-52 CD1. It’ll only take a minute to fill out the email form below submit testimony:

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Submit testimony: Support Res. 17-52 CD1 to protect our affordable housing

There are FOUR resolutions re: vacation rentals that will be heard by the Honolulu City Council’s Zoning & Housing Committee this Thursday, Oct. 26 at 9:00a.

We urge you to SUPPORT Res. 17-52 CD1. As you may recall, it’s been 6 months since Res. 17-52 was heard. Submit testimony so Res. 17-52 can move forward. We’re in the middle of an affordable housing crisis. We can’t let another 6 months go by without this vacation rentals issue being addressed. Currently, there are an estimated 33,000 homes being used as vacation rentals in the state.

Res. 17-52 CD1 is the only resolution that addresses the issue of enforcement of vacation rentals. The majority of vacation rentals in Hawai’i are illegal, and a lack of enforcement greatly contributes to this.

Therefore, OPPOSE the other 3 vacation rental resolutions: Res. 17-301, 17-163, and 17-164.

  • 17-164 wants to open up more vacation rental permits, but we think more permits won’t fix the problem if the enforcement isn’t there.
  • 17-163 and 17-301 would change residential zoning to allow vacation rentals in our neighborhoods.

Submit testimony in SUPPORT of Res. 17-52 CD1 before 9:00a on Thursday, Oct. 26. Tell City Council to protect our affordable housing!

You can testify in person, or just submit written testimony. Here are two ways you can submit testimony:

  • Visit the City Council website:
    • Fill out your name, phone number, and email
    • Meeting date is 10-26-2017
    • Council/PH Committee is “Zoning & Housing”
    • Agenda item is Resolution 17-52
    • Your position on the matter: Support
    • You can register in person at the hearing, or not
    • Write your testimony in the box, or attach it as a .doc, .docx, or .pdf
  • Email your testimony using this form below with sample language on our website, with the Zoning & Housing Committee members CCed:

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Thu. 10/19 – Union Day of Action

Thursday, October 19, 2017

4:00p – 6:00p

The Ilikai Hotel (1777 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96815)

Now, more than ever, it’s time for working people to take a stand—and stand together. UNITE HERE will be mobilizing more than 20,000 members in 20 cities across the U.S. & Canada to show that standing together in union is the best way to create an economy that works for everyone—not just the wealthiest 1%.

Our Honolulu action will be at the historic Ilikai Hotel, operated by Aqua-Aston Hospitality—the largest hotel operator in Hawai’i. Union workers at the Ilikai are working more for less. They are paid $3.51/hour less than the union hotel workers across the street, and they have to clean rooms that are much larger with full-sized kitchens.. We must demand from Aqua-Aston and other hotel corporations that Hawai’i wants the union standard, not the Aqua-Aston standard.

For more information, visit our Facebook event.

To find actions in other cities, visit the UNITE HERE website.

Tell Councilmember Pine to schedule Res. 17-52 for hearing

If you live in Honolulu Councilmember Kymberly Pine‘s district (Ewa, Ewa Beach, Kapolei, Makakilo, Kalaeloa, Honokai Hale, Ko Olina, Nanakuli, Waianae, Makaha, Keeau, Makua, Maili), we need your help! Call and leave a message for your Councilmember, Kymberly Pine, and tell her to schedule Res. 17-52 for hearing: 768-5001.

Here is a sample script for your message to Councilmember Pine: “Hello, my name is [NAME]. I live in [STREET NAME] and I’m a voter in your district. I’m calling to let you know I’m disappointed in you for NOT scheduling Resolution 17-52 for a hearing. I support better enforcement of vacation rentals because this will protect our affordable housing. As Zoning & Housing Chair, we need you to support 17-52.”

Res. 17-52 would help Honolulu County rein in the growing number of illegal vacation rental operations and protect our affordable housing. Currently, there are an estimated 33,000 homes being used as vacation rentals in the state. On Oahu, there are an estimated 6,789 vacation rentals—the majority of which are illegal. Each month, there have been an average of 399 new vacation rentals listed.

In April, Res. 17-52 was introduced to City Council and heard in the Zoning & Housing Committee, which Councilmember Pine chairs. She committed to us that she would support our efforts and instructed us to work directly with Councilmember Ron Menor and that he would take the lead. We have done as she asked. We have met multiple times with city officials like the Department of Planning & Permitting (DPP) and Councilmember Menor. Yet when Councilmember Menor requested her to schedule the bill again for a hearing, she refused. It’s been 2 months since she heard the bill in her committee and she hasn’t done a thing to indicate she meant what she said.