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City leaders crack down on illegal vacation rentals on Oahu

<i>KITV</i><br/>The battle over vacation rentals on Oahu isn't over. A judge recently ruled against a city ordinance that made short-term rentals illegal in all but resort areas. But today
KITV
KITV
The battle over vacation rentals on Oahu isn't over. A judge recently ruled against a city ordinance that made short-term rentals illegal in all but resort areas. But today

By Kristen Consillio

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    Oahu, Hawaii (KITV) — The battle over vacation rentals on Oahu isn’t over. A judge recently ruled against a city ordinance that made short-term rentals illegal in all but resort areas. But today, the city struck back.

“What’s at stake right now could not be anymore important to the people of this island,” said Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi. “It’s driven up prices, it’s disrupted neighborhoods, it’s just done a whole lot of things, it’s prevented people from even finding places to live.”

While pledging to defend a ban on rentals under 90 days, Blangiardi says the city is also cracking down on illegal vacation rentals.

“We’re going to fine aggressively at unprecedented levels,” he said. “If, in fact, those fines are not paid we’re going to put liens on properties.”

The city will begin enforcement on Monday with a team of seven full-time inspectors.

If caught advertising, owners will be fined up to $10,000 a day.

Officials will also monitor 60 websites for those breaking the law and work with companies such as Airbnb and Expedia to ensure their customers are following the rules.

The city estimates as many as 14,000 homes are illegal short-term rentals.

“We’re not looking to harass anybody or to punish anybody, but we got to take control of this situation and we will,” the mayor said. “We’re going to be unyielding in our efforts here.”

The Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance was successful in temporarily blocking the city from banning rentals under 90 days.

In a statement, the advocacy group for rental managers said the city ordinance “took away over 35 years of long standing law that allowed owners to rent for periods of 30 days or greater. Owners structured their finances, retirements, and life planning around this long standing rule.”

City leaders are allowing condo hotels in four districts — two in Waikiki, one in Ko Olina and one in Turtle Bay.

Property owners can start registering condo hotels beginning on Monday, and residents can report illegal rentals to a new confidential hotline.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - Regional

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