A partnership between Kaua‘i County and global travel platforms has helped eliminate illegal vacation rentals on the island.
“With a combined effort of increased enforcement, as well as partnerships with third-party platforms such as Expedia, the Kaua‘i Planning Department estimates that illegal vacation rentals on Kaua‘i have gone from roughly 1,500 in 2017 down to less than 50 today,” said Kaua‘i County Mayor Derek Kawakami. “Our successful collaboration with Expedia Group highlights what can be done when we work together to protect our community while welcoming responsible vacation owners and their guests.”
Kawakami on Thursday, Dec. 2, provided an update about the county’s vacation rental regulation and enforcement program established through an agreement between the county and third-party platforms, including Expedia and its parent company, Vrbo.com. The agreement was fully implemented in August.
The partnership was designed to help the county track and regulate vacation rentals while allowing responsible property owners to operate and continue contributing to the island’s economy. The program implemented a mandatory field on all listings for displaying the government-issued Tax Map Key number. Vacation rental listings were given 60 days after implementation to provide a TMK number or risk being deactivated.
“I’m proud of county staff who’ve worked tirelessly to implement an effective and efficient enforcement program,” said county Planning Director Kaʻāina Hull. “Our partnership with Mayor Kawakami and the team at Expedia Group has drastically curtailed illegal rentals without draining valuable county resources.”
Besides the requirement of including TMK numbers, the agreement requires Expedia to provide monthly reports of all properties on its sites and remove listings that county staff identify as illegal. The program has saved resources for the county, cutting the need for additional enforcement staff in half.
“Collaboration is a cornerstone of Expedia Group’s engagement in public policy efforts around the globe,” said Ann Simons, Hawaii government affairs manager at Expedia Group. “This agreement and the close cooperation between us, our hosts and the county that followed is a perfect example of the progress that can be made when all stakeholders come together. Mayor Kawakami and his team’s leadership on these efforts has been instrumental in advancing policy that truly benefits Kaua‘i.”