Vacation rental listing sites like Airbnb and Homeaway have majorly disrupted the travel accommodations industry. In Maui County, there has been an explosion of “alternative” short-term rental homes (STRH), including rooms in homes, apartments, cottages- even vans and yurts. Investment property owners may be tempted to jump into the STRH business for a more lucrative return.Proceed with cainspectorution.With more stringent regulations and a new law imposing stiff penalties for illegal operations, converting that STRH to long-term rental may be a better option.Below are some facts about Maui’s short-term rental landscape, and the advantages of putting an investment property into long-term rental.



Limited number of permits

There are 400 STRH permits available on the island of Maui, disbursed among different communities. While only about half of available permits have been issued, getting one may be difficult.

  • Certain popular areas, such as Maui Meadows and the Kaanapali coast have already maxed out on the permits.
  • If you are thinking of buying a property that already has a permit, forget it. Unless you are related to the seller, the permit does not transfer with the sale of the home.
  • It takes a while to get a permit- typically 3 to 6 months, and there is no guarantee it will be approved.

Note the number of STRH permits does not include condominiums that are zoned for short-term rentals. These condos do not need a permit as long as the property’s association bylaws do not prohibit it.

Criteria for getting a permit

While the County of Maui has a laundry list of requirements, a few items to be aware of include:

  • It is required to notify all neighbors and post a prominent sign when applying for a permit. Two complaints by neighbors can kill a permit application.
  • The County will require posting and enforcement of “house rules” including quiet hours and parking restrictions. This may be helpful for a vacation rental, but not so fun if you occupy part of the property.
  • Property owners will lose their homeowner’s property tax exemption when operating a STRH. Also, operators must pay both General Excise and Transient Accommodations taxes.
  • Management is restricted to the applicant, their family members or a licensed realtor. A management sign must be publicly posted on the roadside with a telephone number that can be called 24 hours a day.

Penalty for operating a STRH without a permit
Voters approved a huge increase in fines for operating a short-term rental without a permit. As of Jan 2, 2019, violators can face a civil fine of up to $20,000 plus $10,000 per day for each day the unlawful operation persists. Ouch! Definitely not worth the risk.


Better financial security
When a property is rented for longer durations there is a secure and predictable flow of income. Whereas STRH can bring in more cash during peak seasons, they can also go unoccupied during slow times.

Residential rental homes and apartments can do well in nearly any area of the island as demand is very high. With a shortage of inventory, rents have risen, though we advise staying competitive with rates to optimize occupancy and financial security.

How to provide good management
rentersHiring a property manager is a good way to ensure your investment is occupied, well taken care of and tenants have a “go to” person for communications.

It is important to select the right tenants to avoid the risk of vacancies. Background checks are essential. This article explains more about finding great tenants and maximizing your return on investment.

Once tenants are in place, a manager’s job is not over. It is important to keep up good communication with tenants to ensure expectations of both parties are being met.

Regular and preventative maintenance should be conducted. If you are not handy, it can be challenging to find good maintenance help.  An experienced property manager has access to qualified maintenance and repair contractors.

If you are still unsure about hiring a property manager, this article’s list of pros and cons may help.

If you have any questions about converting your STRH to a long-term rental, please contact us at