If you have been at all involved in Vacation rentals on Oahu, either as an owner, manager or guest, you’ve likely heard of Bill 41. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi signed Bill 41 into law on April 26, making it Ordinance 22-7. The major provision of Ordinance 22-7 changes the minimum allowable rental period for any home (or room) outside a select few resort districts, from 30 days to 90 days.
Bill 41 was hotly contested by many people and there were numerous public hearings and readings of the bill prior to the Mayor signing it into law. In June, HILSTRA (Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance) filed a lawsuit in federal court to prevent the City from enforcing the new law.
U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson, on October 14 issued a ruling preventing the City & County “from enforcing or implementing Ordinance 22-7, signed into law on April 26, 2022, insofar as it prohibits 30-89-day home rentals, or the advertisement of such rentals, in any district on Oahu, pending further order from this Court.”
This ruling from Judge Watson is a preliminary injunction that prevents the City from enforcing the ordinance until such time as the courts can determine the constitutionality of the bill. HILSTRA, in their lawsuit, alleged the bill is unconstitutional as it interferes with homeowner’s vested rights to own and rent property and that it also violates state laws.
Mayor Blangiardi said he was disappointed in the ruling but that the City will honor the court’s decision. The Mayor went on to state, “We are currently evaluating the impact of the decision and will have more details to offer soon about what we will be doing to protect our residential neighborhoods.”
The Mayor has scheduled a press conference for Thursday afternoon (October 20) presumably to discuss the City’s plans for the Bill. Will the City backoff and settle? Will they continue to fight for the bill by appealing Judge Watson’s decision by taking it to a higher court, or is there another undisclosed and less obvious path they might take?
Check back here in a few days for an update.