Hawaii hosts fight for fair home sharing rules

Hawaii’s lawmakers are considering new laws for home sharing, and home sharers from all over the state are joining together to stand up for fair and clear rules. The Hawaii Sstate Legislature is considering HB 1850 — the bill that will allow services like Airbnb to collect and remit hotel and tourist taxes on behalf of our host community.

Hosts in Hawaii are speaking out in support of home sharing. Check out just a few of the letters that have been sent to lawmakers in support of the bill:

“I’m 72 years old and love hosting and meeting people from all over the world. I also host so that I can supplement my social security which is less than one thousand dollars a month. I want to support HB 1850 as this would make it so much easier for me when it comes to tax time. Also, make it easier to comply with often complicated short term rental laws, and help relieve administrative burden for government.”

Sincerely,
Lydia K.

“After a 20 year marriage, when my then husband told me he no longer wanted to be married, the fear of losing my home was one of the first things that crossed my mind. It also saddened me knowing my two teen daughters and I would lose the home we had grown to love. I worked three days a week and needed to find a full-time job as soon as possible. Even with a full-time job, my monthly salary wasn’t enough to cover the mortgage payments on my own.

One month before I was to list my house for sale, my friend highly encouraged me to give Airbnb a try. She is in a similar situation and said it has helped her remain in her home.

I have been home sharing since May 2014 … it has allowed me and my daughters to remain in our home. It benefits me and my daughters and visiting guests who do not want to spend their entire stay on Oahu in Waikiki. I currently generate enough income to help pay for a portion of my monthly mortgage. As we know, cost of living in Hawaii is extremely high and any extra income to help defer costs is a benefit.

I need to continue home sharing or I will lose my home.

Please support Airbnb and HB 1850.”

Sincerely,
Jamie G.

“We are small farmers in Kalaheo. With all the rules and regulations that the county of Kauai imposes on farmers it is extremely hard to make a living. Being allowed to have guests as a farm stay would greatly help to keep the farm going. Paying a room tax would benefit the county. Right now the county imposes tons of rules to make it harder to succeed, while voicing that they they support small farmers. This bill will start to change this era of big government treading on the rights of taxpayers.”

Sincerely,
Richard W.

“Please support [HB 1850] as it will help us pay our taxes easy, simple and faster. We have been pushing Airbnb since the beginning to be able to do this for us, since Hawaii has such a high tax it is such a large portion of the amount that guests will pay. We feel we are helping our community by bringing an entire family on vacation because they now can afford it! This does not take away from hotels because these people would not bring such a large group if staying in a hotel, but it does bring a lot of financial support to the local economy. Help us!”

Sincerely,
Jeanne B.

“Please support this [home sharing] bill. I am a widow with daughter in college and another daughter in college in few years. House repairs are so expensive. I need additional income from home sharing to survive in Hawaii.”

Sincerely,
Kathleen D.

“I am 67 years old and I have lived in my home for 15 years, with my husband who has multiple sclerosis.If I could not have the income from my vacation rental, we would lose our home. I pay my taxes. I have plenty of parking so my guests do not negatively impact my neighborhood, and my guests are instructed to respect our neighbors by being quiet. I love my home and hope that you will help me keep it by passing the bill.”

Sincerely,
Lin W.

It’s not too late to add your voice. Click here to sign-up to take action.