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Maui vacation rental occupancy higher than hotels in June

Vacation rental unit occupancy for Maui County was around 11 percent in June — higher than hotels but down 66 percentage points from last year, according to a report by the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

Maui County’s hotels were at 7.2 percent occupancy in June.

Overall, the state’s average monthly unit occupancy for vacation rentals for June was nearly 14 percent, down 60 percentage points from last year. In comparison, Hawaii’s hotels were 15.6 percent occupied in June.

Unlike hotels, condominium hotels, timeshare resorts and vacation rental units are not necessarily available year-round or each day of the month and often accommodate a larger number of guests than traditional hotel rooms, according to the report.

The report adds that vacation rentals were not on the state’s list of essential businesses at the beginning of June.

In Gov. David Ige’s Ninth Supplementary Proclamation, signed June 10, host responsibility of vacation rentals was added, which means that vacation rentals are responsible for ensuring their guests abide by the state’s mandatory 14-day self-quarantine.

County mayors then enacted their own rules regarding short-term rentals. On Oahu, short-term rentals (rented for less than 30 days) were not allowed to operate during June. For Hawaii island, Kauai and Maui County, legal short-term rentals were allowed to operate as long as they were not being used as a quarantine location.

And last week, Maui County clarified its public emergency rules for new “intended” residents to the island, which prohibits the intended residents from staying at a short-term rental.

Now, those who intend to relocate to Maui must use a long-term rental for their mandatory 14-day quarantine. The long-term rental unit can only be used once as a quarantine location in a six-month period.

Maui County officials said the change was made due to a loophole identified by Kauai officials. Out-of-state visitors who indicated that they intended to move to the island would stay at a short-term rental on a six-month lease that was allowed to be broken early. This was done by travelers to avoid being quarantined at hotels, which have more oversight and security than the neighborhoods where some vacation rentals are located.

County officials said last week that property owners will be held responsible and documentation shall be provided to the county if a violation is suspected. The maximum penalty is a $5,000 fine.

In June, Maui County’s vacation rental supply was 106,907 unit nights. Unit demand was 12,200 unit nights, or down 94.2 percent, resulting in the 11.4 percent occupancy.

The average daily rate for vacation rentals in Maui County was $245, which is down 37.1 percent.

In comparison, Maui County hotels had an average daily rate of $218.

The unit supply of vacation rentals in Maui County at 106,907 is down nearly 61 percent from the 270,419 units available a year ago.

In the Wailea and Kihei area, there were 46,235 available units in June, down from 132,776 in June 2019. In the Lahaina, Kaanapali, Napili and Kapalua area, there were 46,941 available units in June compared to 104,619 at the same time last year.

Unit occupancy in South Maui in June was 10.3 percent versus nearly 79 percent in 2019 and in West Maui, occupancy was 11.9 percent, down from nearly 79 percent at the same time last year.

* Melissa Tanji can be reached at mtanji@mauinews.com.

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