Vacation rental story was ‘disingenuous,’ ‘misleading’

A March 27 article in The Maui News states that one in seven homes in the county is a vacation rental is disingenuous and misleading.

The article equates legal vacation rental condos with resident housing. For nearly a half-century, we have had condos, timeshare and vacation rental properties allowed to carry out this function legally. They were built according to community plans, zoning and an island plan to support our tourist industry. These properties were intended to be exactly what they are now.

The reason this article is misleading is it states “approximately 9,000 vacation rental units are active on Maui, with only 223 being legal.” The 223 legal rentals noted include only the single-family homes that have been permitted to allow short-term rental use.

There are also additional permitted bed-and-breakfast homes with a total of 365 individual rooms or units to rent. And, the 9,000 number includes everything that is legally allowed to do vacation rentals including condos and timeshares, particularly in the resort areas.

The shortage of housing for residents is a result of the constrained supply of new housing and a lack of enforcement of illegal rentals. Hawaii and Maui, specifically, are renowned for having the tightest land-use regulations in the nation. The cost of this is crippling the supply of housing our population requires. It is time that we start real enforcement against illegal rentals and facilitating growth instead of restricting it.

Lawrence Carnicelli