A quick note to those looking to rent a vacation rental in Maui. Though vacation rentals can sometimes be the best option as far as price and privacy, not all Maui vacation rentals are created equally. PLEASE, do not rent illegal TVR’s. An illegal transient vacation rental is a home that is being rented to Maui visitors without getting the required permitting. Yes, it’s very difficult to get the legal permitting, and some homes are great candidates to be legal Maui vacation rentals, but just haven’t gotten everything signed and passed through. But many illegal rentals couldn’t get the permitting due to upset neighbors. This is where you need to concern yourself with these rentals. You don’t want to rent a home or condo and have pissed off neighbors for your whole vacation. It can ruin your trip, and further annoy local residents.
Below we’ve copied a few letters we’ve gotten from a concerned Maui resident about these rentals. Please read it and continue to be respectful to our local people. MAHALO!
Thank you for your time to allow me to express my feelings. This issue is very political and is starting to get heated up within Maui Meadows in Kihei, so let me apologize for the lengthy reply.
As always, there are two sides to all issues and you will only get mine on this open letter. So, for what it’s worth, I happen to live next to an illegal TVR and a legal B&B. I know this issue is often confrontational, and for those who do not live next to them, they do not know what it is like, and either do not have my noise issue, or like the fact that they can rent to vacationers to get money, but none of that money ever gets to the county.
Let me say this, I understand some tourists like to live in a home that has 4 bedrooms. The fact is, four families can get in on it, so that a $5,000.00 per week rental, only costs $1,250.00 per couple. It costs a lot more if they stay at a Condo or Hotel, yet when they do stay at a condo or hotel, local jobs are created, and revenue is paid to the county from taxes that go for services.
The problem is when multiple families do this, many times they come into a quiet neighborhood and disturb everyone…I live in Maui Meadows and since they are on vacation, they forget they are in a neighborhood, so I end up living their vacation with all the late night partying and the keiki’s getting up at 6AM and screaming out Marco Polo in the pool. Now not all vacationers are like this so don’t think everyone is, but over the last four years I have lived in Maui Meadows, too many are!!!
As the rent for these TVR’s go out over the internet, no money is seen by Maui County in tax revenue, and it does not promote any local jobs and only puts money into the hands of the owners and the MVRA who manage some of them. The homeowners who rent their homes lie by claiming their 300K personal home deduction by saying they live there full time, and some of these properties are owned by corporations. All of this is illegal, but it is the real estate agents and the MVRA that have started all of this by promoting the homes as investments, and shows them how to pocket big money and not give any to the county in the way of taxes. These owners promote their sites on line to perspective renters. So their theory is…if you post it…they will come, and they do!
I want tourists to come to Maui. We are a tourist economy, but for the locals like myself who live there, is it fair that we be on vacation with them? I want a quiet neighborhood to live in. I did not ask the homes around me to become hotels. I pay my tax and should be entitled to my enjoyment of life. Just because some want to cheat the county and make money…I don’t! I just want to live in peace and quiet.
If we want real growth in Maui, expansion of local jobs, and increased taxes to the county in order to provide better services to its residents and communities, then we need to make sure we have our visitors stay in licensed hotels and condos that have to pay the transient rental tax. It is these hotels and condos that hire the locals for full time jobs. If we are to have TVR’s then they have to be regulated. They have to pay the tax to the county, and the county needs to regulate them so they do not create noise pollution in the neighborhoods. The owners should be required to have someone live on site to keep the peace and quiet at all times, and the county should go after all illegal TVR’s and shut them down for failing to pay taxes. If the county wants to have TVR’s, establish a number, regulate them, tax them and do the right thing by making sure they are regulated. Those who violate too many times should then get shut down and fined.
One thing you could do is to inform those who are coming to Maui and end up renting illegal TVR’s to remind them that they are moving into a residential neighborhood for the one or two weeks they are there. Some people like me who have to get up at 5AM to work do not want to be kept up to 2AM listening to them being on vacation. I get it…they are on vacation, but I am not. I am sure they would not like it if someone rented next to them and did what they are doing in their neighborhood.
Sorry to make this so long, but the last 4 years have been very frustrating. It is killing my dream of living on Maui.
A good deal of people do not know about this. They don’t have sympathy to a sensitive issue, and most do not not really understand the depth of the problem. Some are very angry about this as we are trying to take a lot of money out of their pockets. A couple of these people are making under a million dollars a year, so you can imagine if they got shut down!
So yes, I do not want any repercussion by my name being attached only to find out someone is looking to hurt me, or damage my property. As you know, Maui is still a very good ole boy town. The shame is that for those who do not live next to TVR’s, there is no issue. The fact that money does not get to the county for jobs and other services does not bother them. They just complain that there are no jobs on Maui and do nothing about it. If they could spend a couple days in my shoes, they would all be up in arms against TVR’s. Until they are effected like I am, they do not see it my way.
I have to believe that visitors want our Island to be stable and see our local people have jobs. Without that, the Maui experience is dead. Maui is a great Island for both visitors and residents. If we can get our story out, maybe some would be sympathetic and try to keep their noise down should they rent legal or illegal homes. For those who want to party hard into the night, well there are hotels and condos for that.
All we ask all visitors for is their Kokua, and to respect our Mana… When their vacation is over, some local residents do not get any rest. Another visitor begins their vacation as soon as the last ones check out, and they check in.
Any time I can avoid the government getting any of my money I do exactly that. Tough luck
We understand how you feel, but please be considerate of neighbors. That’s our biggest beef with this.
Thanks so much for your perspective! As a Maui taxpayer, I not only to endure the bad behavior of vacation renters, but I subsidize their trip as well! They enjoy the roads, the clean water and other infrastructure their landlord does not pay taxes for, all at my expense! And who will cry foul when they find out their vacation rental is not safe or sanitary because it has no permit and no inspections? If you can get here without a dime of taxpayer money, and make no use of it during your stay, you are welcome. Otherwise, pay your share of the taxes for what you use like everyone else.
Wow! I have learned something very valuable to me! I was considering trying to find a home on craigslist or similiar for our next visit, but after reading this commentary, I totally understand their point of view, and respect it. I had not considered the negatives brought up here, and this will also be a factor when I (hopefully) move to Maui when I retire. Thank you.
Hi Tom, keep in mind that a lot of the listings on Craigslist are legal. Craigslist is a great place to find rentals. Just ask whether they’re legal or not. Legal ones usually have a sign in the front of the house too.
To the poster who wrote “tough luck”–shame on you. No person should be treated like this in their own home! As a frequent Maui visitor, I completely agree that laws should be followed and no residents should have to sacrifice their quality of life and living due to rude visitors. If this were happening next door to you in whatever neighborhood you live in, you would be just as unhappy. The island is ours to borrow when we are there, but it belongs to the residents! Mind your manners and obey the law. Don’t aid people in stealing from the residents of Maui!
I just returned home from Maui and first would like to thank you for sharing your wonderful Island home with my family and me!! It was a dream I NEVER in my life thought could come true! My family and I have always relied on tourism here in New England for our income. We can certainly sympathize with you!! I took every opportunity I could to tell locals how much I enjoyed “Their” island! After all, it IS their home and they welcomed me (for the most part) with open arm’s!! We get visitors that come in the fall to see the colorful leaves change(we just see lots of work raking those leaf’s and cold weather and heating bills coming!) They come by the millions to the ocean here in Maine to see Old Orchard Beach and surrounding attractions. A life time of tourists holding up traffic and thinking they “Own” the place because they paid to come here has been unpleasant at best!! We all agreed that we will now have a new found respect for the “Leaf Peeper’s” in the fall when they come!! That is for the one’s that respect that it is our “Home” and they are visitors! I am being a bit long winded, but I just wanted to say I agree with you 100%!!!!
Hi there. I am a travel counselor in Canada and wouldn’t dream of booking my clients into a TRV. Why? Because a) it would be incredibly bad business to put my guests into that kind of situation, where they would be intruding into other people’s daily lives and b) because I wouldn’t want that in my neighborhood. Question…what licensing info should I be looking out for or asking for when I book my guests into a condo to make sure it’s a legal condo?
Good question. I think you should contact the people at StopTVRs to find out. I’m sure it’s pretty simple. If they are legal, they should know what they need to show you. I think legal TVR’s are great. Supplies income to locals and access for visitors to places on Maui that normally don’t have hotels.
As the owner of a legal vacation rental condo in Kihei what you can ask the owner/renter/real estate agent for is the Tax ID# for the unit. You can double check it against the Dept. of Tax records to make sure it is a real number. There is currently major legislation being considered to force all vacation rentals by owners out of business by forcing us to hire real estate agents to manage our homes. As you stated above, real estate agents also rent out illegal units. Many of us who are legal bring a very positive, less expensive alternative to renters which includes the personal touch of dealing with someone in whose home you will be staying. If you want to find out more about the legislation that is being voted on tomorrow you can read this article: https://www.civilbeat.com/posts/2012/03/29/15368-under-the-radar-vacation-rental-controversy/
A tax id does not make a tvr legal. A permit makes it legal. They must include a valid permit number on all advertising or they are not legal.
Many illegals pay not taxes and some even take homeowner exemptions even though the owners live on the mainland. Some illegals pay state taxes for tvr operations, but still are illegal because they do not have a county permit. if they can’t give you a permit number, and if you can’t verify that number with the county website, they are illegal.
Understand completely. I’m a tourist (unfortunately). When on Maui I love to blend with the locals which I succesfully do. But I stay at the Aston Lu on South Kihei Road. Very affordable, Been doing that for many years, yes I have heard the complaints but the section that faces the ocean is unbeattable. Staff is very friendly location perfect, everybody happy and I’m on my way to Big or Little Beach again 🙂
I live in Huntington Beach, a sleepy beach city that turned the last 10 years into tourist town with millions of visitors.
I hate it!
So many that abuse the hospitality with being drunk, parking everywhere, kids so out of control you wonder if the parents have brains
I feel for you locals of Hawaii and I totally agree with your concerns. I live them here in California
We are a new organization formed to educate property owners about their responsibilities and rights.
We are opposed to illegal rentals but believe in protecting the rights of those that comply with the law.
Perhaps we can find a way to work together for a common cause
I am so glad I have read this. I have never visited Maui, but hopefully will have enough saved to come next year. The last thing I would want is to do would be to annoy anyone, although my husband and I are quiet seniors. And I certainly will watch that we don’t rent an illegal unit. We visited Oahu last year, our first trip ever to Hawaii, what a beautiful place. It was a dream come true. And we look forward to the loveliness of Maui as well.
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Where can I file a complaint about illegal transient accommodations?
Aloha! Not quite sure who would be best to reach out to specifically, but my best guess would be to start with The Maui County Council.