U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson heard arguments this week on whether to grant a preliminary injunction to short-term rental owners in Honolulu, Hawaii, challenging an upcoming ordinance that would outlaw such properties after October. The ordinance was established to halt the spread of rental properties that Honolulu says are driving up property prices and disrupting the local way of life. Once in force, the ordinance will primarily redefine the time limit and location of a short-term rental property. Rental property owners have up to now operated with minimum 30-day leases, and the ordinance would increase that number to 90 days. The initial complaint filed by the Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance (HILSTRA) claims the measure will inflict irreparable economic injury on owners that have been renting out properties for less than 90 days. Among those that HILSTRA attorney Gregory Kugle said would be wrongfully harmed are not only property owners and their auxiliary management businesses, but also traveling military and healthcare workers that rely on limited leases. The ordinance further limits the zoning districts for rental units, automatically making many of preexisting units nonconforming. HILSTRA and Kugle have proposed using a nonconforming use certificate, which would establish an exception for short-term rentals already in operation and allow them to continue renting outside of the ordinance's zoning rules and 90-day limitations; Judge Watson elected to defer and did not issue a decision on the injunction at this time.
Courthouse News Service (09/07/22) Candace Cheung