What’s the Problem with Airbnb?

If you’ve seen the Airbnb commercials, you would think most of its hosts were local families renting a spare room to help with the mortgage payment. The reality is far different.

  • 85% of Airbnb Oahu revenue comes from entire home listings
  • 54% of Airbnb Oahu revenue comes from owners of 2 or more units
  • 64% of Maui vacation rental units are owned by non-Hawaiʻi residents

Almost all of Airbnb Oahu revenue comes from investors, commercial operators and entire-home renters. They include companies like Hawaii Hideaways Inc., an Irvine, California company that has over 15 entire-home luxury home listings on Airbnb Oahu alone. They also include companies like Luxury Retreats, with numerous listings that start at $1,106 per night.

Problem #1: Negatively Impacting Available Affordable Housing
  • 43% of Hawaiʻi residents rent a home or condo unit
  • 22,202 more rental units are needed in Hawaiʻi over the next 10 years
  • Honolulu rents have skyrocketed by 33% over the last decade
  • A significant number of the illegal short-term rentals listed on Airbnb are the type that a local family would be able to afford
  • A 2015 study by Honolulu’s Office of Community Services indicates that at 80 percent occupancy, the average Airbnb unit would bring in about 3.5 times more revenue than a long-term rental
Problem #2: Eroding our Neighborhoods
  • Neighborhoods outside of resort areas are being overrun with illegal Airbnb rental units
  • Airbnb is creating a revolving door of visitors in our communities, not the types of neighborhoods we want to raise our families in
  • Airbnb rentals are hurting the essence of the community — they are changing the face of our neighborhoods
  • Visitors partying, creating excessive noise, and serving as a constant stream of strangers are defining our neighborhoods
Problem #3: Supporting Illegal Operations
  • Airbnb shelters illegal short-term rental operators who are not paying transient accommodations or general excise taxes
  • Legally operating bed and breakfast establishments, hotels and other businesses pay their fair share of taxes that cover their impact on our infrastructure
  • Airbnb won’t identify short-term rental operators who are violating applicable zoning laws