The Realtors Association of Maui (RAM) has released an Economic Impact Study on non-permitted vacation rentals. RAM has expressed opposition to the county of Maui’s policy that called for the shut down of all non-permitted vacation rentals by January 1 of this year. The RAM study was the first academic study of the issue in what has been a largely emotional debate. The RAM study estimates over $300,000,000 in economic impact and up to 3,000 jobs dependent on the vacation rental industry. Most of the money and jobs would be lost if the planning departments new vacation rental bills would be approved. The study was not just limited to economic impact. It also looked at the number of planning department complaints received regarding rentals and the overall impact on neighborhoods. The data appears to suggest that rentals do have some impact on neighborhoods, but the number of complaints lodged against vacation rentals is relatively limited. The data suggests that the impact can be mitigated in part by better regulations. The study also addresses the impact of vacation rentals on available housing. To date, only 1.7% of the housing inventory on island is used for vacation rentals.
Two groups that have also expressed opposition to the vacation rental shut down were quick to incorporate the study in their arguments. The Maui Vacation Rental Association (MVRA) mentioned the study in their Tuesday press conference held in Wailuku. The press conference was held as a response to the press conference held by the mayor one week earlier. The mayor expressed her intent to continue with the current enforcement policy. She had no intent to back down from the January 1 shut down of rentals. The MVRA used the study to bolster their argument for an easing of the shut down until new legislation that regulates vacation rentals could be created. They also called for less restrictive legislation than the bills created to date by the planning department. MVRA lauded the study for introducing more facts into the vacation rental debate. The Editorial Staff for the Maui News also seized upon the RAM study for an editorial in today’s paper. The editorial called for improved application processes and better regulation rather than the complete shut down advocated by the mayor.
Click Here to read the entire Realtors Association of Maui Economic Impact Study.
Check out Wednesday’s Maui News for more information on MVRA press conference.