Can You Use a Residential Property as a Vacation Rental on Maui?

This is a subject I am asked about weekly. It seems most people just assume that anything you buy on Maui can be used anyway you would like. I hope to educate you a little bit here on what you can and cannot do with a home on Maui.

A few years back there were many illegal short-term rentals being used on Maui. Many homeowners were surviving by providing this service even though they did not have a permit to do so. The previous administration decided to enforce the laws that were already on the books, and cracked down on everyone.

Those who were found running a business without permits were issued a cease and desist order. Because of this action, many lost their homes, and our North Shore lost a huge chunk of the places to stay for our water enthusiasts. Homeowners were angry and complained, some filed suits, and some even ran for office.

Fortunately, the new administration decided to try and find a happy medium. They looked at each area and decided how many permits they would allow for each area for short-term rentals (less than six months). They took into consideration how blatant some of the areas were that abused the law before.

For example, Maui Meadows is only allowed 3 total permits for the whole subdivision. In the past, very few permits were allowed and took several years to complete. It was very painful, and many just gave up and did it with out permits, until they were told to stop.

Factors to Consider Before You Apply for a Permit

There is a county website now that lists the areas on Maui and how many permits for vacation rentals per area. There is also a place where you can look and see what types of permits are available (IE: Bed and Breakfast).


Here is a shot of the permits applied for in West Maui and the number allowed there


Here is a shot of South Maui and permit numbers allowed there

There are a lot of variables to obtaining a permit, like will the neighborhood HOA even allow it, or are there any others already permitted in the area? If you have been running a rental without a permit, it is even possible for you to get one. They will require you to bring your past taxes up to date if you choose to go this route.

So it is possible on Maui to buy a home and turn it into a vacation rental. You must navigate it properly and do it the right way. My suggestion is to hire someone who knows what they are doing and has done a number of them already.

I personally know someone who has finished a number of them and knows everything needed. She is even willing to come and preview a home before you buy it to see if it would be a good candidate for you. She charges around $3,500 to do all the work for you.

Additional Information

Contact me with questions about this, or for more information. I have a good idea of where you can and cannot do this.


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Kathy Ollerton

February 2, 2015

I am looking for an attorney to help me get a short term rental in Maui. Who do you know.

You mentioned a woman that also helps, what is her contact information?

Kathy Ollerton

February 2, 2015

I am looking for an attorney to help me get a short term rental in Maui. Who do you know.

You mentioned a woman that also helps, what is her contact information?

Modesta Rauch

October 25, 2016

I need help to determine if my house in Kula can be rented for a short term rental and someone who can do the paperwork for a fee. It has views but no beach nearby.

Christin Bourland

November 9, 2016

Aloha Modesta Ranch

Short term renting has been going on on Maui for decades but only recently has the county cracked down on illegal vacation rentals and now through a detailed process you can attain a Short Term Vacation Rental Permit. A total of 400 short term rental homes permits are allowed on the island of Maui with 40 in the Makawao-Kula-Pukulani area.

I have not personally met Debbie Mitchell but she has been highly recommended as a great contact to help with the permit process. I just spoke to her and she said she was finishing up permit number 45! Her contact number is 808-281-9526.

Visit this link below for more information and forms. Good luck and please let us know if you need any further assistance.

Christin Bourland
Realtor (RS)
Owner Relations and Property Management

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