Why Aren’t All Single-Family Homes on Maui Vacation Rentable?

Most single-family homes on Maui are located in residential and agricultural zoned areas and not in Hotel/Resort zoned areas. That is the main reason why vacation rentals aren’t allowed and that is why Maui County created the Short-Term Rental Home Permit, to allow for varied accommodations and experiences for visitors without disturbing the character of residential neighborhoods, amongst other reasons. The single-family homes must meet all the County requirements and standards, including the installation of all items in the application checklist.

Conditions, Covenants & Restrictions

On Maui, any rentals below 180 days are considered short-term rentals, and if an owner decides to turn his/her single-family home into a vacation rental, the County created Community Plan Regions with a restrict number of permits and an extensive and thorough permitting application process. The Planning Department is authorized to process most STRH permit applications and it may take several months before an application is completely processed.

The Community Plan Regions and restricted numbers are:

  1. Hana: 48
  2. KiheiMakena: 100 (no more than 5 in Maui Meadows subdivision, which has reached its cap)
  3. MakawaoPukalaniKula: 40
  4. PaiaHaiku: 88
  5. WailukuKahului: 36
  6. West Maui: 88

Some conditions include:

When the number of approved short-term rental homes exceeds 90% in a community plan, the council shall review the rental home restrictions. Also, prior to issuing a permit, the director or planning commission may impose conditions for a short-term rental home that are designed to prevent adverse impacts to residential neighborhoods.

If the subdivision has a homeowners association and the house rules prohibit vacation rentals, the home will not be approved for short-term. One of the first documents to be provided with the application is the Conditions, Covenants & Restrictions.

The owner will have to post a sign to notify the neighbors that the property is under the application process. The council will deny the permit if the County receives 2 or more written protests from owners or lessees of record of two or more lots adjacent or directly across the street from a proposed short-term rental. So yes, neighbors play a crucial role in the permit application as well.

The size of the subdivision will also affect the percentage of written protests within 500 feet of the proposed STRH; if less than 40 lots = up to 30% written protests; if more than 40 lots = up to 15% written protests from owners or lessees.

The entire process will be long, detailed, and requires patience.

More Information

Feel free to contact me for more details on short-term rental homes, and I will be happy to share more information.


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April 30, 2019

Hi Alex,

I’ve been having trouble finding the answer to my question and thought I’d give this a shot.

My parent’s neighbors own a short term rental and have been the owners for the past 5 years or so. When they first came around, my mother agreed to sign the neighbor agreement as long they cleaned up the property line. There is a ditch that helps when the heavy rains flood the streets with excess water which leads to the ocean. It is clogged by overgrown plants & trees causing the stale and excess water to overflow onto our property flooding our yard.

While my mother verbally said this in good faith, it has now been 5 years and nothing has been done. What if anything can we do about it? Are neighbors able to retract signed approvals once the permit process is already approved?

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