The Slippery Slope As Hawaii Takes Control of Private Property


Communism is not love. Communism is a hammer which we use to crush the enemy.

– Mao Zedong

Hawaii Governor Josh Green demands 3,000 vacation rentals to be converted to long-term housing for Maui wildfire survivors. He will use the “hammer” of post-fire emergency orders to force landlords who refuse to make them into long-term units by mid-January.


He said there were 6,297 residents still living in hotels more than four months after the historic wildfire that killed at least 97 people in Maui.

According to Green there are currently between 12,000 to 14,000 units legally rented on a short-term basis.

FEMA on Monday sent letters to 13,000 short-term rental operators across Maui informing them the agency would offer to pay them the same rent they earned during the previous year for their units, Green said.

The Fifth Amendment protects the right to private property in two ways. First, it states that a person may not be deprived of property by the government without “due process of law,” or fair procedures.

In addition, the Maui County Council is currently considering legislation for property tax breaks promoted by the mayor.

Green said he aims for these measures to provide interim housing for two years while more housing is built on Maui.

“So we really only need to get about 10 percent, maybe 12 percent, of all the available short-term units on Maui,” he said.


Last January, he talked about taking over “illegal” air B&Bs. [It will be helpful to his donors in the hotel industry.]

He said there are 25,000 of these “illegal” units.

The National Conference of State Legislatures is so far tracking more than 30 bills pre-filed or introduced in 13 states this year regarding the regulation or taxation of short-term rentals. They include Hawaii and Maine, where last fall a commission to increase housing opportunities recommended new regulations on short-term rentals.

Some of the bills aim to shield the industry from local regulations, but most would impose new restrictions or fees.

“State policymakers have looked to regulate short-term rentals as one policy lever, of many, to increase the supply of affordable housing in their state,” Heather Wilson, a senior policy specialist at NCSL, said in an email.

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