Mayor Kawakami Lauds Vacation Rental Enforcement Success

Agreement with Expedia Group has enabled effective regulation of vacation rentals by eliminating illegal operations and stabilizing Kaua‘i’s visitor industry


Mayor Derek Kawakami today provided an update on the County’s vacation rental regulation and enforcement program established through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the County and global travel platforms, including Expedia Group, parent company of Vrbo.com. The agreement, signed on June 25th, 2020 and fully implemented in August has helped to eliminate illegal vacation rentals on the island.


“With a combined effort of increased enforcement, as well as partnerships with third-party platforms such as Expedia, the Kaua‘i Planning Department estimates that illegal vacation rentals on Kaua‘i have gone from roughly 1,500 in 2017 down to less than 50 today,” reports Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami. “Our successful collaboration with Expedia Group highlights what can be done when we work together to protect our community while welcoming responsible vacation owners and their guests.”


The partnership was designed to help the County track and regulate vacation rentals while allowing responsible property owners to operate and continue contributing to the local economy. The cornerstone of the program’s success has been the implementation of a mandatory field on all listings for displaying the government-issued Tax Map Key number (TMK). Vacation rental listings were given 60 days after implementation to provide a TMK number or risk being deactivated.


“I’m proud of County staff who’ve worked tirelessly to implement an effective and efficient enforcement program,” said Planning Director Kaʻāina Hull. “Our partnership with Mayor Kawakami and the team at Expedia Group has drastically curtailed illegal rentals without draining valuable County resources.”


Besides the requirement of including TMK numbers, the agreement requires Expedia Group to provide monthly reports of all properties on its sites and remove listings that County staff identify as illegal. The program has had incredible impact while saving valuable resources for the County—cutting the need for additional enforcement staff in half.


Ann Simons, Hawaii Government Affairs Manager at Expedia Group added, “Collaboration is a cornerstone of Expedia Group’s engagement in public policy efforts around the globe. This agreement and the close cooperation between us, our hosts and the county that followed, is a perfect example of the progress that can be made when all stakeholders come together. Mayor Kawakami and his team’s leadership on these efforts has been instrumental in advancing policy that truly benefits Kaua‘i.”