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    An Investor’s Guide to Short-Term Rentals on Oahu

    Oahu Legal Short Term Rental investment guide

    For savvy real estate investors, owning short-term vacation rentals like B&Bs can be an appealing opportunity with potentially high-income returns. But like any large purchases in property, it’s important to stay up-to-date with local rules and regulations. We’ve put together this comprehensive guide for Oahu’s short-term vacation rentals. Plus, as a bonus, we’ve put together a list of attractive condominiums and condo/hotel buildings in Waikiki, Ku'ulima, and Ko’olina. 

    What is a Short-Term Rental On Oahu?

    Short-Term Rentals (STR) are residential dwellings, homes or condos that are advertised or rented with rental terms shorter than 30-consecutive days per tenant. While this means the stay must be shorter than 30 days, it doesn’t matter whether it’s weekly or daily. Most STRs are in the Waikiki resort area, but this does not mean that all residential buildings in Waikiki allow short-term rentals. Each building has association rules concerning STRs. Your Locations agent can explain these rules and find out whether the building qualifies for STR use.

    Bed and Breakfasts (B&Bs) are a type of STR. However, they usually have an owner as the host residing in the same dwelling as the guest. 

    Transient Vacation Rentals (TVRs) are another type of STR, but without the owner residing in the dwelling. These condos can be rented daily, just like a hotel.

    Advantages of Short-Term Rentals

    Higher-income: Plain and simple, STRs are able to generate more rental income, as opposed to long-term rentals or other properties that have limits and restrictions on how long and how often you can rent out the property. This is especially true in resort areas like Waikiki where the average hotel room rate a night was $241 per night in 2019. 

    Flexibility: Owners of STRs have the additional luxury of being able to adjust rental prices as they see fit and react to the market. If inventory is filling up quickly, an owner can raise the rent to maximize profits. Also, the owner can better react to downturns in the market by adjusting the rental price to be competitive. 

    Personal use: This is the number one reason why most buyers want to invest in an STR in Hawaii. It provides a flexible investment that can also be used for a family vacation, avoiding the cost of a hotel. 

    Disadvantages of Short-Term Rentals

    Inconsistent income: STRs produce less stable income than long-term because of the short occupancy. Because the same tenants occupy the property for longer periods of time, long-term rentals tend to produce stable rental income. In addition, there are no slow seasons in Hawaii since it has no “real” winter or slow season. It is busy throughout the year! 

    Harder to manage: Whether you choose to manage the property yourself or hire a property manager, short-term rentals may require more hands-on time. You may need to advertise the property frequently, handle constant tenant turnover and make sure the property is ready to rent. Hiring a property manager for a vacation rental can cost 25% or more of the rental income. 

    Waikiki-condos

    How To Qualify For “Short-Term Rental” Status?

    To be considered as a ‘Short-Term Rental’ a property MUST meet one of the following requirements:

    Legal Short Term Rental Rules

    1. The subject property must be in a ‘resort mixed-use’ (or ‘resort’ if outside of Waikiki) zoned area, and the HOA/building house rules do not restrict short-term vacation renting. ‘Resort districts’ are limited building 'zoning' areas on the island of Oahu that allow short-term rental, mainly limited to only some areas within Waikiki, Koolina, and Turtle Bay Resort (Kuulima).

    Oahu Legal Vacation Rental Map

    2. The individual property unit has a Non-conforming Use Certificate (NUC) that allows short-term renting of that individual property which is located outside a ‘resort mixed use’ or ‘resort’ zoned area. The City of Honolulu stopped issuing NUCs in 1990 so there are only about 800 NUC units across Oahu. Check with your Locations agent for a full list of NUCs on Oahu. 

    3. The condo building that the subject property is located has been grandfathered in as a non-conforming hotel and is exempt from the NUC requirement above.

    A List of Legal Waikiki Short-Term Rental Buildings


    Bamboo

    Bamboo

    Built-in: 1968
    Amenities: Pool, Concierge, Community Laundry, BBQ
    Size: Studio to 1BR, ~200 to 450 sq ft. Full kitchen: Only for 8 x 1BR units
    Hotel Operator: Aqua Bamboo Waikiki Hotel (Phone: 808-922-7777)
    Tenure: Fee simple
    Zoned 'Resort Mixed Use' with hotel operation = Legal Short-Term Rental property Note:  Only (8) eight x 1BR units with full kitchen. International Market Place and shopping close by.
    View Bamboo Building Details and Listings for sale

    Ilikai Apartments

    ilikai_1

    Built-in: 1965
    Amenities: 2 Pools, Whirlpool, Restaurant, Concierge, Patio/Deck, Security Guard, Gym
    Size: Studio to 2BR, 500 to 1,000 sq ft. Full kitchen
    Hotel Operator: Aqua Ilikai Hotel & Luxury Suites (Phone: 808-954-7417)
    Tenure: Fee simple and zoned 'Resort Mixed Use' with hotel operation = Legal Short-Term Rental property.
    Note: The 500 sq ft units were originally all 1BR, but many owners have removed the shoji doors to create a large studio with improved wider views of the ocean.
    View Ilikai Apartments Building Details and Listings for sale

    Luana Waikiki

    luana waikiki

    Built-in: 1971
    Amenities: Heated Pool, Exercise Room, BBQ, Recreation Area, Concierge, Restaurant
    Size: Studio to 1BR, ~300 to 680+ sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Only 1BR.
    Hotel Operator:  Luana Waikiki Hotel (Phone: 808-955-6000)
    Tenure: Fee simple and zoned 'Resort Mixed Use' with hotel operation = Legal Short-Term Rental property
    Note: 2 types of studios – ‘Studio Kitchenette’ with stove burner and microwave and the ‘Hotel Room’ without stove and microwave.
    View Luana Waikiki Building Details and Listings for sale

    Pacific Monarch 

    pacific+monarch_1

    Built-in: 1980
    Amenities: Sauna, Pool, Whirlpool, Party Room, Security Guard
    Size: 121 units on 32 floors, Studio – 1BR, ~350 to 450 sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Only 1BR.
    Hotel Operator: Aqua Pacific Monarch Hotel (Phone: 808-923-9805)
    Tenure: Fee simple with a few leasehold (expire: 2044) zoned 'Resort Mixed Use' with hotel operation = Legal Short-Term Rental property
    Note: Rooftop pool with spectacular ocean views. One-bedroom units have full kitchens.
    View Pacific Monarch Bulding Details and Listings for sale

    Regency at the Beachwalk

    Regency Waikiki

    Built-in: 1961
    Amenities: Front Desk Service
    Size: 48 units on 9 floors, 1BR to 2BR, ~500 to 700 sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Yes.
    Hotel Operator: Regency on Beachwalk by Outrigger (Phone: 808-922-3871)
    Tenure: Fee simple and zoned 'Resort Mixed Use' with hotel operation = Legal Short-Term Rental property 
    View Regency at the Boardwalk Building Details and Listings for sale

    Ritz-Carlton WAIKIKI

    Ritz Carlton Waikiki

    Built-in: Tower 1: Completed spring 2016, ~308 units, 1-3BR. Tower 2: Completed fall 2018, ~246 units
    Amenities:  (Tower 1) Small Pool, Hot Tub, Fitness, Yoga Room, Spa, Business Center, Conference Room, Concierge Services & More. (Tower 2) Media Room, 2 Pools, Kids’ Lounge, 2 Party Rooms, Grocery Store & More.
    Size:  Studio to 3BR, ~500 sq ft to 3,000+ sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Yes.
    Hotel Operator:  Ritz-Carlton WAIKIKI (Phone:808-922-8111)
    Tenure: Fee simple and zoned 'Resort Mixed Use' with hotel operation = Legal Short-Term Rental property.
    Note: Besides Ritz-Carlton’s hotel operation, only a few select 3rd party rental agencies are allowed to manage TVUs. No deeded parking stalls with units.
    View Ritz-Carlton WAIKIKI Tower #1 Details
    View Ritz-Carlton WAIKIKI Tower #2 Details

    Trump Tower Waikiki

    Trump Tower Waikiki

    Built-in:2009
    Amenities: 5 Star Luxury Hotel with Pool, Whirlpool, Party Room, Security Guard, Business Center
    Size: 469 units on 38 floors, Studio – 3BR, ~350 to 3,000 sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Yes.
    Hotel Operator: Trump International Hotel Waikiki Beach Walk (Phone: 808-683-7777)
    Tenure: Feesimple zoned 'Resort Mixed Use' with hotel operation = Legal Short-Term Rental property 
    View Trump Tower Building Details and Units for sale

    Waikiki Beach Tower

    Waikiki Beach Tower

    Built in:1983
    Amenities: Pool, Gym, BBQ, Yoga Room, Whirlpool, Lounge Room, Security Guard
    Size: 144 units on 40 floors, 2BR, ~1,000 to 1,100 sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Yes
    Hotel Operator: Aston Waikiki Beach Tower (Phone: 808-926-6400)
    Tenure: Mixed fee simple and leasehold (expiry year 2039) zoned 'Resort Mixed Use' with hotel operation = Legal Short-Term Rental property
    View Waikiki Beach Tower Building Details and units for sale

    Waikiki Grand Hotel

    Waikiki Grand Hotel

    Built-in: 1963
    Amenities: Restaurant, Bar, Concierge, Proximity to Kapiolani Park and Honolulu Zoo. LGBTQT-friendly destination
    Size: 173 units on 9 floors, 200 to 470 sq ft (studios).  Full Kitchen: Some units.
    Hotel Operator: Castle Resorts at the Waikiki Grand Hotel (Phone: 808-923-1814)
    Tenure: Fee simple and zoned 'Resort Mixed Use' with hotel operation = Legal Short-Term Rental property
    Note: Very few units come with a parking stall.
    View Waikiki Grand Building Details and units for sale

    Waikiki Shore

    Waikiki Shore

    Built-in: 1960
    Amenities: Patio, Resident Manager, Security and Storage
    Size: 168 units on 15 floors, Studio to 2BR, ~350 to 1,200 sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Yes
    Hotel Operator: Castle (808-952-4500), Park (808-954-7426) & Outrigger (808-922-3871)
    Tenure: Fee simple and zoned 'Resort Mixed Use' with hotel operation = Legal Short-Term Rental property
    View Waikiki Shore Building Details and Units for sale

    2465 Kuhio At Waikiki

    Kuhio Waikiki

    Built-in: 1971
    Amenities: Community Laundry, Exercise Room, Resident Manager, Sauna, Security Guard
    Size: 91 units on 16 floors, 2BR, 876 to 989 sq ft. plus big lanais.  Full Kitchen: Yes
    Tenure: Fee simple and zoned 'Resort Mixed Use' with NO hotel operation = Legal Short-Term Rental property
    View 2464 Kuhio At Waikiki Building Details and units for sale

    CABANA AT WAIKIKI

    Cabana Waikiki

    Built-in: 1967
    Amenities: Secure Parking, Gated Access 
    Size: 15 units on 4 floors, 1BR, ~365 sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Yes.
    Tenure: Fee simple and zoned 'Resort Mixed Use' with NO hotel operation = Legal Short-Term Rental property
    View Cabana At Waikiki Building Details and units for sale

    Ilikai Marina

    Ilikai Marina Waikiki

    Built-in: 1968
    Amenities: Security Guard, Resident Manager, ocean front condo with view of Friday night Waikiki fireworks
    Size: 261 units on 18 floors, Studio and 1BR, 420 to 650 sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Yes.
    Tenure: Fee simple and zoned 'Resort Mixed Use' with NO hotel operation = Legal Short-Term Rental property
    View Ilikai Marina Building Details and Units for sale

    Imperial Hawaii Resort

    imp+waikiki+final

    Built-in: 1967
    Amenities: Community Laundry, Exercise Room, Meeting Room, Pool, Restaurant, Sauna, and Valet
    Size: Studio to 3BR, 320 to 3,300 sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Yes
    Tenure: Leasehold (expiry: 2052). and zoned 'Resort Mixed Use' with hotel NO operation = Legal Short-Term Rental property (hotel units are Timeshare)
    View imperial Hawaii Resort Building Details and Units for sale

    Kalakauan

    Kalakauan

    Built-in: 1966
    Amenities: Community Laundry, Resident Manager.
    Size: 63 units on 6 floors, 1BR at 430 sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Yes.
    Tenure: Fee simple and zoned 'Resort Mixed Use' with NO hotel operation = Legal Short-Term Rental property
    View Kalakauan Building Details and Units for sale

    Kuhio Village I and II

    Kuhio Village

    Built-in: 1975
    Amenities: Two blocks from beach, a store in lobby. 
    Size: Two towers, Studio to 1BR, ~200 to 500 sq ft.  Full Kitchen: No.
    Tenure: Mixed fee simple and leasehold (expiry year 2033) zoned 'Resort Mixed Use' with NO hotel operation = Legal Short-Term Rental property
    View Kuhio Village I Building Details and Units for sale
    View Kuhio Village II Building Details and Units for sale

    Marine Surf Waikiki

    Marina Surf

    Built-in: 1968
    Amenities: Pool, Recreation Area, Security Guard, and Restaurants and shops are in lobby. All units come with one (1) parking stall, which is rare in Waikiki.
    Size: 224 units on 24 floors, Studios at 392 sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Yes.
    Tenure: Fee simple and zoned 'Resort Mixed Use' with NO hotel operation = Legal Short-Term Rental property
    View Marine Surf Building Details and Units for sale

    Niihau Apts

    Niihau Apt Hotel Waikiki

    Built-in: 1960
    Amenities: Less than a block to Waikiki Beach
    Size: 44 units on 11 floors, 1BR to 3BR,  452 to 1,205 sq ft.  Full kitchen: Yes
    Tenure: Fee simple and zoned 'Resort Mixed Use' with hotel operation = Legal Short-Term Rental property
    View Niihau Apt Building Details and Units for sale

    Royal Aloha

    Royal Aloha

    Built-in: 1971
    Amenities: Pool, BBQ, Recreation Area, Meeting Room, Security Guard, Resident Manager and community laundry on every floor.
    Size: 143 units on 16 floors, 1BR to 2BR, ~500 to ~670 sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Yes
    Tenure: Fee simple and zoned 'Resort Mixed Use' with NO hotel operation = Legal Short-Term Rental property
    View Royal Aloha Building Details and Units for sale

    Seashore

    Seashore Waikiki

    Built-in: 1967
    Amenities: less than half a block to Waikiki Beach
    Size: Studio at 392 sq ft. Full Kitchen: Most units.
    Tenure: Fee simple and zoned 'Resort Mixed Use' with NO hotel operation = Legal Short-Term Rental property
    View Seashore Building Details and units for sale

    Tradewinds Plaza

    Tradewinds Plaza Waikiki

    Built-in: 1979
    Amenities: Many of the units come with one parking stall
    Size:  80 units, Studio at 392 sq ft. Full Kitchen: Yes.
    Tenure: Fee simple and zoned 'Resort Mixed Use' with NO hotel operation = Legal Short-Term Rental property
    View Tradwinds Plaza Building Details and Units for sale

    Aloha Surf Hotel

    Aloha+Surf+Hotel+final

    Built-in: 1968
    Amenities: Pool, Concierge, Exercise Room, BBQ, Restaurant downstairs
    Size: 254 units on 15 floors. Studios from 180 to 390 sq ft.  Full Kitchen: No.
    Hotel Operator:  Aqua Aloha Surf Waikiki Hotel (Phone: 808-954-7410)
    Tenure: Fee simple and zoned 'Apartment' with hotel operation = Legal Short-Term Rental property
    View Aloha Surf Building Details and Units for Sale

    Hawaiian Monarch

    Hawaiian+Monarch+final+1

    Built-in: 1979
    Amenities: Pool, Meeting Room, Security Guard, BBQ Area, Restaurant in lobby area. 
    Size: 439 units on 44 floors, Studio to 1BR, ~200 to 570+ sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Only 1BR.
    Hotel Operator: Roberts Hawaii (see notes)
    Tenure: Fee simple and zoned 'Resort Mixed Use' with hotel operation = Legal Short-Term Rental property.
    Note:  The ‘Hawaiian Monarch Hotel’ has 50 hotel rooms, all owned by Roberts Hawaii with an office on the 2nd floor. They do not manage or offer hotel services to individual unit owners – but the building does allow owners to rent their units as a STVR. It is also one of tallest STVR buildings in Waikiki
    View Hawaiian Monarch Building Details and Units for Sale

    Island Colony

    island+colony+final

    Built-in:1979
    Amenities: Pool, Sauna, BBQ Area, Security Guard, Recreation Deck
    Size: 745 units on 43 floors Studio to 1BR, 280 – 570 sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Some studios, all 1BR.
    Hotel Operator: Aqua Skyline at Island Colony (Phone: 808-954-7411)
    Tenure: Fee simple and some leasehold (expires 2044) and zoned 'Apartment' with hotel operation = Legal Short-Term Rental property
    Note: One of the tallest hotel/condos in Waikiki
    View Island Colony Building Details and Units for Sale

    Palms at Waikiki

    palms+at+waikiki+final

    Built-in: 1980
    Amenities: Pool, Sun Deck, Exercise Room, Restaurant, Community Laundry, Concierge.
    Size: 259 units on 12 floors with 745 units on 43 floors, Studio to 1BR, 280 to 570 sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Some studios, all 1BR.
    Hotel Operator: Aqua Palms Waikiki (Phone: 808-954-7424)
    Tenure: Fee simple and zoned 'Apartment' with hotel operation = Legal Short-Term Rental property.
    Note: One of the tallest condo/hotels in Waikiki.
    View Palms at Waikiki Building Details and Units for Sale

    Short-Term Vacation Rental Buildings Outside of Waikiki

    Ocean Villas at Turtle Bay on the North Shore on Oahu

    Turtle+bay+villas

    Built-in: 2005
    Amenities: Pool, BBQ, Hot Tub, Exercise Room, Recreation Area, Tennis Court, Security Guard.
    Size: 57 units on 3 floors, Studio to 3BR, 673 to 1,535 sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Yes
    Tenure: Fee simple
    Zoned: 'Resort-Hotel' with NO hotel operation = Legal Short-Term Rental property
    View Ocean Villas at Turtle Bay Building Details and Units for Sale

    Kuilima East and West at Turtle Bay

    Kuilima+North+Shore

    Built-in: 1973 (West) & 1975 (East)
    Amenities: Pool, BBQ, Whirlpool, Recreation Area, Club House, Event  Room, Tennis Court, Security Guard, Gated Community.
    Size: 368 Units on 2 Floors, Studio to 3BR, 280 to 570 sq ft. Full Kitchen: Yes
    Tenure: Fee simple and zoned 'Resort-Hotel' with NO hotel operation = Legal Short-Term Rental property
    View Kuilima East Building Details and Units for Sale
    View Kuilima West Building Details and Units for Sale

    Ko Olina Beach Villas

    Koolina+beach+vacation+rental+final

    Built-in: 2007
    Amenities: Heated Pool, Keiki Pool, Whirlpool, Recreation Area, BBQ, Exercise Room, Meeting Room, Security Guard, Walking/Jogging Path.
    Size: 247 units on 16 floors, 2BR to 3BR, 1,170 to 1,650 sq ft.  Full Kitchen: Yes
    Hotel Operator: Marriott Ko Olina Resort (Phone: 808-679-4700)
    Tenure: Fee simple and zoned 'Resort-Hotel' with hotel operation = Legal Short-Term Rental property
    View Ko Olina Beach Villas Building Details and Units for Sale

    Disclaimer: The information is deemed reliable, but not guaranteed, and should not be relied upon in deciding to purchase or sell. Always verify any and all information before making a decision to purchase or sell. Rules, regulations, tax rates, tax laws, zoning laws, condo governing documents, etc. are subject to change. Contact a LOCATIONS agent today for answers to all of your questions and concerns. 

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