Short Term Vacation Rental Application Process

Aloha fellow Villages at Mauna Lani owners:

Laura Partridge asked if I could write an article on a current and relevant real estate subject for our Villages Newsletter. I decided to write a few words of wisdom on the new Short Term Vacation Rental (STVR) registration process that is now required of all owners who are currently vacation renting their properties or are seeking approval to do so via the County of Hawaii’s new STVR approval process. I just assisted my client’s successful completion and submittal of their applications for 2 Villages homes this week to the County of Hawaii Planning Department. For those of you not vacation renting your homes, congratulations as you will avoid a somewhat tricky and time consuming process.

For the sake of this article I will comment only on typical units in our Villages community which is located in “V” (resort) zoning where vacation rental is allowed and vacation rental is not precluded by our Villages rules and regulations.

Here is a link to the County Site if you would like to follow along with a copy of the application in front of you:

The first step in determining the process routing is to establish whether you are a “NEW” or “EXISTING” STVR. This determination is detailed on Pages 1 and 2 of the application. For current owners, who are presently vacation renting their properties, you are an EXISTING STVR which allows you to continue vacation renting your property while your STVR application is being processed. If you have not been vacation renting your property and now decide that you would like to do so or you are a new owner of a Villages property where the previous owner had not obtained the STVR approval, you are considered a NEW application and you must obtain an STVR approval first in order to proceed with vacation renting your property. This NEW or EXISTING STVR determination is critical as the County may review VRBO and Airbnb rental sites to determine if you are currently advertising your property for rent even though you have filed a NEW application where you should not be renting your property until approved.

Whether “NEW” or “EXISTING”, Villages unit only require steps 1-10 of the application be completed. Here is a synopsis including my comments on each item of the application relative to Villages properties only.

Page 1 and 2:

See my comments above!! This page helps determine if you are in an allowed zone and whether you are a NEW or an EXISTING STVR.

Page 3:

Applicant and Land Owner would be the same in this Villages example but could be different if the property owner leased it to someone who subsequently is vacation renting the property to others.

Page 4:

  • Item 2, this may apply if you are having your property manager or other “authorized” person complete your application.
  • Item 4, The County website,, contains the Tax Information you will need to print for your application but the tax records for The Villages units do not include links to the Building Permits they also require. This entails a personal visit to the County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works-Building Division (located in the same building as the Planning Department) to obtain the completed “page 5” of the Registration form-super important.
  • Item 6, County of Hawai‘i Real Property Tax Clearance Certificate obtained from the Real Property Tax Division. Again, this requires a personal visit to the office located in the same County complex as Planning and Building Department-$2.00 fee, bring cash!
  • Item 7 and 8, our property manager Peter Spear or possibly The Villages website may have these items-note the requirement for 11” x 17” printing.
  • Item 9, most Title companies provide notary services here on island.
  • Item 5 and 10, provide copies of your Transient Occupancy Tax and General Excise Tax Certificates. A copy of these licenses are available online if you do not have a copy,

Print the property owner’s name and address as well as the Tax Map Key number on all documents submitted like the site plan and floor plan. Lastly, the offices close at 4:00 pm BUT they stop taking applications at 3:00 pm sharp!

I hope this helps those of you who are required to file these new STVR approval documents. The application process can be tricky but is now a necessary step to legally vacation rent any property on Hawaii Island.

See you at the beach! 🙂