Impact of the Lahaina Fires on the Hawaii Vacation Rental Industry

By August 16, 2023About Hawaii

While there are many obvious effects of the fires on Maui one that was not foreseen was the impact on the vacation rental industry throughout the State of Hawaii.  With a shortage of houses even prior to the fires and over 10,000 people displaced Hawaii has had to make several adjustments to handle the issue.

Over the course of the last decade many of the counties (islands) of Hawaii were moving to address the issue of illegal rentals in Hawaii.  Part of this process was deeming where short term vacation rentals could happen.  Maui was one of the counties that was at the front of this policy change.  In the wake of the fires, Hawaii moved to temporarily remove those laws and not only allowed short term rentals in “illegal” areas, but encouraged it.  This was primarily on the islands of Maui and Oahu.


Another impact is that until there is more insight on the restoration of Lahaina many of the hotels and vacation rentals on the island of Maui are housing residents and workers.  Currently flights coming into Maui are canceled unless Maui is your home or it is essential that you travel to Maui.  They have begun to open up travel to friends of family and people of that nature.  Due to this, people that were booked to stay in Maui in the coming months have had to rebook their stay on other islands.  On the Big Island of Hawaii, property management companies such as Waikoloa Vacation Rentals have seen over a 40% increase in bookings from what normal this time of the year. Due to this, the other islands stand to make a significant sum of tax dollars on these reservations.  Due in part to this, Mayor Mitch Roth of the Big Island of Hawaii began a Hawaii County Tax force to help aid the island of Maui.  Companies such as Waikoloa Vacation Rentals also have partnered with several of their homeowners to offer heavily discounted stays this fall for displaced guests.