Whether we are born here or moved here, we all value that Virginia is a great place to raise a family. Immigrants move to Virginia for many of the same reasons as people born in other areas of the United States — job opportunities, good schools, and thriving communities. And Virginia’s immigrants are critical contributors to the state’s economy and communities, adding new energy and ideas everywhere from struggling mill towns seeking a second wind to the worker-hungry tech corridors. Immigrants in Virginia today are typically well educated, long-time residents of the United States, with many becoming U.S. citizens and raising children of their own.
THE VACATION RENTAL INDUSTRY has exponentially expanded with the growth of online home-sharing platforms such as Airbnb, Flipkey, and Homeaway. The state of Hawai‘i alone hosted approximately 23,000 vacation rental units (VRUs) in 2017, meaning one out of every 24 of our housing units is a VRU.
While not every city has adopted such a comprehensive strategy, Hawai‘i’s counties have the opportunity to model their ordinances off successful VRU regulations from around the world. Appleseed finds that the most effective VRU ordinance:
- Holds platforms liable for illegal transactions on their websites;
- Requires platforms to provide data on VRUs to cities;
- Imposes meaningful fines;
- Focuses on bringing major offenders and commercial hosts into compliance;
- Empowers neighbors;
- Limits the number of units a host may rent and nights a unit may be rented;
- Bans VRUs from operating in inappropriate types of housing; and
- Provides clear restrictions on Non-Conforming Units (NCUs).
Commercial operators already dominate our VRU industry: as of November of 2018, 73.5 percent of Hawai‘i hosts operate multiple listings, and 84.8 percent of Hawai‘i listings are entire homes or apartments. VRU conversion will not go away on its own; the financial incentive to operate VRUs is so great that only powerful enforcement tools can save our valuable housing stock. It is imperative that our counties employ enforcement strategies that will help, not hurt, our residents.
Finding affordable housing has long been a significant challenge for Hawaiʻi’s residents. Over the past decade, it has risen to crisis proportions. The growth of the vacation rental industry in recent years is exacerbating these problems.
Over just the last two years, the number of VRUs has increased by 35 percent. One out of every 24 housing units in the state is a VRU, with some communities being completely overwhelmed by the industry’s growth. On Kauai one in eight homes is used as a VRU. In Lahaina, the ratio drops to one in three.
The reason why investors are choosing VRUs over long-term rentals is obvious: the average VRU brings in about 3.5 times more revenue than a long-term rental unit. However, the loss of long-term rentals to VRUs means higher housing costs for Hawai‘i residents.
Many Oregonians are struggling to afford safe and stable housing. Renters — who are disproportionately Oregonians of color — are the most likely to suffer from high housing costs. Many homeowners also struggle to keep a roof over their heads. Not surprisingly, housing costs weigh more heavily on low- and moderate-income households.
For Oregonians struggling to pay for their rent or mortgage, the cost of housing can make it hard to afford other basics such as healthy food and child care. In the worst cases, unaffordable housing costs increase rates of homelessness in Oregon.
Housing instability, in turn, undermines the physical and mental health of families, as well as the ability of children to succeed in school.