Regulated Industries Complaints Office
State of Hawaii
In Hawaii, it’s your choice whether you manage your vacation rental yourself or hire a property manager. There are important requirements in vacation rental management, and the State of Hawaii Department of Consumer and Corporate Affairs has provided information to assist property owners who rent or lease property in Hawaii. The following Question and Answer information (Q&A) is drawn from this helpful Department of Consumer and Corporate Affairs resource and expanded upon to provide further clarification – click here.
When is a real estate license required?
In the State of Hawaii, a real estate license is required to sell, buy, lease, and manage real property.
Can a property owner manage his/her own property without a license?
Yes. A property owner can sell, buy, lease, and manage his/her own property without a real estate license, regardless of the owner’s place of residence.
Can a property owner hire a custodian or caretaker to manage their property?
Yes. A property owner can hire a custodian or caretaker to manage or care for his/her property. The “custodian” or “caretaker” doesn’t need a real estate license so long as he/she is employed by the owner. The exemption is limited to managing property for one owner. There is a deemed employer-employee relationship between the owner and the custodian / caretaker.
Must a property owner comply with Hawaii’s Residential Landlord-Tenant Code?
Yes. A property owner who rents or leases their own property must comply with Hawaii’s Residential Landlord-Tenant Code. Among other things, the Code requires owners and landlords who reside outside of the state or on another island to designate an on-island agent to act on the owner’s behalf. The designated on-island agent must be licensed if engaging in any activity for which a real estate license is required.
Must a property owner comply with state and county tax laws?
Yes. A property owner must comply with applicable state and county tax laws. State tax law requires persons who operate transient accommodations to designate a local contact or agent who resides on-island, in case of an emergency or natural disaster, or to answer any questions, concerns, or property issues that arise about the transient accommodation. The on-island local contact or agent must be licensed if engaging in any activity for which a real estate license is required.
For questions about when a real estate license may be required, contact the Hawaii Real Estate Commission’s Real Estate Branch at: (808) 586-2645.
To report unlicensed real estate activity, call the Regulated Industries Complains Office’s Consumer Resource Center at (808) 587-4272. To check licensing status or for information about hiring a licensed professional, call or visit the RICO website at cca.hawaii.gov/rico.
To obtain a copy of the Office of Consumer Protection’s Handbook for the Hawaii Residential Landlord-Tenant Code, contact the Office of Consumer Protection at (808) 586-2634 or download it online. This informative guide covers rental agreements, security deposits, repairs, prohibited practices, termination of tenancy, landlord obligations, tenant obligations, and remedies.