Meet Marie and Alec: Longtime North Shore residents and passionate Airbnb hosts. Husband Alec, a native Hawaiian, and wife Marie, a 30-plus year resident of Hawaiʻi, love their North Shore home. “This home is on land that was originally a ranch owned by my great-grandfather,” notes Alec. “My father was a cowboy and worked this land, so this property has a rich family history.”
“Guests get to learn that Hawaiʻi isn’t just a tourist destination, [but] a real place with real people living their lives.”
Alec and Marie share two bedrooms in their home and have been welcoming guests for almost three years. “We enjoy meeting, learning, and sharing stories with all of our guests,” says Alec. “Many of our guests return each year and book their next stay while they’re finishing their current stay,” explains Alec. “And outside of the beaches and surfing, guests get to learn that Hawaiʻi is not just some tourist destination, it’s a real place with real people just living their lives, and I think that’s important,” he adds.
“We have a daughter in college and [home sharing] really helped with those bills.”
Home sharing came at the perfect time for the couple. “The extra income from home sharing has really helped the past couple years,” notes Alec. “We have a daughter in college and it really helped with those bills.” The couple believes in the benefits of home sharing for residents, travelers and the North Shore.
“Out here in the North Shore, we only have one hotel,” notes Alec. “So people who want to visit this side of the island don’t have many options — home sharing provides options and helps locals make a little extra money — home sharing is the wave of the future.”
They also see the impact to local businesses. “We haven’t heard any businesses speak out against home sharing,” he says. “They see the benefit of having travelers come to their shops and spend money in their stores.”
Alec also addresses a common misconception about home sharing. “We’re not millionaires, we’re not making a ton of money by sharing our home,” he adds. “We’re simply trying to survive.”
“If our property taxes are doubled, we may have to stop sharing our home.”
The City and County of Honolulu is considering new short-term rental rules, including a plan that could double the property taxes of all hosts who share their homes. While Alec and Marie appreciate the City’s quest to legitimize home sharing across Oʻahu, they’re concerned that the tax increase and extreme fees would be very detrimental to families like theirs. “We only rent out two rooms in our home, yet the property taxes would apply to our entire 2-acre property,” notes a frustrated Alec. “If our property taxes are doubled, we may have to stop sharing our home. I believe the daily violations could reach upwards of $100,00, that is a higher fine than running a criminal enterprise,” says Alec. “ It’s like the Council wants to punish us simply for sharing our home to guests. I don’t understand it.”
“We are not rich, we just want to be able to keep and maintain our little piece of paradise and a tiny piece of what once was our family’s heritage.”
Marie concludes by bringing the conversation back to their family history and how home sharing helps residents afford to stay on the island. “We are blessed to live and have a home on the North Shore, a property that’s been in my husband’s family for five generations,” says Marie. “Alec’s great-grandfather was fortunate to be a part of the first graduating class of Kamehameha School in 1891. He was a respected judge, a rancher and a man of influence, recognized by Hawaiian royalty. When World War II broke out the ranch closed. Little by little, the properties were sold to pay for the taxes and for economic reasons. We are not rich, we just want to be able to keep and maintain our little piece of paradise and a tiny piece of what once was our family’s heritage.”