President Barack Obama’s two-week stay at his Hawaii Winter White House was illegal under a long-standing Honolulu ban on short-term rentals.

Obama did not break the law by staying at the house, but the property owner who rented his house to the Obamas does not have the permit that would allow a stay of fewer than 30 days.

Glenn Weinberg, the owner of the Kailua estate, told Civil Beat that it was legal for him to rent to the president for a short stay because he kept the home empty for the rest of the 30-day period. However his is a common misconception about Honolulu law.

“I don’t see any non-homeowner certificate that allows them to do short-term rentals,” Mike Friedel of the Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting’s Code Compliance branch told Civil Beat. “If they’re doing short-term rentals, it’s illegal.”

The so-called Winter White House is not listed in the most recent database of properties allowed for short-term rental use.

Those found in violation of the law are subject to a fine of up to $1,000.

The three-bedroom, five-and-a-half-bath home — the Obamas first began vacationing there in 2008 — is located at 57-A Kailuana Place. Weinberg purchased the property for $6.4 million in July 2010. Property records show ownership in the name of Weinberg’s company, Paradise Point Estates, which calls the house the “number one presidential vacation destination” on its website. (Watch a narrated video tour of the 2004-built home.)

Weinberg, a Maryland resident, told Civil Beat that the Obamas paid him to stay in his house — he got to meet the first family for about three “very cool” minutes, he said — and that the price was somewhere between $3,500 – $6,000 per night.

“They were here for about two weeks, approximately, but I don’t want to get into the contractual issues,” Weinberg said. “They don’t have to rent it for 30 days but you have to leave a 30-day window. I had to make sure that during that period, either 15 days after them or 15 days before them, I can’t rent it. And that was the case with (the Obamas).”

A White House spokesman said he couldn’t confirm how much the Obamas paid or the length of their rental agreement.

Weinberg’s explanation is one that’s commonly offered, but that still represents an illegal renting practice. Since the 1980s, Honolulu’s land-use ordinance has required anyone renting property for a period of “less than 30 days” to obtain a permit to do so. The law was crafted to discourage a spike in short-term vacation rentals, which had residents in many communities complaining of wild parties and other neighborhood disruptions. The city hasn’t issued any new permits in two decades. For years, the question of whether the city should again issue permits has generated controversy.

“Maybe it’s that the people are circumventing the law or thinking, ‘Oh, I’ll only rent it to one person in a (30-day) period,” said Andrew Malahoff, a spokesman for Honolulu City Council member Ikaika Anderson, who chairs the city’s Zoning Committee. “They say, ‘Even though they’re only going to stay there for seven days, I’ll charge them for (30) days, and prorate that.’ But as far as we know, that is also not legal. You will not rent for a period of less than 30 days. That’s what’s in the land-use ordinance. It’s not just about multiple rental parties, it’s the period of days.”

The regulations apply only to the property owner, Malahoff told Civil Beat in a follow-up e-mail. A tenant isn’t subject to any fine for an agreement of less than 30 days, he said.

In an October interview about a different short-term rental controversy involving a City Council candidate, Friedel, the city’s compliance chief, said the law is clear cut.

“When someone takes the 30-or-more-days contract but ‘leaves early,’ and rents it for 15 days, they can’t do that,” Friedel told Civil Beat at the time. “It’s not legal. And they’re doing it all the time. They’re lying through their teeth, and it’s what makes enforcement so difficult.”

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