The advent of the new year is an ideal time to look ahead to issues that may impact condominium and community association law in the coming months.

PMK Partner Kapono Kiakona summarizes two topics he expects to be most relevant:

Short term rental issues

Both the Honolulu City Council and the State Legislature are considering a bill that could alter current short-term rentals. The current Honolulu ordinance, while popular in some communities, impedes owners of units in some Waikiki condominium buildings from renting to vacationers, even though those buildings previously provided short-term rentals for Oahu visitors for decades. Proposed changes to the ordinance are designed to clarify who may rent for the short term and who may not. However, many buildings are noting that the changes to the language are likely to create more problems than they solve.

The State Legislature is considering a bill that would create a private right of action for violations of any short-term rental laws. As of February 14, 2022, the proposed legislation grants a plaintiff up to $10,000 and their attorney’s fees if they are successful. Whereas defendants could seek attorneys’ fees and damages if a complaint is found to be meritless or false. The legislature claims this is to help neighbors police their communities.

Construction defects

Hawaii’s construction boom of the last five years has resulted in more frequent defects among some newer buildings. During a boom, there is an incentive to complete construction as fast as possible. This creates a greater potential for errors or workarounds. Many of these mistakes aren’t discovered until years after completion.

“All building associations of newer construction should be cognizant of these issues, and as a precaution, they should pay attention to their structures, how they are operating, how they look and investigate deficiencies in full detail,” Kapono said.

If your building is less than 10 years old, it is strongly recommended that a thorough investigation be completed before the 10-year running of the Statute of Repose.