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Good news

This is good news for everyone... not just for Hawaiians. Also this goes to show you that the average citizen can fight off rich people who want to buy land that doesn't even belong to them. In fact there is an affluent person whining that she loves her home. If she loved her home so much then she should enjoy it but now she cannot force people and/or entities like the Kamehameha Schools which is the only school for Hawaiian children to sell their land in order for these rich people to be happy. No... they signed the contract to lease the land which their house or condo sits on. Now they have to abide by the law and pay the landowner a fee to lease the land. If they didn't want to do that then they shouldn't have signed the contract! Fortunately Chapter 38 has been repealed which is good news for everyone. Anyway here is the article:


Repeal supporters cheer the 6-3 Council vote, but lessees fear loss of their homes

By Crystal Kua

The City Council voted yesterday to void the controversial ordinance that allows condominium owners to use the city's condemnation powers to buy title to the land under their buildings.

"I love my home and I don't really want to give it up, and I really don't think that it's fair that we should have to after the many years we have been there."

Melba Maxwell
Owner of a unit in the Kalia in Waikiki

The Council voted 6-3 to repeal the mandatory lease-to-fee conversion law known as Chapter 38. The measure now goes to Mayor Mufi Hannemann, who has said that he would sign a repeal bill.

"To me, Chapter 38 promotes unfairness, and that is why it has been so controversial," said Councilman Nestor Garcia, who voted to repeal the law.

After the vote, repeal supporters, including representatives of charitable trusts, small landowners, charter school students and teachers, and native Hawaiian activists applauded the Council's action.

They stood and broke into a chorus of "Hawaii Pono'i."

"We won. I'm just so happy. ... We've been fighting for this for the longest," said 17-year-old Helena Crawford, a senior at Waianae High School who has taken part in programs sponsored by the Queen Liliuokalani Trust, which owns land in Waikiki with leasehold condominium units.

"This means we can continue to protect our lands, we can continue to rely on our ownership into the future, rely on its cash flow and take care of our educational programs," said Ray Soon, vice president of community relations with Kamehameha Schools, which also fought to kill the law.

Chapter 38 harms charitable trusts like Kamehameha Schools and Queen Liliuokalani by taking away needed revenue generated from the condominium leases, its detractors said. Small landowners also said they have been at a disadvantage with lessees who have had City Hall on their side.

"Today is a wonder day in Hawaii nei for our children, our alii trust and protection of landownership for all of Hawaii's people," testified LeRoy Akamine, a Kamehameha Schools alumnus.

But lessees said they fear they will face high lease payments or lose their homes as a result of the law being voided.

"I love my home and I don't really want to give it up, and I really don't think that it's fair that we should have to after the many years we have been there," Melba Maxwell, who owns a unit in the Kalia in Waikiki, testified.

They also contend the city is liable for its decision to not only repeal the law, but to cut off applicants close to converting.

"We assumed that the City and County of Honolulu would live up to its obligations under its contract. This is just a flagrant breach by the Council of that," said Robert Dupire-Nelson. A resident of the Kahala Beach apartment, he is one of the plaintiffs who filed suit Monday against the city over the anticipated repeal of the law.

Another lawsuit was filed Tuesday by lessees at the Admiral Thomas condominium.

"I think we're placing every faith that the courts of Hawaii will uphold the law and uphold reason and allow actions to continue," Dupire-Nelson said. "If the courts do not allow the (conversion) action to continue, I think ... it puts a great deal of questions into how long you can remain somewhere."

The Council rejected an amendment introduced by Councilman Charles Djou that would have permitted some lessees in cases close to Council approval to complete the conversion process. Djou and other members said the amendment would have helped limit the city's exposure to liability.

The mandatory leasehold conversion law was passed in 1991 to help condominium leasehold owner-occupants gain title to the land under their units. The city uses its powers of eminent domain to condemn the land and turn over the fee interests to the eligible unit owners.

Seen at http://starbulletin.com/2005/01/27/news/index5.html

Cross-posted to hawaiians


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 27th, 2005 04:45 pm (UTC)
You know, I really don't think most non-Hawaiians even understand the leasehold system, because there is nothing like it in the rest of the U.S. as far as I know. And from the point of view of a home buyer, it's terribly unfair that they can "buy" a house, but then either have pay "rent" on it and still might eventually just get booted off. I used to be a real estate agent in Hawaii when I was 21, and even I didn't understand the reasons BEHIND the leasehold system. I am only slowly understanding the issues by reading your recent posts. I think more education on the issue might help change people's attitudes about homebuying there. I also think that the leasholders should just own the damn houses too and either sell them or rent them out. The current system doesn't make much sense at all.
Jan. 27th, 2005 05:02 pm (UTC)
That's primarily why I don't want to buy a house on O'ahu... because most of the time it's leasehold. That's why I have property on the Big Island where you can "own" the land but unfortunately when some newcomers move to the islands they are not used to the system so they try to force changes to the status quo while cheating the property owners. Fortunately that is officially over.

Also I didn't know you had your real estate license in Hawaii. I have one in the state where I reside but I could never sell property in Hawaii even if I probably would make more there.
Jan. 28th, 2005 01:01 am (UTC)
I see more fee-simple units than I see leasehold.

Leasehold began (or really took off) several years ago when there was a shortage of living units for people to live in. The state government encouraged landowners to engage in leasehold to help provide housing opportunities to residents.
Jan. 27th, 2005 04:56 pm (UTC)
whew! that is good news!
Jan. 27th, 2005 05:02 pm (UTC)
Yep. For some time I thought it wouldn't pass. Fortunately it did! :)
Jan. 27th, 2005 05:42 pm (UTC)
condo owners having powers of eminent domain? Sounds like "You can condemn property if you can buy the right to do so."

Definitely SHOULD be repealed!!
Jan. 28th, 2005 01:04 am (UTC)
it's kind of like that. What was happening was condo owners would petition the city council to use their power of eminent domain and claim that it was for the public good. What really happened was, the city council was using its authority to settle a dispute between to private parties by taking property from the landowner and then giving it to the person who contracted to lease it in exchange for money.
Jan. 27th, 2005 05:43 pm (UTC)
OMG! Awesome layout! Is that you????
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


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