By Suzanne M. Harding, Realtor

The Hawai‘i Association of REALTORS® (HAR), comprised of five neighboring island boards and more than 9,500 REALTOR® members, recently participated in the annual REALTOR® Day at the Hawai‘i State Capitol.

As the largest trade organization in Hawai‘i, HAR’s Government Affairs Committee is tasked with advocating important issues affecting homeownership and the real estate industry in the State of Hawai‘i. In 2018, REALTORS® are highly focused on consumer protection.

The issues introduced this year as part of the 2018 Hawai‘i REALTOR® Legislative Priorities are:

  • Solving Hawaii’s Housing Problem through Creative Partnerships – Hawai‘i Association of REALTORS® believe that the need to focus on creative solutions are needed to address our housing shortage. Any proposals that would add to the cost of real estate through taxation would be counterproductive to our housing needs.
  • Increasing the Handyman Exemption – HAR believes it is time to increase the handyman exemption from $1,000 to $5,000. This exemption increase would provide an outlet to consumers who believe the handyman’s work was not up to par.
  • Balanced Solution to Rental Application Screening Fees – The legislation proposes a limit of $25 per application, and no additional fees, for other properties within the same firm for up to three months.
  • Creating a Holdover Seller Exemption Under the Landlord Tenant Code – HAR believes the Landlord Tenant Code should equally exclude occupancy by the seller of the property after the transfer of the seller’s ownership rights. The extension would make it clear that both parties can agree on a timeframe that works for both the buyer and seller.
  • Establishing Consumer Protection Mechanisms for Short Term Vacation Rentals – This would create a new Short-Term Vacation Rental (STVR) Chapter to address regulation and consumer protection through use of a real estate salesperson or broker who are versed in laws and regulations, and easily accessible during unforeseen circumstances; and by enforcement of client trust funds.

On the local level, the Kaua‘i Board of REALTORS® has established three County priorities concerning housing:

  • Create, develop and establish relationships with developers; large landowners; County Housing Agency; Kaua‘i Habitat; contractors; Chamber of Commerce and unions addressing the need to attain a common goal – “Housing for all.”
  • Support more islandwide Additional Rental Units (ARU).
  • Change Chapter 7A, Inclusionary Zoning, to be incentive-based (lower or remove the developer mandate of 30 percent affordable units for projects over 10 units).

The Kaua‘i Board of REALTORS® welcomes your input and suggestions. For more information, or to send comments, call (808) 245-4049 or email