When Hawaii’s legislative session opened on January 18th , there were nearly four dozen bills related to condominium and homeowner associations submitted for discussion and debate. Bills that successfully made it past multiple committees and chamber crossover and are still active as of this writing include:

Fire safety equipment in condominium reserves

This bill, among other things, requires and association budget to include: “The estimated costs of fire safety equipment or installations that meet the requirements of a life safety evaluation required by the applicable county for any building located in a county with a population greater than five hundred thousand; provided that the reserve study may forecast a loan or special assessment to fund life safety components or installation”

There is also language in the bill clarifying reserve study requirements.

Associations’ right of action against developers

This bill passed the House and Senate with little objection, and is with the Governor as of this writing. The legislature finds that a condominium association should have a reasonable opportunity to assert legal claims once the period of developer control terminates, notwithstanding the statute of repose.  Here is how this amends Section 514B-141 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes:

“Any statute of limitation affecting the association’s right of action against a developer is tolled until the period of developer control terminates; provided that, notwithstanding section 657-8, no statute of repose shall affect the association’s right of action against a developer sooner than two years after the period of developer control terminates.  A unit owner is not precluded from maintaining an action contemplated by this section because the unit owner is a unit owner or a member or officer of the association.  Liens resulting from judgments against the association are governed by section 514B‑147.”

Educational curriculum for board members 

The purpose and intent of this measure is to require members of boards of directors and officers of condominium associations, cooperative housing corporations, and planned community associations to certify their receipt and reading of certain documents or complete a board leader course from an instructor certified by the Community Associations Institute, or similar nationally recognized organization. Specific requirements and details, like if the bill would apply to small associations with few units, still needs to be resolved before the bill passes, or not.

Taskforce to examine the feasibility of oversight of various common interest developments

This bill would establish a Planned Community Association Oversight Task Force within the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs to examine the rights afforded to condominium property regime owners under chapter 514B, Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes, and determine the feasibility of extending any of those rights to members of planned community associations under chapter 421J, Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes. For example, condominium associations benefit from support from the real estate commission and regulated industries complaints office, for matters such as facilitating resolution of or intervening in a dispute. However,  owners in other developments are unable to request such support.

To keep informed about these and other bills related to HOAs, regularly check in on the Legislature’s website. You can do a search for specific bills and topics using “Subject Search.” Please contact the Legislative Reference Bureau has a public access space online, and can provide additional assistance with the legislative process. Destination Maui Inc., also tracks relative legislation affecting associations, and provides updates in our website learning center.