Financial

The State of Hawaii’s Vacation Rental Market

Mid-October's return of tourism could not happen soon enough for Hawaii's suffering vacation rental market. Hawaii Tourism Authority reports that vacation rental units were only 8.8% occupied during the month of September. With the holiday season approaching, hopefully those with vacation rentals will start to seem some positive returns.   According to HTA’s monthly Hawaii Vacation Rental Performance Report, the September, 2020 figure marks a 61 percentage point drop compared to the same month i [...]

Businesses, Commercial Leases and Hardship

COVID-19 is affecting markets differently. While residential real estate seems to be holding somewhat steady in Hawaii, commercial real estate, and the businesses that lease commercial properties, are not faring so well. On Maui, we've lost quite a few restaurants, along with businesses in other categories. Here's an update from Janis Magin, Senior Editor of Pacific Business News: "More than 80% of Hawaii businesses expect their revenue to decrease this year and in 2021 because of the Covid-19 p [...]

Should HOAs Use Reserve Funds to Fill a Budget Gap?

COVID-19 has brought economic hardships to individuals and businesses across the world. Community associations are no exception. For example, there are increased cleaning and maintenance protocols, and higher expenses along with it. At the same time, dues collection can be challenging. Owners cringe at special assessments. Communities may be looking at reserve funds to cover some of these expenses. Reserve funds are typically set up to prepare for future expenses. However, with hardships occurri [...]

Maui: A Look Back at 2019

While not a full list of the all of the happenings and news on the island in 2019, Here are some of the headlines that attracted the most attention. Blazin’ hot. Even though 2019 was the Chinese year of the pig, the year may be better remembered as the year of fire. Weather, including record breaking heat, combined with fallow fields contributed to blazes across 25,000 acres- more than five times as many as in 2018. Growing green business. Maui Brewing Company was recognized for investing over [...]

Reducing HOA Property Risks

Amenities add value to communities. Having a place to gather, play tennis or other recreation activities can be the centerpiece of the neighborhood on Maui. And since all members chip in through HOA fees, perks can be provided at a reasonable cost. However, amenities are not without risk A Homeowners Association is open to liabilities providing such amenities. It’s important to be fully aware of risks and take appropriate steps to minimize them. It may mean saving a lot of money down the road. [...]

Employers: Are you ready for payroll and related changes in 2020?

There are numerous payroll changes for 2020, mostly on the Federal level. You can toss out the old Form W-4- there’s a new one. 2020 is a leap year, which may throw off payroll calendars. Finally, there are a few interesting state laws taking effect in the upcoming year. While the new Hawaii laws are not directly tied to payroll, they may have an impact on personnel. Federal Changes FICA Taxes Social Security tax For 2020, employers and employees must each pay Social Security tax at 6.2%, up to [...]

Fiduciary Duty of a Board of Directors

Board members of a condominium or homeowner’s association have fiduciary duty to act in a way that will benefit all members of the association. The Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs has a document available to associations, “Condominium property Regimes: Owner Rights and Responsibilities.” Following is an excerpt of the document, which is a good starting point for association boards and their members to understand their responsibilities under the law. Board of Directors The as [...]

Keeping Adequate HOA Reserves

It’s hard for some homeowners to understand why dues are collected, or even increased, when an HOA already has funds held in reserve. However, reserves must be adequate, and a vote not to reserve is likely a vote for a special assessment in the future. An association must protect its common elements through the proper funding of association reserves. Pre-planning can save money, relieve stress and save time. Adequate reserves help keep a property well maintained, and adds to the safety and sec [...]

What’s Growing On at Mahi Pono

The tide is turning on the “wait and see” attitude many had toward Maui’s newest major agricultural land owner, Mahi Pono. The company bought 41,000 acres of central Maui land from Alexander & Baldwin in December for $262 million after the longtime sugar grower decided in 2016 to get out of the agriculture business and focus on commercial real estate. Now Mahi Pono is following through on community farm plans, revealed its first farm plan to grow fruits and vegetables, and broke ground thi [...]

2019 Legislative Session Update

The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Real Estate Division has provided on update on the 2019 legislative session. Enacted into law were several condominium bills. Provided is a summary of a few relative acts, but please consult with legal professionals regarding these new laws. House Bill: Act 192, SLH 2019 clarifies the order in which excess amounts in payments over maintenance fees can be applied to any additional fees, fines, interest, or amounts an owner may owe. Senate Bills: A [...]

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