The Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Real Estate Division provided a summary of the 2018 legislative session condominium bills that were enacted into law. Please consult with legal professionals regarding these new laws. The following descriptions are meant to provide only general information.
Act 195, SLH 2018 modified the foreclosure process for associations where there is an agreed upon payment plan. Act 195 also prohibits associations from deducting late fees, legal fees, fines, and interest from common expense payments regardless of any board policy. The new law ends a board’s ability to set priority of payments. Owners may not withhold any common expense payments, but may dispute other payment requests prior to payment via mediation. Act 195 provides a detailed procedure for unit owners to contest attorneys’ fees and costs, penalties or fines, lien filing fees or any other charges except for common expense assessments, in addition to providing minimum and maximum deadlines to demand mediation. The law also prohibits associations from attempting to collect any of the disputed charges until the association has participated in mediation. This law significantly changes how associations may collect on non-common expense assessments. This law is effective July 1, 2018, but sunsets on June 30, 2020.
Act 196, SLH 2018 expands the subsidized mediation program to include binding arbitration. The law also expands the scope of who can participate in mandatory mediation and the scope of what may be mediated. Act 196 also explicitly allows parties to apply to the circuit court to compel mediation in certain circumstances and sets time deadlines. This law is effective January 2, 2019, but sunsets on June 30, 2023.
Act 217, SLH 2018 makes it a fineable offense to knowingly misrepresent as a service animal any animal that does not meet the definition under §347-2.5, HRS, effective January 1, 2019. While Act 217 is not explicitly condominium related, many condominiums have encountered difficulty with misrepresented service animals. For condominiums, the law must be read with the requirements of the Fair Housing Act and Hawaii Civil Rights Commission regarding therapy, assistance, and emotional support animals.