Last month we reviewed Legislative bills that amended Chapter 514B specific to condominium regimes. There are a few other legislative actions that did not directly affect Chapter 514B, but they will nonetheless influence the governance decisions and life in a condominium association. The following information was summarized by the Hawaii Chapter of the Condominium Association Institute.

The legislature considered climate and energy conservation measures that will impact condo associations. As the legislators attempt to change public behavior in the interest of energy conservation and independence, condo owners should be prepared to adjust accordingly. It is safe to say that future legislative sessions will have a similar focus on the effects of our energy use on climate and energy conservation.

Acts 238 and 202 express this intent. In Act 238, the legislature found climate change to be “the overriding challenge of the twentyfirst century”. The purpose of this bill is to establish a goal for statewide greenhouse gas emissions that is 50% below 2005 levels and to “require and appropriate” funds for the state energy office to conduct a study to determine actions needed to achieve goals for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. One of those goals is to improve energy efficiency for residential users, or in the context of condominium associations, condominium unit owners.

Act 202 expands the eligible rebate for electric vehicle charging stations to include a wider variety of electric vehicle charging systems in the hope of increasing electric vehicle use. The legislature is continually seeking ways to encourage people to “go green”, and condominium associations that can accommodate electric vehicle chargers on their properties might consider taking advantage of government-offered rebates.

Act 154, relating to fair housing and reasonable accommodations, puts into law what has been accepted practice. It 1) defines “assistance animal” in the context of existing law prohibiting discrimination in real property transactions, 2) codifies the administrative process to verify that a person requesting a reasonable accommodation through the use of an assistance animal has a disability and needs the assistance animal to alleviate symptoms of the person’s disability and 3) makes clear that the possession of a vest or other item of clothing ostensibly identifying an animal as a service or assistance animal does not constitute valid verification of the need for an assistance animal.

Act 289, relating to adult protective services, addresses various types of abuse, including self-neglect. This bill broadens the ability of the Hawai’i department of human services to enter a vulnerable adult’s premises without a warrant for the purposes of making a welfare check of an at-risk individual. With the aging of our population, condominium associations will increasingly face situations of at-risk older adults. This bill can assist associations in reaching out to the vulnerable adults in their community. Act 310 prohibits discrimination against renters who participate in housing assistance programs such as Section 8 assistance. The legislature believes that renters who participate in housing subsidy programs should have an equal opportunity to find housing and should not be discriminated against because of this financial assistance.

This is a summary of actions taken by the legislature this year that affect condominium associations directly and indirectly. These bills will take effect at different times. If you need more information on how any of these bills may affect the life of your association, consult with a condominium attorney