Fall 1991 Home   Newsletters

Fall 1991

Spring 1992

President's Message - Don't Let it Happen Here (Evelyn Bender)
Board Highlights
Members Appreciated
Leasehold in Hawaii
Update on Educational Revitalization (Libby Oshiyama & Marion Saunders)
Time for Action - League Supports Gejdenson Proposal
State Council
Health Care Consensus
National Convention
Urgent: Leasehold Conversion and Lease rent cap Legislation Needed (Richard Port)
Mandatory Conversion Laws Covering Leasehold Projects (Bruce C. Dinman)
Small Landowners' Perspective on Leasehold (James K. Mee)
Legislature and the Elusive Leasehold Issue - 1991 (Virginia Isbell)
Talk to LWVHI on Nov. 5, 1991 by Oswald Stender (Irene Coogan)
Mandatory Conversion Could Benefit Lessors (Joan Hayes)

Legislature and the Elusive Leasehold Issue - 1991

The 1991 Legislative Session was dominated by the Leasehold Condominium issue. The lessees wanted "mandatory conversions." While the lessors wanted to "keep their land." The Administration introduced-legislation which would have placed the State in the position of "landlord/banker" which was totally unacceptable to the members of the House Committee on Housing. (These members were Representatives Duke Bainum, Terrance Tom, Marshall Ige, Annelle Amaral, Suzanne Chun, Dennis Arakaki, Bertha Kawakami, Julie Duldulao, James Shon, Jane Tatibouet, and Henry Peters, a Bishop Estate Trustee.)

The leasehold condominium bills were jointly referred to the Committees on Consumer Protection, chaired by Representative Mazie Hirono, and Housing. These two House committees worked hard to pass out a bill (HB 1982, HD 1) to the House floor, which met the approval of a majority of its members. The House passed this bill and sent it to the Senate.

The Senate Committee on Housing chose to hold the House bill and instead sent over its own bill (SB 1255, SD 2) which contained on altogether different system for dealing with the leasehold condominium issue. The House Committees did not agree with the Senate's bill and decided to "gut" SB 1255, SD 2 and inserted the language of the bill which was originally passed by the House.

The House version (SB 1255, HD1) calls for conversion or lease cap if the lessee (owner-occupant) cannot afford to buy the fee, based on an income formula. (The income criteria is dearly set out in the Committee Report.) It also has sections in the bill which addresses "shared appreciation" which may be resurrected in some form outside the legislative arena. The Senate version (SB 1255, SD 2) among other things calls for the lessor to share in the profits on every sale of the apartment made by the lessees.

When the House and Senate committees went into conference, the Senate and House versions of SB 1255 were, of course, extremely different. Both sides left the conference table in disagreement.

During the height of the legislative debate on the leasehold condominium bill, Bishop Estate/Kamehameha Schools put on a media blitz opposing any forced conversion. The small landowners also make it quite clear that they did not favor any kind of forced conversion.

Recently Bishop Estate has offered several condominium complexes in fee. The fee is very expensive and there is rethinking presently underway on how to sell the fee and yet make it affordable.

Most importantly however, is that this issue was thoroughly discussed and debated in the Legislature and a bill on leasehold condominium reform did pass the House and is still "alive" in the Senate.

The 1992 Legislative agenda for the Committee on Housing will be devoted to the housing crisis, i.e., lack of rentaIs, available land/ infrastructure, home availability, etc. - using the recommendations from the rent Housing Summit held in October 1991

Representative Virginia Isabell,
Chair, Committee on Housing, Hawaii House of Representatives

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