Hawaii HOA Laws

Hawaii HOA Laws

Last Updated: November 28, 2023 by Corrin Swintosky

Homeowners associations (HOAs) manage many planned communities in Hawaii. Various local, state, and federal regulations as well as governing documents oversee HOAs in Hawaii.

Who Regulates HOAs in Hawaii?

In Hawaii, HOAs are regulated by the Hawaii Planned Community Associations found in Hawaii Revised Statutes § 421J-1 through 421J-16. This act applies to residential developments with common areas run by members. This act does not apply to condominiums, cooperative housing corporations, or any development that is not for residential purposes. Condominiums are governed by the Hawaii Condominium Property Act.

HOAs also have documents that regulate themselves. Every HOA is different, however, the governing documents typically include: Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restriction, and other rules.

HOAs in Hawaii may be subject to applicable federal laws such as:

HOAs may be subject to certain state laws such as:

How to Find HOA Regulations in Hawaii

HOA governing documents are public records in Hawaii. In Hawaii, homeowners can visit the county recorder’s office to find documents, like CC&Rs, Amendments, Bylaws, HOA Notices, Subdivision Maps, Plats, Recorded Land Surveys, Deeds, Deeds of Trust, Liens, and Judgments. The homeowner will be able to find the specific HOA by searching under the subdivision or community name.

A website also exists that allows residents to access these records and reports produced by the Hawaii Bureau of Conveyances.

HOA Powers in Hawaii

In Hawaii, an HOA has the power to:

  • Adopt and amend bylaws, rules and regulations
  • Upkeep common elements in the community
  • Make additional improvements on the common elements
  • Place liens on properties to collect overdue bills

Moreover, HOA governing documents can grant additional powers such as granting or placing restrictions on memberships, changing different elements of the common areas, and parking requirements.

Can an HOA Impose Fines on a Homeowner in Hawaii?

In Hawaii, an HOA can impose fines on a homeowner for violating its rules if stated in the governing documents. Furthermore, Hawaii law gives HOAs the right to impose fines on homeowners.

The governing documents will note the amount and type of fees in the HOA as well as the notice requirements for such fees.

Can an HOA Take Your Home in Hawaii?

In Hawaii, an HOA can foreclose on a homeowner’s house within its community. HOAs have the power to place a lien on a property when the owner neglects to pay their dues. If a lien goes unresolved, the HOA can foreclose on the house.

There are no state laws allowing an HOA to evict a homeowner. However, HOA provisions for evicting tenants may exist for evicting tenants, and should be referenced in the governing documents. In addition, the HOA may have other powers or restrictions regarding rental properties in its governing documents.

Can an HOA Enter Your Property in Hawaii?

There is no state provision in Hawaii that governs HOAs entering a homeowner’s property. Clauses of if, when, and how an HOA can enter a homeowner’s house will be listed in its governing documents.

Typically, an HOA may be able to enter a homeowner’s property in cases of emergency, maintenance, or violation of any rules or regulations.

Except in cases of emergency, an HOA should provide reasonable notice to the homeowner prior to the HOA entering the property. A reasonable timeline can range depending on the reason for entry. Reasonable notice can be between three days and a couple of weeks.

Where Do I File a Complaint Against my HOA in Hawaii?

There are different agencies to file a complaint against an HOA, which is dependent on the type of complaint.

If a homeowner feels they are a victim of housing discrimination, they can file a complaint with the Hawaii State Bar Association, Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or file a private lawsuit in Hawaii state or federal court.

For complaints concerning HOA fees, a homeowner can file a complaint with the local county or city housing department, the Federal Trade Commission, or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, homeowners may also file in state or federal court within one year of the violation date.

A homeowner can bring all other complaints to state court in the appropriate jurisdiction by filing a claim.

Joining & Leaving an HOA in Hawaii

There are two types of HOAs that govern joining and leaving clauses. Documents explaining the HOA and its membership rules should be presented at the closing for a new owner’s home purchase.

  • Mandatory HOAs. When a person buys a home, they automatically become a member required to abide by any HOA rules listed in the governing documents. This usually includes that a homeowner is not able to leave the HOA freely.
  • Voluntary HOAs. When a person buys a home, membership is a choice for each homeowner. If they choose to become a member, they may leave at any time by stopping their payments with the HOA.

To leave a mandatory HOA, a homeowner can sell their house or try to petition the court to have their home removed. However, there is no guarantee the petition will be granted.

How to Dissolve an HOA in Hawaii

The process for dissolution of an HOA in Hawaii may be set forth in the HOA’s governing documents. If it is not, members of the HOA must vote at least ⅔ in favor of dissolution at an HOA meeting

If dissolution is approved, the HOA has to handle and dissolve all of its assets and debts. A plan of dissolution must then be adopted by at least ⅔ of HOA members on how to dissolve all of its assets.

If approved, the agreeing members will sign a termination agreement and carry out any other business needs, such as settling debts, disposing of assets, and filing the necessary documentation with the Hawaii Business Registration Division.