Advocacy Updates

Real Property Tax: Highest and Best Use, and Why You Should Care

By Tom Yamachika, President, Tax Foundation of Hawaii

Earlier this year, the City & County of Honolulu tinkered with its real property tax system.  People who aren’t aware of what happened may find themselves with property tax bills many times what they are now.

In Honolulu, as in most other counties here and in many jurisdictions on the Mainland, there are several property tax classifications.  For example, there is residential use that is taxed at $3.50 per $1,000 of assessed value; commercial use, taxed at $12.40; and hotel/resort, taxed at $12.90.  The classification that you fall in is determined by the “highest and best use” of your property. 

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City Changes Rules Related to Water Quality

The Department of Planning and Permitting is implementing new water quality rules effective August 16 that will affect developers, contractors, designers, businesses, and homeowners planning to file grading or building permit applications. The rules are intended to protect the city’s streams and our fragile coral reefs from the impacts of development.

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Sprinkler Retrofit Passes First Reading

On the heels of the recent Marco Polo condominium fire, which cost three people their lives, Bill 69 introduced by the administration has passed first reading and will be heard in the Committee on Executive Matters and Legal Affairs. Expecting contentious discussion, the bill will likely face opposition by condo owners who could pay thousands to install sprinklers, and strong support by the Honolulu Fire Department which sent over a hundred fire fighters into the Marco Polo.

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Condominium Residential Use dedication filing deadline is September 1, 2017

In April 2017, the Honolulu City Council passed Bill 8 (17) will allows certain condominium owners to consider dedicating their properties for Residential Use for a five-year period if their units are being used as a primary residence, or a long-term rental (more than 30 days at a time). 

The dedication allows the properties that are currently on land zoned as mixed use, hotel, or commercial, and whose Declaration of Condominium or Horizontal Property Regime specifically states that the unit is allowed to be used as residential, to be classified as Residential, and thereby eligible for the historically lower real property tax rate.

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