“Just too high:” Hawaiian lawmaker says the price of rent should be regulated
HONOLULU, Hawaii — Should the price of rent be regulated? That’s a question being raised by a Hawaiian lawmaker.
Rep. Kaneila Ing of South Maui.
“The rent is just too damn high for local residents. People are getting driven out of their communities because of the influx of mainland and international investors, so this will help curb that and give local people a chance,” Rep. Kaneila Ing of South Maui said.
Rep. Ing wants to limit the amount of rent that landlords can charge. His proposal would launch a pilot project as early as next year. It would apply to newly constructed homes as well homes more than 20 years old.
“The problem is since the 90s, the average rent went from $800 to $2,400, so we want to help slow that down and allow young people to save up to buy homes and for our kupuna (elders) on a fixed income to not end up homeless and on the streets,” Ing said.
The bill would limit landlords of homes built before 1990 to charging no more than 30 percent of the area’s median income.
New developments would still be able to set their rents at the market rate, but would not be able to increase those prices by more than three percent per year.
The measure just opened to public comments and some industry insiders are already criticizing the form of rent control.
“We have some serious concerns about it applying to new construction,” Craig Hirai of Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation said.
Both the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation and the Hawaii Association of Realtors oppose the bill. Some fear it’ll stop developers from building affordable housing. Others believe it to be a counter productive housing policy.
Ing said the bill’s opponents are basing their opinions on out-dated information.
“There’s also a strong lobby arm for realtor, for developers. They have a lot of influence, but there’s no tenant associations coming out in support, but I know there are a lot of people who rent who this would really help,” Ing said.