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Hawaii Introduces Bill to Ban Foreigners from Buying Land

A new bill introduced in Hawaii aims to prohibit foreigners from purchasing land in the Aloha State, as concerns mount over the ongoing housing crisis.

State Sen. Brenton Awa, the bill’s sponsor, contends that restricting foreign ownership could help alleviate housing affordability challenges exacerbated by external investment.

Addressing the Housing Crisis

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Sen. Brenton Awa emphasizes the urgency of addressing the housing crisis, citing a significant surge in home prices during the pandemic.

He attributes this increase to external buyers wielding substantial purchasing power, driving local residents out of the housing market.

Legislative Proposal

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The proposed legislation mandates that buyers of real property must provide an affidavit confirming they are not foreign principals, defined as individuals domiciled in foreign countries without U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residency.

This measure aims to safeguard housing accessibility for local residents.

Impact of Tourism and Development

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Residents in Hawaii have long lamented the effects of tourism and luxury development on housing accessibility.

With some of the nation’s highest housing costs, exacerbated by events such as the Maui wildfires, the housing crisis remains a pressing concern for policymakers and residents alike.

Legal Concerns

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State Attorney General Anne Lopez expresses reservations about the bill’s constitutionality and legality.

She warns of potential litigation and monetary liabilities, as well as the risk of violating constitutional amendments and fair housing laws.

Similar Legislation in Florida

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The Hawaii bill echoes legislation enacted in Florida, aimed at restricting land ownership by certain foreign entities.

However, Florida’s law has faced legal challenges, with a federal appeals judge ruling it violates constitutional protections against discrimination.

Proposed Solutions

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Amid growing public outcry, state officials in Hawaii are exploring various measures to address the housing crisis.

Gov. Josh Green has signed an emergency proclamation to expedite construction of tiny village communities for unhoused residents, streamlining the housing development process.

Emergency Declarations

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Gov. Green has also implemented emergency declarations to combat price gouging on essential goods and services, including rent, following the Maui wildfires.

These measures aim to protect vulnerable residents from exploitation during times of crisis.

Local Government Initiatives

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Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen proposes amendments to the County Code to incentivize property owners to provide housing to displaced residents.

The proposal offers tax waivers to owners who offer their properties as rentals to impacted families, while imposing higher taxes on those who opt out.

Shared Sacrifice

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Mayor Bissen emphasizes the importance of shared sacrifice in addressing the housing crisis.

The proposed tax incentives seek to encourage property owners to contribute to community recovery efforts, ensuring housing stability for affected individuals and families.

State’s Housing Crisis

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The introduction of the bill prohibiting foreigners from buying land in Hawaii reflects ongoing efforts to address the state’s housing crisis.

With various legislative proposals and initiatives underway, policymakers seek to implement comprehensive solutions to safeguard housing accessibility for residents amidst mounting challenges.

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