July 24, 2019

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Hawaii Real Estate Law

Honolulu Law Firms

Real estate transactions, even those which seem simple, can turn into expensive legal nightmares. Reals estate law is very complex, and it is easy to get locked into a situation you did not anticipate, or take on unexpected liability.

Real Estate Law Matters

The following matters fall under real estate law:

  • Purchase and sale of property

  • Water rights

  • Land use and zoning

  • Condominium bylaws

  • Construction law

  • Foreclosures

  • Financing

  • Commercial leasing

  • Landlord/tenant issues

  • Conveyance and security instruments

  • Due diligence

  • Escrow

  • Title insurance

  • Trusts

  • Mandatory disclosures

  • Disputes with neighbors

Mandatory Seller Disclosures for Residential Property

Sellers of residential property, or their agents, are required to provide a disclosure statement to the buyer. The discloser must include anything which could affect the value of the property, including any known defects.

If the acts disclosed are not acceptable to the buyer, the buyer has 15 days to back out of a purchase contract. If they buyer discovers that the discloser statement was inaccurate or something was left out, or if they receive an amended disclosure statement, they have 15 days from the date that they become aware of the new information.

Once the sale has been recorded, a buyer cannot simply back out of the sale but can hold the seller or real estate agent liable for any damages which arise out of non-disclosure, and if failure to disclose was found to be intentional the seller or agent may even be held liable for fraud.

Exclusions from Disclosures

Hawaii real estate law specifies two facts which can be excluded from disclosure statements:

  • An occupant of the property had AIDS or was tested for HIV

  • Acts and occurrences which did not affect the physical structure or physical environment of the property

Disputes with Neighbors

Many people choose to purchase a home or piece of property in Hawaii because they want a little slice of paradise. But, a dispute with a neighbor can make life miserable in any setting, and some problems with neighbors can cause damage to your property and reduce its value, or make it impossible for you to fully use and enjoy your property.

Examples of neighbor disputes include:

  • Boundary and title disputes

  • Tree damage

  • Trespassing

  • Access issues

  • Fences

  • Views

  • Odors

  • Noise

  • Water and soil contamination

It is usually best if you can settle disputes with neighbors amicably and without taking legal action, but certain types of disputes can become a serious legal problem if you do not take action quickly.

For instance, a court may rule against you in a property boundary dispute if you are aware of the issue and let it continue for a long time, and later decide to try to reclaim the area which is technically yours but has been treated as your neighbor’s.