PAL PAPERS: A tale of three topics: evictions, home-selling, home-buying

Topic #1 — Evictions are looming — starting Aug. 7

TENANTS, HELP IS AVAILABLE! If you are behind in your rent, your landlord can give you notice to leave the property on Aug. 7! GO TO NOW, TO MAKE SURE YOU QUALIFY FOR HELP!

If you are four months behind in your rent, or more, you can request free mediation with your landlord to talk about options like payment plans, temporary rent reduction, deferred payments, etc. Contact Kaua‘i Economic Opportunity, Inc. Mediation Program at (808) 245-4077 x229 or x237 or

But that is no guarantee that you will not be evicted. Your landlord does not have to accept the guidance of the mediator. And whether you are evicted or not, you will still owe rent. SO LINE UP FINANCIAL HELP NOW. Call (808) 482-3777 if you need translation service. Hawaiians, reach out to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands Emergency Rental Assistance Program:

LANDLORDS, if your tenant is not paying rent, you can apply for federal rental assistance on behalf of your tenant, with their consent. The federal rental assistance program provides up to 12 months of rent. Payment goes directly to you, the landlord. And it may be worth enquiring with your lender about mortgage forbearance.

Evictions will be phased in, depending on how far behind the tenant is on rent: 4+ months behind on rent: Eviction may be filed Aug. 7, 2021 to Sept. 5, 2021; 3 months behind: may be filed Sept. 6 to Nov. 5, 2021: two months behind: may be filed Nov. 6, 2021 to Jan. 5, 2022; 1 month behind: may be filed Jan. 6 to Aug. 6, 2022. And you must give proper eviction notice for nonpayment of rent. Beginning Aug. 7, 2021, notice must be given 15 calendar days before filing and you need to know how to do this properly. See “Non-Payment of Rent Notice Requirements” or get advice from an attorney.

And, Tenants and Landlords … please talk to each other! Work together to figure out a plan.

Can you imagine if we have hundreds more homeless families because of covid?! Let’s stick together. Remember: One homeless person — sheltered — saves us money in terms of emergency services (like the Police, the Emergency Room, crime, drugs, etc.) and economic impact. Not to mention the comfort and security of our communities and our social fabric.

And,if, on a tiny island we have even one ounce of compassion left for our neighbors, then must we not care for those who fall between the cracks?

If you have questions, both landlords and tenants can call the Landlord-Tenant Hotline at (808) 586-2634.

Topic #2 — Think twice before selling your home.

Of course, the market is hot and the temptation is great. What can you lose?

In 1988 “Malia Smith” purchased a lot in Kilauea town for $51,000. This hardworking, service industry, whip-smart, single mother of two had found the perfect place to raise her family. She built a modest, two-story home with the intention of renting out her downstairs to help offset her mortgage. Years later she was able to send her daughters to college, using a home equity line of credit (HELOC) and eventually, after both daughters left home, she put the home into a trust so her daughters would have the opportunity to own it.

Fast-forward to March 2020, Malia is laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Her supplemental income from rent is halted because the tenant is also out of work. Three months later, she finds herself dipping into her savings. In April 2021 she is still unemployed and money is very tight. Driving home one day she notices more and more open house signs and, over coffee, her daughter is just buzzing about homes being sold like “Hotcakes, sight unseen” all over the island! The next day, Malia’s speaking with her sister in Florida, who’s urging her to come live with her over there. She goes out to check the mail and, thumbing through, she comes across a colorful advertisement reading, “It’s a Sellers Market – Sold! $1.2 million! – Give us a call today” … and it describes her neighbor’s house, four doors down the street. And that house is not even as nice as hers!

Malia’s now 65, with an empty nest, an almost empty bank account, and no certainty if or when she will get a call back to work. The possibility of selling her home for $1 million is tantalizing! It almost sounds like it’s meant to be. She has some serious thinking to do.

Does this story sound familiar? We’re hearing it every day on Kaua‘i.

Pre-COVID America was already in a major housing shortage, but the pandemic greatly exacerbated the situation. Specifically, on Kaua‘i, we saw a sudden influx of secondary home-buyers, who’ve been picking up properties the way most people buy M&Ms or the way we were buying PPE back in March 2020. For the wealthy, “Money is cheap” at the moment.

Many families are being put into this high-pressure decision-making position — to sell, or not to sell. It’s human nature to see the gain of selling your home, especially when single-family homes are selling for 81% more than they did last year. No one can blame you. It sounds lucrative and would at least relieve you of current financial burdens, and then some.

But what could you lose? Selling your home on Kaua’i may “Price you and your family out … permanently”! We know people who jumped at the chance to sell, then found that there was nothing they could buy, and even renting at our “New normal” current rates can suck up your new nest egg pretty quickly! Just think at least twice.

Topic #3 — What are your chances of buying a home on Kaua‘i?

Picture yourself, or any of your relatives, out home shopping today. On Sunday, July 18, 2021 – on the entire island of Kaua‘i …

There are 30 homes “For Sale” under $1,000,000 ! (TWO under $600,000 – 595 and 599!)

537 have been sold, under one million, since 1/1/20! So we have about one month of inventory.

There are 51 homes for sale under $1,500,000! 703 have been sold since 1/1/’20.

953 homes have been sold, total, since 1/1/’20 – averaging almost 1.6 million!

Sure, more will be listed but you can rest assured you will get less and less for your money, as long as this madness continues.

THE POINT? Help PAL – Permanently Affordable Living, not housing (We say, it’s housing … and sooo much more), build Truly Affordable Housing! We are pursuing many projects, including hundreds of homes, for our local people only. Reach out to us if you are able to offer time, skills or contacts (particularly our super well-healed neighbors who may not realize the urgency of this issue and who are able to help significantly), or even your property (you can even make a profit).

Tune in and call in to the PAL KKCR Radio show tomorrow, Monday July 26 from 4-6 pm at 826-7771. Join the discussion about the impacts of covid on housing, formulating policy to combat the current housing crisis, and what the current statistics say about the future, with the ninja analyst Phillip Garboden – HCRC Professor in Affordable Housing. Assistant Professor, UHERO and Department of Urban and Regional Planning.

We always try to offer some hope, some solutions.

Visit our website at PAL-Kaua‘ or call (808) 738-6706.



The PAL Kaua‘i Mission is to provide homes and sustainable living solutions, within reach, restoring hope for the people of Kaua‘i. The fourth Sunday of each month, we cover relevant topics on housing, sustainability, or current events that impact your life. We then take a deeper dive into these topics on our PAL KKCR Radio Show from 4 to 6 p.m. the next day — tomorrow, July 26, 2021, the fourth Monday of the month.

  1. bill July 25, 2021 8:11 am Reply

    I am hopeful that the County of Kauai will once again allow ADU’s on specific Ag zoned lands- that have proof of farming and the ADU will be used for farm worker housing…. a WIN- WIN…. Lets DO This Kauai!!!!

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