Hawaii tenants sue landlord over tainted Navy water

HONOLULU — Residents of a Hawaii housing complex are asking a judge to stop their landlord from charging them rent until their tap water is safe from contamination.

Kapilina Beach Homes in Ewa Beach used to be Navy housing. The Navy entered into a partnership with a private entity that also allows civilians to be tenants.

Attorney Jim Bickerton says residents continue to be charged rent and utilities except for water while their homes are “unfit for human habitation.”

A fuel storage tank facility owned by the Navy is blamed for petroleum-tainted water in and around Pearl Harbor.

“We are not charging any termination fees for lease breaks or asking residents to release any claims during this disruption. Any resident who wishes to terminate their lease or is dissatisfied with the terms of their lease termination during this disruption should speak with the management team,” Kapilina Beach Homes said in a statement Wednesday.

“Until the Navy remediates the water supply, treatment and distribution system, we are assisting our residents with delivery of large water bottles, credits for offsite laundry, access to shower facilities and continuing to waive all water charges,” the statement said.

Bickerton said a hearing is court hearing is scheduled for Friday on an emergency motion asking a judge to block the landlord from charging the residents an exit fee of two months’ rent or requiring them to release Kapilina from injury claims if residents want to end their leases.

Starting in late November, people on the Navy’s water system complained that their tap water smelled like fuel or reported physical ailments such as nausea and rashes after ingesting it.


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