Maui News

Rent-With-Option-To-Buy Homes Offered by DHHL on Hawai‘i Island

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The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands offered Hawaiʻi Island beneficiaries a Rent-With-Option-To-Purchase opportunity on Saturday, April 17, 2021. Sixty homes initiated the project within the Villages of Laʻi ʻŌpua in Kealakehe on Hawaiʻi Island.

DHHL hosted the lot selection meeting for pre-qualified beneficiaries at the La’i ‘Ōpua Community Center as a walk-through event following social distancing and gathering guidelines, including the use of a virtual portion of the meeting. A virtual orientation was held in January.

The first 60 homes, a portion of the greater 118-unit Laʻi ʻŌpua Village 4 – ʻĀkau, broke ground for vertical construction in 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. An additional 103 lots will be built subsequently to complete Laʻi ʻŌpua Village 4 – ʻĀkau and the current Laʻi ʻŌpua Village 5.

Laʻi ʻŌpua UI lessees who met the household income requirements and other selection criteria were given the first selection opportunity since they currently hold a lease for the Village of Laʻi ʻŌpua subdivision. Any rental units available after the UI’s selection were offered to applicants on DHHL’s Hawaiʻi Island Residential Waiting List based on their application date. Other requirements, including household income and selection criteria set by the property management company, also had to be met.

The Department’s Rent-With-Option-To-Purchase product targets qualifying families who earn up to 30 percent, 40 percent, and 60 percent of the area median income. This program differs from a rent-to-own product, where rent will not contribute to the purchase of the home. Instead, the tenant’s Area Median Income (AMI) level at the initial qualification to occupy the units will be the same AMI level used in determining the sale price at the end of the 15 years.

Producing a Rent-With-Option-To-Purchase program requires public and private partnerships to successfully deploy financing tools and tax credits. Laʻi ʻŌpua will use, in part, federal and state low-income housing tax credit equity secured by Hunt Capital Partners, in collaboration with Ikaika ʻOhana and Urban Housing Communities. Coastal Construction Co. is acting as the project’s general contractor with architectural firm Design Partner, Inc. ThirtyOne50 Management will function as the rental property manager.

“As we close in on the 100th centennial of the signing of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, our kuleana to provide an affordable entry point for native Hawaiians to return to their ancestral lands has never been more critical,” said Deputy to the Chair Tyler Iokepa Gomes. “These types of public and private partnerships are a part of this administration’s push to create more diversified and affordable options for our beneficiaries.”

The project will provide affordable single-family rental homes for DHHL undivided interest lessees and waiting list applicants who may convert their rental into a 99-year homestead lease after 15 years.

In addition to the development in Kealakehe, DHHL is in the process of developing several other Hawaiʻi Island projects, including the upcoming offering of Vacant Lots in Discovery Harbor and the groundbreaking of its Subsistence Agricultural pilot projects in Honomū and Panaewa.


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