Real estate transactions in Hawaiʻi must now disclose risks of sea level rise

April 29, 2022, 3:40 PM HST
* Updated April 29, 12:59 PM

Nearby homes at Rocky Point, O‘ahu. (Feb. 28, 2022). PC: DLNR Hawaiʻi.

Beginning Sunday, May 1, 2022,  all real estate transactions conducted in Hawai‘i must include disclosures about the risk of sea level rise (SLR) to the property. The mandate, enacted in 2021, requires disclosure about sea level rise, up to and including 3.2 feet. 

The Hawaiʻi Climate Change Mitigation & Adaption Commission, in collaboration with the University of Hawaiʻi Sea Grant Program, and the DLNR Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands outlined the requirements in a flyer which provides background information on the new requirement, including guidance to the Hawaiʻi Sea Level Rise Viewer. The application, developed by the Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System at UH, allows users to assess specific properties for sea level rise risk.  

Nearby homes at Rocky Point, O‘ahu. (Feb. 28, 2022). PC: DLNR Hawaiʻi.

“Recent news of the North Shore home collapse highlights the real risks to oceanfront properties due to climate change,” Suzanne Case, Co-Chair of the Hawaiʻi Climate Change Commission, noted. “Unfortunately, this may happen again, it’s a dangerous situation – and demonstrates the necessity for disclosing this kind of information.” 

Nearby homes at Rocky Point, O‘ahu. (Feb. 28, 2022). PC: DLNR Hawaiʻi.

“Like existing flood zone disclosure requirements, established by the National Flood Insurance Program, the SLR disclosure will help homeowners and home buyers better understand how SLR will impact their properties,” according to a state Department of Land and Natural Resources press release.

The disclosure requirement applies to oceanfront and near-oceanfront properties as well as to properties close to streams or areas likely to flood in heavy rainfall events. 

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