what's the law
Childless couple denied larger rental
I currently reside in a house managed/leased by a private company that oversees a large number of rental units. I recently received notice that I would have to vacate my current rental unit due to scheduled renovations. The company promised to help me relocate to another unit under their management. I offered the company the rent amount they had posted for an available house, but was told the company would not accept my offer due to "family size." The house was fairly large, and the company told me they were reserving the house for a couple with children and that I could not rent the house since my wife and I do not have children. Is this legal?
Answer: On Oahu there are maximum occupancy restrictions based on criteria such as the number of tenants per unit and the square footage of the unit. There are no minimum occupancy requirements if the housing is not publicly subsidized. However, the protected class of familial status only protects those people who reside with children under the age of 18. This protected class does NOT protect those who do not have minor children, and therefore the situation you're facing, while discriminatory, does not constitute illegal discrimination.
Question: Thank you for your excellent column in the Star-Bulletin. I always enjoy reading it. I have a question that I would like to have answered. How many people can you rent rooms to in your house? We have a neighbor who has a four-bedroom house, and all are rented out to people just renting a room. Between his wife and his four boarders, there are six cars at the one house. Are there any laws about this? We live in a single-family community in Kailua, and the density has increased dramatically with people renting out rooms, illegal ohana units, and a number of the single-family homes have been broken up into apartments. What is the law for these issues, and whom do you contact?
Answer: If you have concerns about over-occupancy in a single-family home and questions regarding occupancy codes, contact the city-county Department of Planning and Permitting to inquire about the relevant regulations.
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or by mail to Legal Aid Q&A, 924 Bethel St., Honolulu, HI 96813.