Wednesday, February 13, 2002

eviction notices
raise ire in Calif.

The Japanese businessman
also is selling isle properties

Staff and news reports

Plans by Japanese businessman Genshiro Kawamoto to sell off residential rental properties in California, giving tenants 30 days to move out, has upset housing advocates and legislators in the state.

Hundreds of Sacramento-area residents are affected.

Kawamoto appears to be within his legal rights in demanding that renters on month-to-month leases get out. But California lawmakers and local officials said they would try to appeal for more time and a chance for the tenants to buy their homes, according to the Sacramento Bee newspaper. Eviction notices sent to California tenants by Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing, Kawamoto's Hawaii law firm, said Kawamoto wants to get out of the rental business.

Just last week, Kawamoto listed one-third of his 160 Hawaii residential properties for sale. The reasons still aren't clear. Calls to Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing have not been returned.

Kawamoto listed the cheaper segment of his properties. The response has been overwhelming, with buyers submitting bids for homes they've never seen before, said Cathy George of real estate brokerage Cathy George & Associates.

"It's in a very popular price range," said George, who plans to represent potential buyers.

The offering ranges from older single-family homes in Kailua to units in the Royal Capitol Plaza high-rise, and prices start around $290,000, George said. She expects several properties will sell for more than the listing price.

Kawamoto, who made billions during Japan's land boom, made headlines in the late 1980s when he bought Hawaii homes for astronomical prices. The businessman also financed the construction of at least 420 homes in Sacramento, according to the Bee. Most of the California homes are valued at less than $200,000.

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