Kokua Line
June Watanabe

Family size in a
dwelling rarely limited

Question: What criteria are used to determine who is related and who is not when a complaint is made about too many people living in a residence? Do they need to show some kind of proof? It's just so easy to say "We're all related" and have a ton of people living together and polluting the neighborhood with their cars and general density.

Answer: City building investigators are usually able to find out one way or another if people living at a home are related.

But if an inspector goes out to check and the people say they are related, "that's it," said Russell Kaneshiro, chief of the city Housing Code Section. The city does not demand proof.

If someone says he's a cousin to the homeowner, the inspector basically has to take the person's word for it, because "there is no way for us to prove otherwise," Kaneshiro explained.

"A lot of times, depending on the situation, we do find out one way or the other if (people) are related or not," he said. But sometimes there is no way of telling unless the complainant has evidence.

Inspectors do sometimes find too many unrelated people living together and will issue citations "if there is a problem," he said.

There is no restriction on the number of people in a family who can live together, as long as there is enough space in a dwelling, as set forth in city laws, Kaneshiro said.

A family is defined as people related by blood, marriage or adoption.

The law also allows up to three unrelated people, in addition to a family, to live in the same dwelling.

The overall layout and size of a dwelling also determines how many people are allowed to live there.

If there is a problem of overcrowding and the size of the house can't accommodate an X number of people, "We're going to say, 'You cannot have that many relatives'" -- beyond the immediate family -- staying with you, Kaneshiro said.

But if all the residents are immediate family -- defined as parents, children, grandchildren -- the city is not going to move to boot anyone out, he said.

Meanwhile, he said, the general rule is that two parking spaces are required for a single-family home. However, if there are six people able to drive, there is no way to restrict them from having six or more cars.

"You might have a family of seven with 14 cars, but you can't require them to have 14 (parking) spaces," Kaneshiro said.

Senior gatherings

Regarding a reader looking for evening social gatherings for older people (Kokua Line, July 17), another reader suggested the Pagoda Hotel on Friday nights: "All of those people who used to go to the Tahitian Lanai (mentioned by the first reader) are now going to the Pagoda Hotel on Friday nights," he said. "The piano player who was at the Tahitian Lanai is playing there, and they all gather and sing and have a party."


See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Got a question or complaint?
Call 529-4773, fax 529-4750, or write to Kokua Line,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210,
Honolulu 96813. As many as possible will be answered.
E-mail to kokualine@starbulletin.com

| | |
E-mail to City Desk


© Honolulu Star-Bulletin -- https://archives.starbulletin.com