Hawaii Act 179 (Senate Bill 474): Relating to Real Property Transactions

On July 2, 2021, Hawaii Governor David Ige signed into law Act 179 (Senate Bill 474), which requires that sellers of real estate located in areas at risk of sea-level rise disclose this information to potential buyers (Haw. Rev. Stat. § 508D-15 (2021)). Policymakers passed the law to ensure that prospective buyers are aware of future risks to property related to sea-level rise.

Hawaii law requires that a seller disclose all “material facts” related to residential real property up for sale (Haw. Rev. Stat. § 508D-1 (2013)).1 Previously, Hawaii law already designated certain flood vulnerabilities as “material facts” that require seller disclosure — for example, where real property lies within certain flood hazard zones or tsunami inundation areas.2 

Act 179 expanded this mandate to also require that a seller disclose where property falls within a “sea-level rise exposure area”: “The value of property lying within the boundaries of a sea level rise exposure area will likely be affected over time, which the legislature determines to be a material fact that should be disclosed by the seller in a real property transaction.” 

“Sea-level rise exposure areas” are determined according to the Hawaii Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commission's most recent Hawaii Sea-Level Rise Vulnerability and Adaptation Report (report).3  The report includes maps of areas susceptible to sea-level rise impacts based on a 3.2-foot projected increase.

Publication Date: July 2, 2021

Related Organizations:

  • State of Hawaii
  • Hawaii Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commission

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  • Laws
  • Legislation

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