Law raises penalties for unkempt properties

If you love your neighborhood, but don’t necessarily love the junk heap in your neighbor’s yard, you might have more recourse.

In April, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed into law Bill 3 (2013), which increased the penalties the city can exact from property owners who let their yards become overrun with weeds or trash. The new law raises the maximum daily fine to $5,000 from $1,000 for owners who fail to maintain their homes and yards.

City officials have made it clear that the maximum fine would only affect the most egregious offenders on Oahu. It’s become nicknamed the “Genshiro Kawamoto Bill,” after the Japanese billionaire whose numerous Kahala properties have fallen into such disrepair that by time Bill 3 was adopted, he’d already been fined almost 70 times.

According to the new law, an owner whose property has been deemed a neighborhood blights will be notified that he must clean it up within 30 days via certified mail, a notice in the newspaper or by a notice posted on the property that details what improvements must be made.

If the owner fails to comply, the city can step in after 30 days to remove weeds, trash or waste and bill the property owner. Owners who don’t pay will face liens on their properties.

If you want to make a complaint, call the Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting at 768-6743, or visit the office in person a the Frank F. Fasi Municipal Building. You can also submit a complaint online at