HONOLULU (KHON2) — Sticker shock for some residents of a Waianae townhome complex. The state has drastically increased the rent for the property and they said it’s going to force them out.
Richard Jones and his wife bought their place in Ulu Wehi Town Homes in 2013. Because it’s leasehold meaning they don’t own the land, they have to pay rent on it.
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Since they moved in, the state has been charging them $680 a year. In January, that will go up to nearly $4,500 a year.
“Before we bought if I knew back then what I know now, I would never have bought here because from day one it’s been one problem after another,” said Jones.
He and his wife are retired like a lot of the other residents here so they said they do not have the money to be able to afford that increase.
“I can’t afford any extras, it’s ridiculous! And they’re not giving us any options, that’s the part that’s really hurting us,” said Jones.
He’s not the only one feeling the pinch. Neighbors met Thursday night trying to figure out what they should do.
“It’s just crazy amounts. I don’t know what they expect from us, the neighborhood is old. Expected to pay so much, it’s just horrible, it’s horrible right now,” said Keely Rivera.
She’s already paying $3,000 a year and doesn’t know how much longer she can afford to live there.
“I thought it was really high but my mortgage wasn’t that bad, so I thought okay I can do this. I’ve been struggling, struggling since forever since I bought the house,” said Rivera.
A spokesman for the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation said Jones’ lease will actually go up to $890 a year from 2025 to 2029. Then the lease rent will be renegotiated for the final 10 years after that. He added that Jones requested a lease term extension last year which requires lease renegotiation.
Jones said if the state doesn’t budge from raising the rent, he and his wife will be forced to sell the place and move to the mainland.
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“It’s a shame because we put a lot of money in this place, the patio that was $11,000 right there,” said Jones.