Hawaii Eminent Domain Laws


Hawaii eminent domain laws can be found in chapter 101, title 7, division 1 of Hawaii revised statutes.  Pursuant to HRS § 101-2, a condemning authority may take private property for public use.  The state or county shall sell or lease such excess property and the money received shall be paid into the fund or appropriation from which money was taken for the original condemnation and shall be available for the purposes of such fund or appropriation.

The courts must give preference to eminent domain actions over all other actions and eminent domain actions shall be quickly heard and determined[i].  Pursuant to HRS § 101-10, the circuit courts shall try and determine all eminent domain actions, subject only to an appeal to the supreme court in accordance with law.  The court may on its own motion or on motion of any party try and determine any issue in the case in advance of other issues.  The court may determine all adverse or conflicting claims to the property sought to be condemned and to the compensation or damages to be awarded for the taking of the property[ii].  While fixing the compensation for condemnation of property, the value of the property together with improvement thereon shall be assessed[iii]. The right to compensation and damages shall accrue at the date of summons and actual value at that date shall be the measure of valuation of all property to be condemned[iv].  When all payments required by the final judgment have been made, the court shall make a final order of condemnation, which shall describe the property condemned and the purposes of the condemnation.  A certified copy of which shall be filed and recorded in the office of the registrar of conveyances and thereupon the property described shall vest in the plaintiff[v].

Pursuant to HRS § 101-27, if the proceedings are abandoned before reaching a final judgment, or if the property is not finally taken for public use, the defendant can recover defendant’s costs of court, a reasonable amount to cover attorney’s fees paid by the defendant in connection therewith, and other reasonable expenses.  The possession of the property concerned shall be restored to the defendant.

Pursuant to HRS § 101-39 if (1) possession is abandoned at any time prior to the entry of final order of condemnation, or (2) proceedings are abandoned or discontinued before reaching final judgment, or (3) the final judgment does not provide for the taking of the land for public use, or (4) the final order of condemnation is not entered within two years after final judgment, then:

1) The amount of taxes remitted for the balance of the taxation period or year from and after the event enumerated in items (1), (2), (3), or (4) above shall be restored to the tax lists and tax rolls and shall be deemed delinquent if not paid within ten days after the mailing of notice and demand for payment; and

2) If the property has not been assessed for taxes in any year by reason of such possession by the plaintiff, the property shall be assessed for taxes in the manner provided for property omitted from taxation and the taxes due on the property for the balance of the taxation period or year from and after the event enumerated in items (1), (2), (3), or (4) above shall be placed on the tax lists and tax rolls and collected as in the case of property omitted from taxation.

[i] HRS § 101-9.

[ii] HRS § 101-22.

[iii] HRS § 101-23.

[iv] HRS § 101-24.

[v] HRS § 101-26.