The Housing Agency’s Affordable Additional Rental Unit (ARU) Program implements a series of six ordinances enacted by the County Council and signed by Mayor Kawakami in December of 2019. The purpose of these ordinances is to promote the construction of ARUs and provide incentives to those building ARUs to offer those units for rent at affordable rental prices.
The first step for a homeowner who wishes to build an ARU is to confer with the Planning Department to determine if your property qualifies. If it does qualify, the Planning Department will provide the owner with an ARU Clearance Form. To learn more about this first step please contact Britini Ludington Braun at the Planning Department at 241-4079 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If your property qualifies for an ARU and you wish to participate in the Housing Agency’s Affordable ARU program, you will then need to complete and sign an Affidavit of Affordability pledging to rent the ARU at or below a rent affordable to someone earning 90% of the Kauai Median Income for at least five years. These rental limits are shown on the Affidavit of Affordability Form and are updated each year.
In exchange for this promise the Housing Agency will certify the planned ARU as affordable, which exempts the ARU construction project from an array of County fees including building permit fees, plan review fees, sewer capacity assessments, environmental impact fees, and zoning permit fees. The greatest benefit of the program in dollar terms, however, is that the ARU will receive a reduction in the Facility Reserve Charge (FRC) that would otherwise be charged by the Department of Water from $14,115 down to $4,940, and depending on the availability of funds the Housing Agency will pay the $4,940 FRC bill. When totaled, the savings available for an Affordable ARU certified under this program amount to almost $20,000.
Once the Affordable ARU is constructed and ready to rent, the owner must provide the Housing Agency with a copy of a rental or lease agreement to verify that the ARU is being rented at or below the required price. Providing a copy of the lease agreement to the Housing Agency begins the required five-year time period of affordability. The homeowner will then be required to provide a new or updated lease agreement each year during this five-year period. If the homeowner fails to meet the affordable rental promise they made when signing the Affidavit of Affordability, they will be required pay the amounts they received in savings under the program.
The full details of the program are laid out here: Rules & Regulations Governing the Certification of Affordable Additional Rental Units. If you have additional questions about the program, please email email@example.com or call (808) 241-4444.
To recap, if your property qualifies for an ARU, you may submit the Affidavit by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by placing the form in the Housing Agency’s secure drop box on the Rice Street side of the Pi`ikoi Building at the Civic Center, or by regular mail to:
Kauai County Housing Agency
Attn: Affordable Additional Rental Unit Program
4444 Rice Street, Suite 330
Lihue, Hawaii 96766