HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TWENTY-NINTH LEGISLATURE, 2017
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
relating to property.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The legislature finds that the current statutory exemptions from attachment or execution of real and personal property need to be updated to create a safety net of assets for Hawaii families who are struggling to earn a living under heavy debt obligations. These families include workers who live from paycheck to paycheck and have incurred debt due to an unexpected event such as a job layoff, accident, or illness. This Act takes into account the need to allow temporarily unemployed workers and their families, who possess a minimal amount of assets and do not want to be on government benefits indefinitely, to retain their assets and support themselves in times of personal economic crisis.
The legislature further finds that the 2013 National Consumer Law Center Studies on States Allowing Debt Collectors to Push Families Into Poverty has rated Hawaii with a "D" in protecting households from poverty.
The current law regarding asset protection for real property found in section 651-92, Hawaii Revised Statutes, has not been updated since 1978. According to the U.S. Census, the median price for a house or condominium in Hawaii in 1978 was $233,800, compared to the current median price of $750,000. Additionally, the current law regarding asset protection for personal property found in section 651-121, Hawaii Revised Statutes, has not been updated since 1999 and does not include protections for income for child or spousal support.
SECTION 2. Section 651-92, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
"§651-92 Real property exempt.
Real property shall be exempt from attachment or execution as follows: (1)] An interest in one parcel of real property
in the State of Hawaii, [ of a fair market value not exceeding $30,000, the
defendant who is either the head of a family or an individual sixty-five years
of age or older.] including properties under the department of Hawaiian
home lands, of a fair market value not exceeding $275,000, that is owned by the
defendant, shall be exempt from attachment or execution.
(2) An interest in one parcel of real
property in the State of Hawaii, of a fair market value not exceeding $20,000,
owned by the defendant who is a person.]
The fair market value of the interest exempted [
paragraph (1) or (2)] shall be determined by appraisal and shall be an
interest [ which] that is over and above all liens and
encumbrances on the real property recorded prior to the lien under which
attachment or execution is to be made. Not more than one exemption shall be
claimed on any one parcel of real property even though more than one [ person]
individual residing on such real property may otherwise be entitled to
Any claim of exemption under this section made
May 27, 1976,] July 1, 2017, shall be deemed to be
amended on [ May 27, 1976,] July 1, 2017, by [ increasing] amending
the exemption to the amount permitted by this section on [ May 27, 1976,]
July 1, 2017, to the extent that [ such increase] the amendment
does not impair or defeat the right of any creditor who has executed upon the
real property prior to [ May 27, 1976.] July 1, 2017.
(b) No exemption authorized under this section shall apply to process arising from:
(1) A lien as provided by section 507-42;
(2) A lien or security interest created by a mortgage, security agreement, or other security instrument;
(3) A tax lien in the name of the federal or state government;
(4) An improvement district lien of any county of the State; or
(5) A lien or encumbrance recorded against the real property prior to the acquisition of interest in and commencement of residence on such real property.
(c) The exemption from attachment or execution provided in this section shall not apply to a debtor who is delinquent in payment of income taxes, real property taxes, or a mortgage, as applicable."
SECTION 3. Section 651-121, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
"§651-121 Certain personal property and insurance thereon, exempt. The following described personal property of an individual up to the value set forth shall be exempt from attachment and execution as follows:
(1) All necessary household furnishings and
appliances, books and wearing apparel, ordinarily and reasonably necessary to,
and personally used by a debtor or the debtor's family residing with the
debtor; and, in addition thereto, jewelry, watches, and items of personal
adornment up to an aggregate cash value not exceeding [
fair market value of such items as adjusted by the most recent consumer price
(2) One motor vehicle up to [
a] the fair
market value of [ $2,575] $15,000 over and above all liens and
encumbrances on the motor vehicle; provided that the value of the motor vehicle
shall be measured by established wholesale used car prices customarily found in
guides used by Hawaii motor vehicle dealers; or, if not listed in such guides,
fair wholesale market value, with necessary adjustment for condition;
(3) Any combination of the following: tools, implements, instruments, uniforms, furnishings, books, equipment, one commercial fishing boat and nets, one motor vehicle, and other personal property ordinarily and reasonably necessary to and personally owned and used by the debtor in the exercise of the debtor's trade, business, calling, or profession by which the debtor earns the debtor's livelihood;
(4) One parcel of land, not exceeding two hundred fifty square feet in size, niche or interment space owned, used, or occupied by any person, or by any person jointly with any other person or persons, in any graveyard, cemetery, or other place for the sole purpose of burying the dead, together with the railing or fencing enclosing the same, and all gravestones, tombstones, monuments, and other appropriate improvements thereon erected;
(5) The proceeds of insurance on, and the proceeds of
the sale of, the property in this section mentioned, for the period of six
months from the date the proceeds are received;[
(6) The wages, salaries, commissions, and all other
compensation for personal services due to the debtor for services rendered
during the thirty-one days before the date of the proceeding[
(7) The equivalent of one month of child support, as defined in section 576D-1, and one month of spousal support, as defined in section 580-47, in the possession of a debtor who is the recipient of the support payment. The exemption shall apply to the combined total amount of child support and spousal support even if that amount is comingled with funds from other sources in a financial account."
SECTION 4. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 5. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2017.
Attachment or Execution of Property; Exemptions
Increases the amount of the exemption from attachment or execution of (1) real property that is owned by any individual who is not delinquent on income taxes, real property taxes, or mortgages; and (2) a motor vehicle. Exempts one month of child support and spousal support from attachment or execution.
The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.