State agency offers apartment buildings to private investors

A Hawaii agency has decided to lease six of its apartment properties to a private investor, prompting affordable-housing advocates to worry that the state’s shortage of space for low-income families could become worse.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported ( ) Wednesday that the properties include a total of 1,221 rental units on Oahu, Maui and Hawaii island, which are currently occupied by hundreds of low-income tenants who rely on rent subsidies.

The six projects were developed in the early 1990s to cater to moderate-income families.

Officials say in an effort to minimize displacement, the agency will impose affordability requirements on any new owner, capping annual rent increases at 2 percent for the first five years for current tenants. But after that, rent could increase up to the maximum income caps for five of the six properties.

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