Monster Homes in Honolulu - FAQs

Blog Post Image

These FAQs are provided courtesy of State Representative Takashi Ohno

Monster Homes FAQs*

Q: How many people are allowed to live in a home together?
A: There are three different scenarios for people to legally live together:
• If the occupants are all related (either by blood, adoption, or marriage), there is no limit to the number of people that can live together in the home. In other words, if the members of a household are all family, an unlimited number of people may live there.
• If the occupants are unrelated, up to five individuals may live together in the home. So if the home is completely used as rental units (and the homeowner does not live there), no more than five total individuals may occupy the home.
• If the homeowner lives in the home with his or her family of related people, up to three additional unrelated individuals may live there. In this case, you may have the homeowner's family living in the main unit, but there cannot be any more than three individuals renting another unit at the home.

Q: How large is a house legally allowed to be?
A: Generally, a house cannot take up more than 50 percent of the entire lot.

Q: How many bedrooms and bathrooms are allowed in a home?
A: Surprisingly, homeowners may build as many bedrooms and bathrooms as they like in their home according to the City Ordinances. In other words, bedrooms and bathrooms are unregulated currently.

Q: Bedrooms and bathrooms are unregulated. So what is regulated when building homes?
A: The one type of room that is regulated is the kitchen. The law allows a single-family dwelling home to have only one kitchen.

Q: But these large homes must have more than one kitchen, right?
A: According to the law, to be considered a "kitchen," an area needs to have all of the following installed:
1. An appliance for heating or cooking food (e.g. a stove)
2. An appliance for washing utensils or preparing food (e.g. a sink)
3. An appliance for refrigeration of food
All three of these items need to be met before an inspector can enforce the law. If a home has a kitchenette with a sink and fridge, but no stove, the City does not consider it a kitchen.

Q: Parking is limited in our area. How many off-street parking spaces are homes required to have?
A: Homes require two off-street parking spaces. Additionally, one extra parking space is required for every 1,000 square feet when a dwelling is over 2,500 square feet.

Q: The people on my street have multiple cars and spaces to park them in their garage or driveway, but choose to park them on the street. Can we force them to use their off-street parking?
A: There is no law preventing drivers from parking their vehicles on the street, provided the cars are in legally allowed spaces.

If a car does not move for more than 24 hours and is on a public street, it is considered abandoned and can be cited or towed. To report abandoned vehicles, call 768-2530 or make a report online here.

Q: I think a nearby home is in violation of some of these rules. What can I do?
A: You may file a complaint with the DPP Residential Code Enforcement Branch at 768-8127. They will open an investigation and send the inspector to the house in question. Or, my office is happy to issue a report on your behalf and keep your identity anonymous.

*This information was provided as of February 2019.  City ordinances are subject to change.

Takashi Ohno
Hawaii State Representative
District 27 (Liliha, Puunui, Alewa Heights and Nuuanu)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 435
808-586-9415 |