Hawaii Land Reform Act of 1967

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The Hawaii Land Reform Act of 1967 made it possible for lessees to buy the fee interest to their leased land.

In a Honolulu Advertiser article dated July 2, 2006, Mike Gordon reported on the 1967 land reform act:

While the state and federal government owned almost 49 percent of Hawai'i, another 47 percent belonged to only 72 private landowners. On O'ahu, the most urbanized of the islands, 22 landowners owned 72.5 percent of the fee-simple titles.
The Legislature decided to force landowners to break up their holdings, and the result was the Hawai'i Land Reform Act of 1967. The hope was to reduce home prices in the process.
The law made it possible for lessees to buy the fee interest to their land. The state now had the authority, in some cases, to condemn private residential land and sell it to the people who had leased it.
More than 14,600 families were able to buy the land under their single-family homes.


The law was challenged in 1979 by the Kamehameha Schools, which used money from the leases to finance school operations.
In 1983, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declared the law unconstitutional, but when the case went before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1984, it ruled in favor of the state. [1]

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