top of page

    Now more than ever, the State of Hawaii is suffering an affordable housing crisis and rising homelessness. It will take a lot of collaboration and creative solutions to solve it.  One of those solutions is the development of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and ohana units, recently approved by Mayor Caldwell with the passing of Bill 20.  Hawaiian Community Development Board partnered with Hawaii Appleseed, and Hawaiian Community Assets to lobby the passage of this legislation which will now allow the building of ADUs and ohana units which can help address the unique housing needs of Oahu’s Native Hawaiian communities.


   What is an accessory dwelling unit (ADU)?

    An accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is defined as a second dwelling unit, including its own kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom facilities.  It may be attached or detached from the primary dwelling unit and can be up to 400 sq. ft. or 800 sq. ft. depending on the size of the residential lot.  Alternatively, it may also involve partitioning an existing residence by creating a separate upstairs or downstairs unit with its own entrance.  On homestead lots, only one is allowed and the homesteader is allowed to rent it out only to another native Hawaiian individual or family. An additional off street parking stall is required. A City building permit and approval by DHHL are required. 

   What is an ohana unit?

   An ohana unit is just like an ADU but is just for the homesteader’s family members. The building size of the ohana unit may be larger than an ADU, but is limited to 50% of the applicable zoning lot designation,  These are a great solution for multi-generational households.  As of September 2015, on Oahu, ohana units can now be attached or detached.

More information

   Check out for more details and a comprehensive homeowner's guide to developing ADUs and ohana units.

   Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed a bill allowing ADUs and detached ohana units, with certain limitations on the size and use of the units.

   Learn about the requirements to build an ADU by clicking here.

   Hawaii Appleseed wrote a comprehensive report on ADUs as a housing solution for Oahu. View the report by clicking here.


    ADU development on the homesteads will comply with rules set by the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.  §208(5) of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act allows a homesteader, with the approval of the department, to rent to a Native Hawaiian or Hawaiians, lodging either within the lessee's existing home or in a separate residential dwelling unit constructed on the premises.  DHHL's administrative rule §10-3-34 states the building requirements. DHHL is promulgating new rules awaiting the Governor's approval.

bottom of page