Punctual Leadership Blog

hawaii property title
24 Sep
Title and Real Property

Trouble in Paradise? Hawaii Property Title Backlog Leaves Government Inundated

by Punctual Abstract


We’ve written before about a Hawaii property title issue — the ownership conundrum created when volcanoes create new land. This one, sadly, is a little less fun.

The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources is buried in a backlog of 180,000 property title certificates. In 2006, the department was experiencing a one-year delay. By 2012, it had grown to three years. Now, it’s six.

This state of affairs is in no way unique to Hawaii. Property title backlogs are a feature of state and federal governments across the globe. In Hawaii, as elsewhere, the backlog does not delay the sale or transfer of property. But it does deprive property owners of peace of mind and inconvenience workers at the Bureau of Conveyances.

So how does the Aloha State plan to tackle the problem?

Technology and cold hard cash. West Central Indexing, a hybrid software and title plant company, has received a $1.3 million contract to install a modern records management system that will be operational by October 2020.

The system uses optical character recognition to “provide faster and more accurate inputs as well as more work-flow flexibility to help prevent errors,” according to Hawaii Bureau of Conveyances Registrar Les Kobata.

Hawaii is also planning on modernizing how it governs real estate ownership. Currently, Hawaii’s Land Court System relies on its staff to validate every document with time-consuming research before issuing a title certificate.

Want to learn more about the intricacies of real property law in Hawaii? Check out our White Paper: 51 Rare but Important Real Property Laws & Practices in 51 Jurisdictions

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