What is a CPR, who is responsible and how does it affect me? CPR stands for Condominium Property Regime and it is a way for developers, big and small, to subdivide land in Hawaii. Picture a standard Condominium project with multiple units, an association of owners, maintenance fees and the like. A CPR is the same thing except it applies to homes and/or land creating “units” within a lot. Initially it was designed to allow families who had large tracts of land which allowed for multiple dwellings, the ability to build, subdivide and gift or sell off those pieces to their children in order for the youngsters to own a home without having to go through strenuous hurdles of qualifying for a loan.
It was the ingenious idea of my grandfather, James Blackwell! My mom and dad say that he was always looking for ideas to help out “the little guy” and offer unique incentives to get people to build or buy homes on Kauai. He was of course the founder of Sleeping Giant Realty as well as the owner of Blackwell Builders, a general contractor and developer for multiple subdivisions around Kauai. It’s been stated by many that “He was a revolutionary, a forward thinker, generous, creative and clever.” As I travel around the island, I am always given compliments and told great stories about my grandfather and his unique contributions to Kauai. He started many of our current contractors, subcontractors and realtors on their way to their own businesses on Kauai! He was also known to hire “bums” off the street to work for him and give them a chance. He always saw the good in people and thought that believing in someone was critical to their success in life. Anyway, one of his creations was the CPR and he proposed the concept to the County of Kauai about 10 years prior to them adopting the idea because at the time, “they weren’t ready for it” and “it was too complicated an idea at the time” says a long time Kauai County employee.
The CPR is unique to Kauai. In fact, many mainland lenders don’t understand it and won’t finance these properties because they can’t differentiate them from actual condos. They don’t understand that it’s actually a type of ownership, and not brick and mortar. That’s unfortunate because by my calculations, 70% of our inventory has been CPR’d and they are the only ones losing out on the purchase. There are plenty of Hawaii-based lenders who will lend on them.
Some of the concerns associated with a CPR include having to get permission from other “unit” owners to apply for a building permit. Also, depending on the size of the lot, a septic system might have to be shared and if there are multiple common elements like driveways, walls, water features, etc., and you don’t get along with your neighbor… then there could be a problem if maintenance issues arise. Remember, this was intended to be used between family members living on the same lot so these weren’t issues initially. But CPR’s have evolved over time and now provide a way for everyone to use this approach for their own development purposes.
Other than that, most everything is the same as regular ownership—property taxes are assessed separately, mortgages, liens and insurance requirements are unique to each unit. Many of Kauai’s CPR properties are made up of only a few units (1 or 2), have no formal association and do not collect maintenance fees. If nothing else, it encourages getting along with one’s neighbors for the betterment of everyone’s quiet enjoyment of their own piece of CPR heaven.
Lucky we live Kauai!