Civilians at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam say big rent hikes may price them off-base

File photo of one of the entrances to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
File photo of one of the entrances to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.(AP Photo/Caleb Jones, File)
Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 9:44 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hickam Communities provides on-base housing to nearly 2,000 active duty military personnel at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. There are also more than 400 civilian residents, and some of them feel like they’re living their own version of being priced out of paradise.

Unlike active duty military members who get monthly allowances for housing, civilians -- such as reservists, retirees and Department of Defense workers -- pay rent. Some of them, who asked to remain anonymous, are shocked at the rising rates.

One sent in an email, saying, “Our rent increased $400 this past January and we were just notified it’s increasing another $500 this coming January.”

Another said, “A $600 increase from one month to the next is pretty high.”

Lendlease Communities, which handles rents on many military bases, is the landlord.

“I just think its unfortunate that Lendlease is acting like a predatory lender in increasing these rents so significantly when the state of Hawaii has a major housing crisis,” said state Rep. Sonny Ganaden.

Ganaden, whose district includes Hickam Village, said the big rent hikes match up with a recent 12% increase in the active duty housing allowance.

Lendlease said most of the rent hikes at Hickam are less than $500 a month, with 82% of them between $301 and $500. Seven percent increased more than $500.

Lendlease also said eleven civilians will see their rents rise more than $750, and five will have rents rise $1,000.

“I can sustain it right now, but if they do another -- which it looks like that’s kind of the trend right now -- then I’m not gonna be able to stay on base,” said one resident.

Lendlease didn’t say specifically why the rents are rising so much. But the company does cover the utility costs, which have increased 52% over the last three years, including a 73% jump in electricity costs.

Ganaden wants the military to take more action in controlling the rents, especially since some of the tenants also suffered through the Red Hill water crisis.

“In the future, if the Department of Defense wants to continue to partner with the state of Hawaii, they need to support our biggest issue, which is housing,” he said.