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How to Verify a Professional's License in Honolulu?

Professionals in Honolulu are generally regulated at the state level by the Professional and Vocational Licensing Division of Hawaii's Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA). The division is responsible for the regulation and licensing of 52 different professions and vocations including therapists, electricians and plumbers, and public accountants. You can verify the validity of a state-issued license by checking it up on DCCA's Public License Search portal.

Also, note that in Honolulu, permits are required for projects that involve the construction, alteration, or improvement of a building or structure. These permits are usually issued by the Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting. It is advisable to contact the department to obtain the relevant permits for your project before commencing it. You can do so by sending a fax to (808) 768-6743 or via email.

Hawaii Contractor License Search:

Do Honolulu Neighborhood Councils
Issue Permits?

There are 33 neighborhood boards in Honolulu and these boards do not have the power to issue construction permits within their jurisdiction. Instead, the boards advocate for the development of their respective neighborhoods by recommending beneficial projects to the City Council, which is the city's main legislative body. These recommendations usually touch on a wide range of issues including construction, land use, and even city planning. For example, in 2019, Kaimuki Neighborhood Board No. 4 suggested the Ala Wai Canal Project, which is directed at reducing flooding within the city. This project involves the construction of detention basins in Mānoa and Palolo Valleys, Makiki, Kanewai Park, the Ala Wai Golf Course, Ala Wai Park (Hausten Ditch), as well as a reinforced solid concrete wall in certain segments surrounding portions of the Ala Wai Canal and Ala Wai Promenade. Similarly, the board also proposed the renovation of the Kaimuki Municipal Parking Lot #2 to ensure increased safety, welfare, and convenience for users of the park. Construction began on this in January 2021. You can locate the neighborhood board operating within your vicinity by searching the board boundary map. The city also provides an online list of street names and board areas that residents can use to search for their streets and the corresponding neighborhood board.

How Do You File an Unfair Business
Complaint in Honolulu?

If you are not satisfied with the goods or services provided by a professional or business in Honolulu, you can file a complaint with the Office of Consumer Protection of the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Service. For allegations of unlicensed contracting, you can either report online or by completing the Report of On-going Unlicensed Activity form and mailing it to:

  • Regulated Industries Complaints Office
  • Attention: Consumer Resource Center
  • 235 South Beretania Street
  • 9th Floor
  • Honolulu, HI 96813

You can file other kinds of complaints by completing the online Complaints Form or by filling out the relevant form related to the professional and mailing the completed form to the address mentioned above. The agency usually advises a self-help and dispute resolution procedure to help parties resolve their disputes before taking legal steps. If the parties are not able to find a common ground, the agency will then verify the complaint and work towards instituting disciplinary actions against the culpable professional or business. However, this action is usually not directed at helping you get back losses occasioned by the contractor but instead an action to protect public interest. As such you should also consider hiring a competent lawyer to institute a civil suit for compensation against the professional. The case would usually be brought before the Honolulu (formerly Oahu County) Small Claims Court which has jurisdiction over claims with disputed sums not exceeding $5,000. Similar claims can be brought before the Hawaii Regular Claims Court if it exceeds $5,000 but is not more than $40,000.

Note that complaints that include allegations of crime should also be filed by making a report with the Honolulu Police Department.