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Hawaii Landlord Tenant Law and Regulations

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Hawaii Landlord Tenant Law: FAQs

Let’s understand Hawaii landlord tenant law and regulations through the following –

Are written agreements required?

In Hawaii it is legal to have a written or oral lease agreement, but written lease agreements are very strongly encouraged by Hawaii courts.

Must a landlord provide a condition report to tenant?

Before starting a tenancy, a landlord must write a detailed report of the condition of the property. This report should be completely accurate explaining the state of the property, including a precise list of items or furnishings and the condition they are in.

Is the landlord required to disclose his/her address?

The landlord or agent must provide the tenant, in writing, their name and address to receive rent, notices and demands. The tenant must be notified of any change of the landlord or agent’s information.

Please Note: Failing to provide disclosure as specified above may result in a $100 fine to the Landlord.

How much notice must a landlord give before entering the rental?

A 48 hour minimum notice is required for entry, except in cases of an emergency.

What is the limit on the amount of security deposit a landlord may collect?

The security deposit may not surpass the amount of one months rent.

Is it legal for a landlord to charge a Pet Deposit?

Landlords may charge a pet deposit, separate from the security deposit. The pet deposit may be discussed between the landlord and tenant, but may be no more than one months rent. A landlord may NOT charge a deposit for a service animal.

What procedures are taken with the security deposit at the end of a lease?

The security deposit must be returned 14 days after termination of lease. If the landlord must keep any portion of the security deposit, he must give the tenant written notice of any deductions made and the balance as well as the notice must be provided to tenant within 14 days after lease termination.

The landlord must notify the tenant in writing regarding the reasons for retention of any portion of the security deposit, and must forward the entire security deposit or the balance after deductions to the tenant within 14 days after the termination of the lease.

Are there regulations on the amount I may charge for fees?

There are no stated limits placed on the amount that can be charged for either an application fee or a late fee. Returned payment fees may not exceed $30 and must be reasonably related to expenses the landlord incurs as a result of a returned payment or applicable to the actual charge received from the bank.

Are there policies or laws respecting rent control or stabilization in Hawaii?

The state of Hawaii currently does not have any rent control or stabilization practices established.

Is it mandatory for a landlord to issue a rent receipt?

It is required for a landlord to provide a tenant with a receipt of any rent paid.

How much notice is required to increase the rent?

Landlords must give a tenant at least 45 days notice when increasing the rent in a month to month tenancy. In a fixed term, the rent is set by the terms of the rental agreement. For leases with tenancies less than month-to-month (week to week), 15 days notice is required.

How much notice is needed to terminate the tenancy?

In a month to month agreement, the landlord must give at least 45 days written notice to end the tenancy. For a tenancy less than month-to-month, a landlord must give at least 10 days, oral or written, notice. If the rented premises has a presumed demolition, or is transforming into a condominium or vacation rental, the landlord must give at least 120 days written notice. No notice is required in a fixed term tenancy for the termination date is already stated in the lease.

Important: For a term of one year or less, tenants may terminate a rental agreement if tenant or family member residing at rented premises is a victim of domestic violence. Notice must be given at least 14 days before the date of early termination stated on the notice, it can be no more then 104 days from the previous domestic violence act. For more information and instructions visit Hawaii HB858.

My tenant has not paid rent, how much notice do I have to give in order to evict them?

If the landlord wishes to file an eviction, a 5 day notice to cure or vacate must either be given to the tenant or posted on the door of the premises. The day of posting does not count, nor does any day in which the court is not open such as holidays or weekends.

May I demand my tenants to acquire renter’s insurance?

Landlords may require tenants to obtain rental insurance, and can make the failure to do so a breach of the lease agreement.

How much notice does a landlord have to give a tenant to move out in Hawaii?

If the lease is for a month, the Hawaii landlord tenant law demands that the landlord provide the tenant written notice at least 45 days before the date they are expected to vacate. A tenant who wishes to terminate the lease must provide the landlord with written notice at least 28 days before moving out.

Can a landlord kick the tenant out in Hawaii?

If the landlord intends to evict the renter, they are required to provide you with 15 calendar days’ notice. A mediation center should get in touch with the renter during the 15 days to set up mediation. When the 15 calendar days are up, eviction procedures in court may begin if the tenant doesn’t arrange a mediation.

How long does a landlord have to make repairs in Hawaii?

As per Hawaii landlord tenant law, the landlord is responsible for keeping the rental unit in a livable condition. If the rental unit is not in livable condition, the tenant can send a written notice to the landlord outlining the issues and giving the landlord a reasonable amount of time to make the necessary repairs. The amount of time the landlord has to make repairs will depend on the nature and severity of the issue. If the issue is considered an emergency, such as a gas leak or no electricity, the landlord must make the repairs as soon as possible. For non-emergency repairs, the landlord generally has a reasonable amount of time(generally 14 days) to make the repairs. 

What are a landlord’s responsibilities to their tenants in Hawaii?

In Hawaii, landlords are responsible for providing and maintaining a safe and habitable rental unit for their tenants. This includes:

  • Keeping the rental unit in good repair, which includes all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems.
  • Keeping the common areas in a safe and clean condition.
  • Complying with all building and housing codes.
  • Making sure that the rental unit is free of any hazards, such as lead paint or mold.
  • Providing and maintaining all appliances and equipment that are included in the rental agreement, such as refrigerators and stoves.
  • Providing working smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in the rental unit.
  • Giving notice before entering the rental unit, except in case of emergency.
  • Return the security deposit to the tenant after moving out with an itemized statement of any deductions.
  • Not discriminating against tenants on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability.

What are a tenant’s rights and responsibilities in Hawaii?

According to Hawaii landlord tenant law, tenants have certain rights and responsibilities. Some of these include:

Tenant’s rights:

  • The right to a safe and habitable rental unit.
  • The right to privacy inside the rented property.
  • The right to have repairs made in a timely manner.
  • The right to receive proper notice before the landlord enters the rental unit.
  • The right to receive proper notice before the rent is increased.
  • The right to not be discriminated against based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability.
  • The right to a return of security deposit with an itemized statement of any deductions.

Tenant’s responsibilities:

  • Paying rent on time.
  • Maintaining the rental property’s cleanliness and condition.
  • Notifying the landlord of any necessary repairs.
  • Notifying the landlord of any change of address or phone number.
  • Complying with building and housing codes.
  • Not causing damage to the rental unit or common areas.
  • Not disturbing the peaceful enjoyment of other tenants in the building.
  • Notifying the landlord in writing of the intention to vacate the rental unit before the end of the lease.

How much notice does a landlord have to give a tenant before raising the rent in Hawaii?

In Hawaii, a landlord must give a tenant written notice before increasing the rent. The type of tenancy will determine how much notice is needed.

For month-to-month tenancy, the landlord must give the tenant 45 days’ written notice of a rent increase,

For a fixed-term lease, the landlord is not allowed to increase the rent during the term of the lease, unless the lease specifically states otherwise.

It’s important to note that rent control laws vary by city and county in Hawaii, and some areas may have stricter notice requirements. Additionally, Hawaii state law does not prevent landlords from increasing the rent as long as they provide proper notice and the increase is not discriminatory or retaliatory.

Can a tenant terminate a lease early in Hawaii?

In Hawaii, a tenant may have the right to terminate a lease early under certain circumstances. These include:

  • Active military duty: If a tenant is called to active military duty, they may terminate the lease with at least 30 days’ written notice to the landlord.
  • Uninhabitable rental unit: If the rental unit becomes uninhabitable due to circumstances beyond the tenant’s control, such as a natural disaster, the tenant may terminate the lease with written notice to the landlord.
  • Domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking: If a tenant or a tenant’s household member is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, the tenant may terminate the lease with written notice to the landlord.
  • Illegal activities: If the landlord, an agent of the landlord, or another tenant engages in illegal drug activity on the property, the tenant may terminate the lease with written notice to the landlord.

It’s crucial to remember that in order to break a lease, the tenant must provide the landlord written notice and could be held responsible for any unpaid rent up to the end of the lease period or until a new renter is found, whichever comes first. It is also important to check the lease agreement, as some agreements may have specific clauses that allow early termination under certain conditions.

How can a tenant terminate a lease early in Hawaii?

According to Hawaii landlord tenant law, a tenant may terminate a lease early under certain circumstances as mentioned in my previous answer. The tenant must provide written notice to the landlord, stating the reason for termination and the date on which the tenant plans to vacate the rental unit. The notice should be delivered to the landlord via mail, or hand-delivered and be accompanied by proof of delivery.

It’s important to note that upon receiving the notice of termination, the landlord may choose to either accept the terms or dispute them. If the landlord disputes the termination, the tenant must continue to pay rent and follow the terms of the lease until the dispute is resolved by the court.

What are the laws regarding security deposits in Hawaii?

In Hawaii, the laws regarding security deposits are governed by the Hawaii Residential Landlord-Tenant Code. Some of the key provisions regarding security deposits include:

  • Maximum amount: A landlord cannot charge more than one month’s rent as a security deposit for an unfurnished rental unit, or more than two months’ rent for a furnished rental unit.
  • Return of deposit: The landlord must return the security deposit to the tenant within 14 days after the tenant vacates the rental unit unless the landlord has made a claim against the deposit for damages or unpaid rent.
  • Interest on deposit: Law does not oblige landlords to pay interest on security deposits, but if the lease agreement specifies that interest will be paid on the deposit, it will be given to the tenant when the lease ends.
  • Itemized statement: The landlord is expected to provide the tenant with an itemised list of damages and the cost of repairs within 14 days after the tenant vacates the rental property if the landlord intends to make a claim against the security deposit.
  • Retention of deposit: The landlord can retain all or part of the deposit if the tenant caused damages to the rental unit or failed to pay rent.
  • Right to an inspection: The tenant has the right to request an inspection of the rental unit within a reasonable time before vacating, in order to identify any pre-existing damages.

Disclaimer: The information provided herein is intended as a general discussion of legal issues concerning landlord tenant law. Information provided is not legal advice or a legal opinion, and it is recommended that the reader seek independent counsel for any specific issue.

Additional Hawaii property management resources available here, and legal questions can be asked – and answered – on our Landlord-Tenant Forum.

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