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Hawaii Landlord-Tenant Laws

Hawaii Landlord Tenant LawsThis article is intended to be an online resource for Hawaii landlords.  We summarize key Hawaii Landlord-Tenant laws that are most applicable to residential rental units.

This article is not qualified for legal advice.  Individuals seeking guidance need to work with a legal advisor who is qualified in the jurisdiction.  Hawaii Landlord Tenant Laws and statutes may vary from county to county or city to city, this article provides state-level laws and statutes. 

Also, laws and statutes are subject to change and may cause sections of this article to be outdated.  We provide links to assist landlords and tenants to the state statute page for further research.

Click here if you are seeking renters insurance in Hawaii.

 

Quick Facts for Real Estate Investors Considering Hawaii

Hawaii’s landlord-tenant laws are considered Landlord-friendly.

There are 1.4m  residents in Hawaii.  Major metropolitan markets in Hawaii are:

  1. Hawaii: Estimated population of 1,416,000, which 42% of residents are renter occupied.  The average rent is $1,573.

 

 

SECURITY DEPOSIT LAWS IN HAWAII

 

Does Hawaii require security deposits?

Hawaii does not require security deposits, however, if accepted then there are laws and regulations.

 

Is a security deposit receipt required in Hawaii?

No statute.

 

How much security deposit can a landlord charge in Hawaii?

Hawaii limits security deposits to no more than 1 month’s rent, plus any pet deposit.  (§521-44(b))

 

 

Storage Requirements for Security Deposits in Hawaii:

There is no requirement of how the landlord must store.  No statute.

 

 

Can security deposits be commingled with other assets in Hawaii?

Landlords can commingle deposits with their personal funds.

 

Do landlords have to pay interest on security deposits in Hawaii?

Landlords are not required to share the interest earned for deposits.  No statute.

  

 

 

When must a landlord return the deposit by in Hawaii?

Landlords must return the security deposits within 14 days after the termination of the lease and delivery of possession by the tenant. (§521-44(c))

 

When can a landlord in Hawaii withhold a security deposit?

At the end of a lease, the landlord is required to return the tenant’s security deposit.  However, landlords may withhold all or portions of a tenant’s security deposit for (§521-44):

  • Unpaid rent, utilities and/or fees
  • Damages beyond normal wear-and-tear
  • Cost to clean the unit back to the original condition
  • Failure to return keys
  • Compensation for wrongfully terminating the lease

 

 

 

Nonrefundable fees:

No Statute.  Landlords are allowed to charge non-refundable fees in Hawaii, however, there needs to be a clause in the lease agreement stating such.

 

Pet Deposits and Additional Fees:

Landlords may charge a pet deposit not to exceed 1 month’s rent.  (§521-44)

 

Require a written description / itemized list of damages and charges?

Landlords are required to provide a written and itemized list of damages that are r mailed.  Unless the terminate wrongfully terminates the lease.  (§521-44(c))

 

What happens to Hawaii landlords that fail to comply with returning the security deposit?

When landlords fail to comply with Hawaii state law, the tenant may recover the full deposit and court costs.  Any disagreements over deductions from the deposit may be settled in small claims court.  (§521-44(c)(g) and (h))

 

 

 

 

 

RENTAL AGREEMENT LAWS IN HAWAII

 

Rental agreements required in Hawaii:

Rental agreements are required for leases 12 months or longer.  We always recommend having a legal lease agreement to prevent future complications.

If you need a lease, Burbz offers an online Hawaii rental lease agreement.

 

What are the required lease provisions in Hawaii?

Hawaii requires certain provisions to be included in the lease agreement.  Besides both the landlord and tenant names, the landlord should also list:

  • MUST:  Landlords name, address, and phone number
  • MUST:  Managers name, address, and phone number
  • Description of the rental unit
  • Security deposit amount and terms
  • Rent Amount and Due Date.
  • Pet policies
  • Process for requesting maintenance and repairs
  • Security deposit amount and terms
  • Provision defining automatic renewal
  • Late Fees and Penalties
  • Length of the lease agreement
  • Tenants name, address, and phone number
  • Landlord’s responsibilities for maintenance and utilities
  • Tenant’s responsibilities for maintenance and utilities
  • Occupancy by children or pets
  • Required deposits and the conditions for their refund
  • Inspection rights by the landlord
  • Other fees
  • Address of rental property
  • Subleasing policy
  • Cleaning Fees

 

 

What are the rental agreement notice requirements in Hawaii:

Fixed-End or Year-to-Year: Fixed ended leases simply expire.

Month-to-Month: Landlords must provide at least 45 days written notice.  Meanwhile, tenants can provide 28 days written notice. (§521-71)  Read our guide on Month-to-Month rent.

Week-to-Week:  Either party must provide at least 10 days notice.  (§521-71(d))

 

Rent Increase Notice:

Landlords must provide at least 45 days written notice prior to the effective date of increased rent.  Any tenancies less than month-to-month only require 15 days.  (§521-21(d)(e))

 

 

Rent Grace Period for Residential:

Hawaii does not have any statute defining a grace period.  Therefore, it is assumed landlords can proceed with a late fee the day rent is considered due as well as send the 5 day notice to pay or quit.

 

 

Prepaid Rent:

Landlords cannot require any payment in excess of first month’s rent and deposits (security and pet).  No part of the security deposit may be used for the last monthly payment unless terms are stated in the lease agreement and the tenant provides at least 45 days notice for terminating the lease.  (§521-44(b)(2) and (e))

 

 

 

 

 

 

LATE FEES AND LIMITS IN HAWAII

Late Fees for Residential:

Hawaii landlords can charge a late fee but it should be stated in the lease agreement.  There is no limit to the late fee.

 

 

 

 

HAWAII LEASE TERMINATIONS / NOTICES TO QUIT

 

In Hawaii, lease agreements between landlords and tenants can be terminated.  Read our blog for landlords about handling early lease terminations.  Here are the cause and effects:

 

What is the Pay or Quit for Nonpayment requirement in Hawaii?

Hawaii landlords must provide a 5 day notice informing the tenant to pay all due rent or move-out. (§521-68)

 

 

How many days must a landlord allow before terminating for a Lease Violation?

Hawaii landlords must provide a 10 day notice informing the tenant to correct all breaches of the lease agreement or move-out.  (§521-72)

 

 

Any actions that result in an immediate lease termination?

Tenants have two opportunities to terminate the lease agreement within the first week of occupancy, if:

  • Landlord fails to conform to the rental agreement and/or fails to supply a habitable rental unit  (521-42(a))
  • Landlord does not correct any noncompliance issues that were agreed to, written or oral promise.  (§521-62)

 

 

 

 

HAWAII LAWS ON REPAIRS

 

Hawaii requires landlords to provide a habitable property for tenants to live and enjoy.  There are specific provisions defining how tenants can remedy repairs if the landlord fails to do so. 

How many days must the tenant give for non-emergency repairs? 

Tenants need to provide a 5 day notice for repairs.  (§521-64)

 

Can tenants withhold rent for landlords’ failure to provide essential services (i.e. water, heat, etc.)?

Hawaii allows the tenant the following remedies to handle repairs if the landlord fails (§521-64):

  • Repair the issues and deduct from rent if less than $500 in repairs

 

 

HAWAII LANDLORD LAWS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

 

Landlords have an obligation to the tenants, which include (§521-42):

  • Remain in compliance with all applicable building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety
  • Maintain electrical systems, plumbing, heating, and hot and cold water
  • Keep all common areas of the property in a clean and safe condition
  • Make all repairs and arrangements necessary to put and keep the premises in a habitable condition
  • If multi-unit, provide and maintain appropriate receptacles for the removal of normal amounts of rubbish and garbage, and arrange for the frequent removal of such waste materials
  • If multi-unit, provide for the supplying of running water as reasonably required by tenants

 

 

 

HAWAII TENANT LAWS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

 

Generally, tenants must dispose of all rubbish and garbage, refrain from unreasonable use of electrical, heating, and plumbing fixtures, meet all obligations lawfully by the code enforcement agency, refrain from willfully destroying or damaging the structure, take in additional occupants, rent or sublease without the owner’s consent.  (§521-51)

 

 

 

 

 

HAWAII EVICTION LAWS

 

Can landlords do a ‘self help’ eviction?

Landlords cannot perform ‘self help’ evictions.  The tenant may recover possession of the rental unit or terminate the agreement, as well as recover an amount equal to two months’ rent or free occupancy for two months, plus the cost of suit and reasonable attorney’s fees.  (§521-63(c))

Are landlords allowed to lockout tenants by changing locks?

Landlords cannot lock the tenant out of the property without court orders.  (§521-63(c))

 

Are landlords allowed to turn off utilities?

Landlords cannot turn off or alter the utilities of the property to force a tenant to leave.  (§521-63(c))

 

 

 

Do landlords have to make a reasonable attempt to mitigate damages when re-renting the rental unit?

Yes.  Landlords must mitigate damages from wrongful termination or abandonment.  Tenants are responsible for the entire rent due for the remainder of the leasing terms or all rent accrued during the period it takes to re-rent the unit.  (§521-70(d))

 

 

 

HAWAII LAWS ON RETALIATION

 

Hawaii laws state a landlord cannot terminate a lease, refuse a lease renewal or raise rents when:

  • Exercises or attempts to exercise in good faith against a landlord a right or remedy
  • Tenant has provided a notice to repair and/or exercise their right to remedy
  • Tenant has complained to the government agency for code violations

 

The state of Hawaii does not define a duration period after any of these events that would be characterized as retaliation.  Generally, other states define a 6 to 12 month window.  (§521-74)

 

 

 

 

LAWS ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, SEXUAL MISCONDUCT, AND SEXUAL ASSAULT

Hawaii states a landlord cannot discriminate against victims of domestic or sexual violence.  Landlords are required to change locks if requested within 7 days. 

Victims are allowed to terminate their lease agreements with 14 day notice with proof of imminent threat in the form of medical, court, or police evidence.  The event must have occurred within the last 90 days of providing notice.  More info here.

If you are a victim, please search The Hawaii Coalition Against Domestic Violence  site for a helpline:

  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
  • National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673

 

 

 

HAWAII LAWS FOR LOCKS AND LANDLORDS

Hawaii does not have any statewide laws regarding locks for landlords.  The tenant cannot remove, replace, or add a lock without the written permission from the landlord.  If the tenant does with permission, they must provide the landlord with a key. 

 

 

 

 

HAWAII PET LAWS & PET POLICIES

Hawaii Landlord-Tenant Laws does have any specific pet laws.  The lease agreement should state whether pets are allowed and any type of pet deposit that will be charged.  Landlords cannot charge more than 1 month’s rent amount for pet deposit.  Service animals are protected and therefore cannot be charged a pet deposit.

Landlords are legally allowed to create their own pet policies and requirements.  Including tolerance for breeds, size, types, and more. 

Read our guide to pet policies.

 

 

 

 

 

DO LANDLORDS IN HAWAII NEED A RENTAL LICENSE?

 

Hawaii does not require landlords to have a business or rental license.  Local cities may have different requirements, we recommend you research the local city-specific laws.

 

 

 

 

 

NOTICE OF ENTRY LAWS IN HAWAII

Do landlords in Hawaii have to provide notice of entry? 

Hawaii requires landlords to provide at least 2 days notice and can only enter during reasonable times.  (§521-53(b))

  • Non-emergency maintenance and repairs
  • Improvements to property
  • Inspections
  • Showing prospective tenants, contractors, mortgagees, or buyers.

 

When can a landlord enter without notice:

Landlords can enter during an emergency that may cause harm to a person or property, or if the property is abandoned.  During an extended absence, landlords can only enter if reasonably necessary for inspections, maintenance, safe-keep or anything permitted by  §521-53(a).  (§521-70(b))

 

 

Can landlords enter for non-emergency maintenance and repairs?

Yes.  Landlords must provide 2 days notice and only enter during reasonable hours.  (§521-53(a))

 

 

Can landlords enter for showings?

Yes.  Landlords must provide 2 days notice and only enter during reasonable hours.  (§521-53(a))

 

 

 

Can landlords enter for emergencies without notice?

Yes.  (§521-53(b))

 

 

Can landlords enter during Tenant’s extended absence?

Yes. Landlords should include a clause in the lease agreement requiring the tenant to provide notification for any anticipated extended absences.   (§521-54)

 

 

Can landlords enter for pesticides?

No Statute.

 

 

 

 

 

HAWAII SUBLEASE AND ASSIGNMENT PROVISIONS

Landlords should include a clause in the lease agreement to prevent subleasing.  Otherwise, the tenant may sublet the rental unit.

 

 

 

 

TENANT ABANDONED PROPERTY IN HAWAII

 

Hawaii Landlord Tenant Laws state the landlord must make reasonable efforts to notify the tenants of their abandoned belongs that will be sold or donated after 15 days.  If the tenant does not claim the property, the landlord may sell the property after advertising the sale in the newspaper for 3 consecutive days.

Landlords are allowed to deduct accrued rent, cost of storage, sale and advertising from the proceeds.  Any proceeds shall be held in a trust for 30 days, which the tenant forfeits to the landlord if they do not claim.  (§521-56)

 

 

 

 

REQUIRED RENTAL AGREEMENT DISCLOSURES FOR HAWAII LEASES

 

Hawaii Landlord-Tenant Laws requires the following be included with all Rental Agreement Disclosures:

 

Lead Paint Disclosure:  Yes.  Federal law requires every landlord to disclose known information on lead-based paint and hazards.  Landlords must provide this EPA-approved pamphlet.

Condominium Conversion:  Landlords must notice tenants at least 120 days before any intention to terminate the rental agreement if they intend to convert the rental unit into a condo.

 

 

HELPFUL RESOURCES

Hawaii Rev. Stat. §521-1 – §521-78 – Residential Landlord-Tenant Code

Hawaii Rev. Stat. §666-1 – §666-21 – Landlord and Tenant

Hawaii State Judiciary: Landlord-Tenant claims

Hawaii Public Housing Authority

Landlord-Tenant Handbook

 

 

HAWAII RELATED COURT INFO & LINKS

 

Hawaii Small Claims Court Limits:

$5,000 is the limit for small claims court.  (§633-27)

 

Hawaii Eviction Cases Allowed in Small Claims:

No.  All eviction cases are heard in the district courts.  (§633-27)

Hawaii Small Claims Courts

Hawaii District Courts

Hawaii Attorney General

Hawaii State Bar Association

Hawaii State Judiciary

 

 

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