In our last issue, Kalamalama
reviewed tenants rights in Hawai‘i. But if you’re
renting an apartment or house you need to know and respect
your landlord’s rights.That’s right: landlords
have rights just like tenants.
According to The Handbook for Hawai‘i Residential Landlord-Tenant
Code, tenants must pay the rent on time and in the correct amount
agreed on. If the tenant doesn’t pay the rent on the due
date, the landlord can demand payment.
The landlord may notify the tenant that if payment isn’t made within five
business days, the lease will be terminated. If the tenant doesn’t pay
the past-due rent in full after receiving notice, the landlord may sue and evict
If something breaks or malfunctions in the apartment and the landlord is not
responsible for the maintenance, the landlord may notify the tenant of the problem
and specify a date by which it needs to be fixed. If the problem is not corrected,
the landlord may terminate the lease and evict the tenant, or the landlord may
correct the problem and bill the tenant.
When leaving a rental unit for a long period of time, tenants must notify the
landlord. If the landlord isn’t notified me tenant is responsible for any
damages to the unit while it is vacant. The landlord has the right to enter the
unit while the tenant is away for safekeeping, inspection, and maintenance. If
the tenant decided to abandon the unit for any reason without notifying the landlord,
the landlord may collect rent from the tenant for the rest of the term of the
If the tenant doesn’t follow the house rules of the apartment, the landlord
must give notice about the problem, and give the tenant no more than 10 days
to correct it. If the tenant doesn’t correct the problem, the landlord
may sue immediately to evict the tenant.
When a landlord wants to terminate a lease, the landlord must give the tenant
no less than 45 days before the anticipated termination date. The tenant may
vacate the property anytime within the last forty-five day period and is responsible
for payment up to the day he or she leaves the property. If the tenant wants
to stay in the unit, the tenant must discuss the issue with the landlord.
If a tenant leaves the property after the lease is over and there are damages
to the apartment, the landlord has a right to take the money out of the deposit
the tenant made at the beginning of the lease. The landlord must notify the tenant
in writing of the reason for any such deduction. For any costs such as cleaning
or repairs, the landlord must present receipts to the tenant. If the repairs
or cleaning cannot be done within 14 days, the deposit must be returned to the
tenant or the landlord must submit a written estimate.
If the landlord sells the property to someone else before the tenant’s
rental agreement, the new landlord, within 20 days, must give written notice
to the tenant of the amount credited as the security deposit. If the new landlord
doesn’t give such notice to the tenant, it will be assumed that the tenant
doesn’t have to pay any more than the original security deposit paid to
the old landlord.
For more information, call the Landlord-Tenant hotline at 586-2634. If you feel
your rights have been violated, call the Honolulu Office of Legal Aid at 536-4302.