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by Ashley Whitehead student writer


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 the tenant.

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 lease.

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.



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