When a tenant abandons his or her possessions in a dwelling unit, the landlord must make a determination of property that has value and property without value. The landlord must do this in good faith. For property without any value, Hawaii law allows the landlord to dispose of the property.
For property with value, the landlord can either store the abandoned items at the tenant’s expense, sell the items or donate the items to a charitable organization, except for those items which have title to them such as a car.
If the landlord chooses to sell or donate the abandoned items, the landlord must notify the tenant in writing and wait for fifteen days before the sale or donation. The landlord can send the letter to the tenant’s forwarding address, mailing address or last known address, which would be the address of the rental unit.
If the landlord wants to sell the abandoned items, the landlord has an additional requirement. The landlord must advertise the sale for three consecutive days in a daily paper of general circulation within the circuit that the premises is located. The landlord can use the sale proceeds for accrued rent and costs of storage and sale, including the cost of advertising. The balance must be held in trust for the tenant for thirty days. After thirty days, the proceeds are forfeited to the landlord.
Items that are not sold, may be disposed of by the landlord.