Repairs to a Unit

Posted on Apr 1, 2013 in Landlord Tenant Information, OCP

[OCP]

By law, the landlord is obligated to make repairs due to normal wear and tear or perform any maintenance required, as time goes by. In all repair cases, the landlord has a good faith requirement to start the repairs as soon as possible. However, Hawaii law also states that the tenant is responsible to repair any problem caused by his or her misuse.

If emergency repairs are needed to maintain sanitary and habitable conditions, including the repair of major appliances and necessary facilities, the landlord must start repairs within three business days from the time of notification. If, for reasons beyond the landlord’s control, repairs cannot begin within three business days, the landlord must inform the tenant of the reasons for the delay and give an expected date on which repairs will begin.

If non-emergency repairs are needed, the tenant should notify the landlord in writing. The landlord should start repairs within twelve business days after receiving the written notice. If, for reasons beyond the landlord’s control, the repairs cannot begin within twelve business days, the landlord should notify the tenant of the reasons for the delay and give an expected date on which repairs will begin.

If the landlord cannot uphold the second date of starting emergency and non-emergency repairs, the tenant can do the repairs him or herself or hire a competent worker and, in either case, deduct up to $500 from the next month’s rent for the cost of repairs. The tenant must provide the landlord with copies of all repair receipts.

The tenant exercises his or her right to put the landlord on notice to make a repair, the tenant is also required to list every defective condition that the tenant knows or should know of. If the tenant fails to list a defective condition, the tenant must wait six months to use the notification procedures again. However, this six-month limitation does not affect conditions that arise after the notice was given to the landlord.

If the landlord has been cited with a violation by the Building or Health Department, the landlord must start repairs within five business days after receiving the written citation. If, for reasons beyond the landlord’s control, the repairs cannot be started within five business days, the landlord should notify the tenant of the reasons for the delay and give an expected date on which repairs will begin.

If the landlord cannot uphold the second date, the tenant can perform the repairs and deduct up to $500 from the next month’s rent. Otherwise, the tenant can get two estimates of companies who can correct the building or health code violation, and submit the estimates to the landlord. The landlord has the option to substitute workers and materials. If the landlord does not make a substitution of workers or materials, the tenant must hire the worker with the lower estimate and deduct up to $500 or one month’s rent from the amounts owed to the landlord, whichever is greater. The tenant must provide copies of repair receipts to the landlord.