Landlord-Tenant FAQs

The Office of Consumer Protection has created FAQs pertaining to how these provisions impact their legal relationship. The guidance provided is current as of June 30, 2021, and may be subject to change per actions taken at the state and/or federal level.

Landlord Tenant FAQs 

How does the eviction process work as of August 7, 2021?
Beginning August 7, 2021, a landlord must provide a more thorough notice of non-payment of rent to the tenant prior to filing for eviction than was required under the prior statute, which required a 5-day notice for non-payment. The amended statute, HRS §521-68, requires notice must be given to you at least 15-calendar days before a landlord can file for an eviction with the court. The 15-calendar day notice must also be provided to the applicable mediation center for your county. The notice must include:

  1. Name and all contact information of the landlord
  2. Address of the residential rental property
  3. Name and contact information of all tenants, if possible
  4. Monthly rental rate
  5. Current outstanding balance of rent due, minus any payments made or rental assistance received
  6. A statement that the landlord has applied for rental assistance or has been contacted by an agency providing rental assistance
  7. A statement that rental assistance has been credited to the tenant’s amount due
  8. A statement that a copy of the notice is being provided to the relevant mediation center so that the mediation center may contact the tenant to schedule a mediation regarding the nonpayment of rent [include contact information for the applicable mediation center]
  9. A statement that the mediation center will provide proof to the landlord that the eviction notice was received by the mediation center and a confirmation of any scheduled mediation
  10. A statement that the landlord can file the eviction in court after 15 calendar days if the mediation is not scheduled during the 15-day period, whether or not mediation is scheduling during or after the 15 calendar days
  11. A warning, in bold, stating that if mediation is timely scheduled with the tenant during the 15-day period (even if the actual mediation cannot occur until later), then the landlord has to wait 30 calendar days to file an eviction action if mediation was timely scheduled. The notice will include that the landlord must note the status of the mediation and proof of providing the notice when a case is filed in court. If notice is mailed, the 15 days starts 2-days after postmark; if
  12. A statement that the eviction may be subject to other state or federal law restrictions or requirements and that the tenant is encouraged to seek their own legal advice
  13. A statement that if mediation is scheduled, the landlord must engage in the mediation
How soon can a landlord start the eviction process?
Evictions will be phased in depending on how behind you are on rent.  For example, if you are 4 months or more behind in rent, your landlord may begin the eviction process immediately after the moratorium ends. For those one month behind in rent, the eviction cannot be filed until January 6, 2022.

4+ months behind on rent: Eviction may be filed August 7, 2021 to September 5, 2021
3 months behind on rent: Eviction may be filed September 6 to November 5, 2021
2 months behind on rent: Eviction may be filed November 6, 2021 to January 5, 2022
1 month behind on rent: Eviction may be filed January 6 to August 6, 2022

Do I still have to pay my rent?
Yes. You are still legally obligated to pay your rent.
What if I can’t pay my rent?
You should inform your Landlord if you are unable to pay your rent and explain why. Renters are advised to contact their landlords as soon as they can to talk through delayed or partial payment options. Any new agreement or understanding should be documented in writing, such as, in a letter or in an email. This should include how much the modified rent will be, how long that change in rent will last, and whether you will be expected to pay back any deferred payments.
Are there rental and utility assistance programs I can sign up for?
Yes.  Rental assistance provides up to 12 months of rent to those less than 80% of Area Median Income (AMI) with priority to those less than 50% of AMI or unemployed and who are at risk of homelessness. Payment goes directly to the landlord and landlords can also apply with consent of tenant.  For more rental assistance information, please go to:

Oahu: www.oneoahu.org/renthelp
Hawai‘i County: www.HawaiiCountyERAP.org
Kauai County: https://kauairenthelp.com/
Maui County: https://www.mauicounty.gov/2438/Maui-County-Emergency-Rental-Assistance
Department of Hawaiian Homelands (DHHL) Emergency Rental Assistance Program: www.hawaiiancouncil.org/dhhl. Must be on DHHL waitlist or have an undivided interest and meet federal program requirements.

Is any assistance available to help Landlords and Tenants reach an agreement or understanding on the rental agreement?
Yes. To help Landlords and Tenants negotiate realistic payment plans and maintain a positive working relationship, the Mediation Center of the Pacific, Inc. (MCP) has created a Rapid Response Mediation Program. Through videoconference, telephone or a secure online platform, landlords and tenants can work with an impartial mediator who will help them discuss a variety of options, such as, payment plans, temporary rent reduction, deferred payments, and other creative solutions. More information about the program is accessible through MCP’s flyer.  Mediation centers are located on Maui, Kauai, Oahu, and Hawaii Island. For more information, contact the mediation center most convenient to you.

Oahu: Mediation Center of the Pacific at 808-521-6767
East Hawai‘i: Ku‘ikahi Mediation Center at 808-935-9844
West Hawai‘i: West Hawai‘i Mediation Center at 808-885-5525
Maui County: Maui Mediation Services at (808) 244-5744
Kauai: Kauai Economic Opportunity, Inc. Mediation Program at (808) 245-4077 x229 or x237

Can the Landlord evict me if I don’t pay my rent?
Governor Ige’s Twenty-first Proclamation limits the ability of landlords to evict tenants based on the non-payment of rent. Evictions will be phased in according to how far behind you are on rent.

Pursuant to the Proclamation, a landlord may not terminate any tenancy for a residential dwelling unit for a breach of a material term of a rental agreement or lease, resulting from a failure to pay all or any portion of the rent, maintenance fees, utility charges, taxes or other fees required.

The Proclamation also specifically suspends the law governing summary possessions contained in Chapter 666 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes. In particular, it prohibits a landlord from commencing, continuing, or prosecuting an action, to terminate any tenancy for a residential dwelling unit, for failure to pay all or any portion of the rent, maintenance fees, utility charges, taxes or other fees required for the residential dwelling unit.

The Hawaii Judiciary also has issued several orders that impact the ability of Landlords and their agents to use legal process to evict a Tenant, including those relating to matters for the non-payment of rent.

I have already been served with an eviction notice; can I be evicted?
Yes. There is currently no moratorium on eviction.
What if I have a Tenant who is dangerous, or is engaging in illegal activity?
If you believe a crime has been committed, please contact the police.

If a tenant has caused physical harm, bodily injury, or assault; has made threats of physical harm, bodily injury, or assault; or engaged in harassment as defined by law, a landlord may go to court to seek relief, including petitioning the court for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the tenant.

What if I have a Landlord who is dangerous, or is engaging in illegal activity?
If you believe a crime has been committed, please contact the police.

If a landlord has caused physical harm, bodily injury, or assault; has made threats of physical harm, bodily injury, or assault; or engaged in harassment as defined by law, a tenant may go to court to seek relief, including petitioning the court for a TRO against the landlord.

What if I have a Landlord who has locked me out or shut off my utilities?
If a landlord has illegally locked a tenant out of a residence or illegally shut off utilities, a tenant may go to court to seek relief, including petitioning the court for a TRO.
How do I go to court to try to get a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)?
Petitions for Temporary Restraining Orders may be filed at the State District Court Courthouse.
Please see the following link for information related to the district court in your jurisdiction:
https://cca.hawaii.gov/ocp/files/2020/03/Courthouses-Info-3.30.2020.pdf
What if my rental is subject to a federal housing program?
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will extend moratoriums on single-family foreclosures and real estate owned (REO) evictions until at least September 30, 2021. The foreclosure moratorium applies to the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac backed single-family mortgages only. The REO eviction moratorium applies to properties acquired by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac through foreclosure or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure transactions.

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) also announced another extension of its eviction moratorium in response to economic hardships from COVID-19; the eviction moratorium now extends through September 30, 2021 for foreclosed homeowners and their occupants with FHA-insured single-family mortgages. Note that the foreclosure moratorium expired on July 31, 2021.

Renters seeking information on whether they are covered by the moratorium should contact Legal Aid Society of Hawaii or a HUD approved housing counselor. You can find the nearest housing counselor here https://www.consumerfinance.gov/find-a-housing-counselor/ or by calling (800) 569-4287.

More information on lookup tools for renters interested in checking if a property is financed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac is available through the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Where can I find more information about Hawaii’s Landlord Tenant code?
More information is available at https://cca.hawaii.gov/ocp/hrs-chapter-521/.
Who can I contact if I have questions about the Landlord Tenant Code?
The public can call the Office of Consumer Protection’s Landlord-Tenant Information Center at 808-586-2634. The line is open from 8:00 a.m. – noon, Monday through Friday, except State holidays.
Are there other agencies or resources available to assist the public?
The Legal Aid Society of Hawaii is readily available to help with questions on this issue. They also have compiled a range of resources on various important topics at https://www.legalaidhawaii.org/housing-covid-19.html.

Legal Aid Society of Hawaii can also be contacted at 808-536-4302 or 1-800-499-4302 (neighbor islands).

The Department of Human Services shared information on its website about the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and other COVID-19 financial assistance available to help Hawaii’s utility customers.  Please visit https://humanservices.hawaii.gov/bessd/liheap/.

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