This is a summary of Hawaii Landlord-Tenant laws that apply to residential (non-commercial) rentals. These references were compiled from the Hawaii Revised Statutes and various online sources to serve as a reference and for people wanting to learn about Hawaii landlord-tenant laws, Hawaii eviction laws, and Hawaii renters’ rights.
However, this guide is not comprehensive and PayRent does not warrant the accuracy of this information. Statutes can change any time the state legislature passes a new law. Additionally, counties and cities may have different regulations. Given its limitations, this guide is not an adequate substitute for legal advice from a knowledgeable lawyer. If you are dealing with a landlord-tenant issue, you seek guidance from a qualified attorney. If you need help finding an attorney, we’ve included a list of attorney referral services in this guide.
Rules and Regulations Governing Hawaii Landlord-Tenant Laws
- Haw. Rev. Stat. §§521-1 – 521-78 – Residential Landlord-Tenant Code
- Haw. Rev. Stat. §§666-1 – 666-21 – Landlord and Tenant
Hawaii Lease Terms Provisions
- What is the maximum allowable security deposit?
The security deposit cannot exceed one month’s rent. An additional deposit of up to one month’s rent is allowed for pets. (Haw. Rev. Stat. §521-44(b))
- Are security deposits required to earn interest?
No. There is no Hawaii law requiring security deposits to earn interest.
- Do landlords need to store security deposits in a separate bank account?
No. There is no Hawaii law requiring security deposits to be stored in a separate bank account.
- Are non-refundable fees, such as pet fees, prohibited?
No. There is no Hawaii law forbidding non-refundable fees or limiting the amount that landlords can charge.
- How long do landlords have to return security deposits?
14 days. A return of the security deposit shall be presumptively proven if mailed to tenant, at an address supplied to landlord by tenant, with acceptable proof of mailing and postmarked before midnight of the 14th day after the date of the rental agreement termination or if there is an acknowledgment by tenant of receipt within the 14-day limit. (Haw. Rev. Stat. §521-44(c))
- Can landlords withhold security deposits?
Yes. Landlords can use the deposit for the following purposes:
- Remedy tenant defaults for accidental or intentional damages resulting from failure to comply with the tenant’s duties, for failure to pay rent due, or for failure to return all keys.
- Clean the dwelling unit.
- Compensate for damages caused by a tenant who wrongfully quits the dwelling unit.
- Compensate for damages caused by pets
- Compensate the landlord for money owed by the tenant under the rental agreement for utility service provided by the landlord but not included in the rent. (Haw. Rev. Stat. §521-44(a))
- Are landlords required to itemize damages and fees deducted from security deposits?
Yes. Landlords must provide the tenant with written notice of the particulars of and grounds for the retention unless the tenant wrongfully quit the dwelling unit. Landlord must provide written evidence of such costs (estimates, receipts, invoices for materials, services, supplies, and equipment) (Haw. Rev. Stat. §521-44(c))
- Do landlords have to issue receipts upon receiving security deposits?
No. There is no Hawaii law requiring landlords to issue receipts for security deposits.
- Are there any specific requirements for record-keeping for deposit withholdings?
Yes, landlords must provide written evidence of the costs of remedying tenant defaults, including cleaning, such as:
- Estimates or invoices for material and services.
- Receipts for supplies and equipment.
- Charges for cleaning services. (Haw. Rev. Stat. §521-44(c))
- What happens when a landlord does not return a security deposit within the required timeframe?
The landlord loses the right to keep the security deposit or any part of it and must return the entire security deposit to the tenant. (Haw. Rev. Stat. §521-44(c))
- Is there a cap on how much landlords can charge for rent? (rent control)
No. There are no rent control laws in Hawaii.
- When is rent due?
Rent is due at the time and place agreed upon by the landlord and tenant. Unless they agree to a different arrangement, rent is due at the beginning of the month and will be paid in equal monthly installments. When the agreement with a public assistance recipient requires the rent to be paid on or before the third day after the day on which the public assistance check is usually received, tenant shall have the ability to establish a new due date by making a one-time payment to cover the period between the original due date and the newly established date. The new date shall not exceed by more than 3 days, excluding weekends and holidays, the date on which checks are mailed. The one-time payment shall be established by dividing the monthly rental by thirty and multiplying the result by the number of days between the original and the new due dates. (Haw. Rev. Stat. §521-21(b))
- Does rent need to be paid using a certain method of payment?
No. There is no Hawaii law requiring a certain payment method for rent.
- Can landlords charge late fees when rent is late?
Yes, but they cannot exceed 8% of the amount of rent due. (Haw. Rev. Stat. §521-21(f))
- Do landlords have to allow for a grace period for paying rent before charging late fees?
No. There is no Hawaii law requiring a grace period before assessing late fees.
- Can landlords charge application fees?
Yes. There is no Hawaii law forbidding application fees or limiting the amount that landlords can charge.
- Can landlords charge returned check fees?
Yes. There is no Hawaii law forbidding returned check fees or limiting the amount that landlords can charge.
Hawaii Landlord-Tenant Relations
- Are landlords required to provide tenants with notice of rent increases between terms?
Yes. For month-to-month tenancies, landlords must provide written notice 45 days before the date of the increase. For tenancies that are less than month-to-month, landlords must give 15 days’ notice. (Haw. Rev. Stat. §§521-21(d)-(e))
- Are landlords required to provide tenants with notice of pesticide use on the property?
No. There is no Hawaii law requiring landlords to provide tenants with notice of pesticide use on the rental property.
- What notice is required to terminate a fixed-end lease?
No notice is required — the lease ends on the date stated in the lease.
- What notice is required to terminate a week-to-week periodic lease?
Either the landlord or the tenant can terminate the lease with 10 days written notice. (Haw. Rev. Stat. §521-71(d))
- What notice is required to terminate a month-to-month periodic lease?
The landlord must provide 45 days’ written notice; whereas the tenant must provide 28 days’ written notice. (Haw. Rev. Stat. §§521-71(a)-(b))
- Is notice of the date and time of the move out inspection required?
There is no statute in Hawaii law covering this issue.
- When can landlords enter the rental premises with notice?
- To inspect the premises.
- To make necessary or agreed to repairs, decorations, alterations, or improvements.
- To supply services as agreed.
- To remove personal property belonging to the landlord that is not covered by a written rental agreement.
- To show the unit to prospective or actual purchasers, mortgagees, or tenants. (Haw. Rev. Stat. §521-53(a))
- What notice must a landlord give a tenant before entering the rental unit?
The landlord must provide at least 2 days’ notice and must enter only during reasonable hours. (Haw. Rev. Stat. §521-53(b))
- When can landlords enter the rental premises without providing notice to their tenants?
- In case of an emergency.
- Under court order.
- When it appears that the tenant has abandoned the premises. (Haw. Rev. Stat. §521-53(c))
Landlord’s Duties (Haw. Rev. Stat. §521-42)
- Landlord must, at the beginning of the agreed term, deliver possession of the dwelling unit to tenant in the agreed condition unless otherwise agreed (Haw. Rev. Stat. §521-41).
- Landlords must comply with applicable building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety.
- Landlords must keep all common areas of the premises in a clean and safe condition.
- Landlords must make all repairs and arrangements necessary to put and keep the premises in a habitable condition.
- Landlords must maintain in good working order all electrical, plumbing, and other facilities and appliances supplied by the landlord.
- Except in the case of a single-family residence, landlords must provide and maintain appropriate receptacles and conveniences for the removal of normal amount of rubbish and garbage and arrange for their frequent removal.
- Except in the case of a single-family residence, or where the building is not required by law to be equipped for the purpose, landlords must supply running water as reasonably required by the tenant.
- Prior to the initial date of initial occupancy, landlord shall inventory the premises and make a written record detailing the condition of the premises and any furnishings or appliances provided. Duplicate copies of this inventory shall be signed by both landlord and tenant and a copy given to each tenant. (Haw. Rev. Stat. §521-42)
Tenant’s Duties (Haw. Rev. Stat. §521-51)
- Tenants must comply with all building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety.
- Tenants must keep that part of the premises that the tenant occupies and uses as clean and safe as the condition of the premises permits.
- Tenants must dispose of all rubbish, garbage, and other organic or flammable waste cleanly and safely.
- Tenants must keep all plumbing fixtures as clean as their condition permits.
- Tenants must properly use and operate all electrical and plumbing fixtures and appliances in the premises.
- Tenants must not willfully destroy, deface, damage, impair, or remove any part of the premises; or permit any guest to do so.
- Tenants shall maintain smoke detection devices and carbon monoxide detection devices.
- Keep the dwelling unit and all facilities, appliances, furniture, and furnishings supplied therein by the landlord in fit condition, reasonable wear and tear excepted. (Haw. Rev. Stat. §521-51)
- If the rental agreement requires, tenant must notify landlord of any anticipated extended absence from the dwelling unit no later than the first day of such absence. (Haw. Rev. Stat. §521-54).
- Tenant must report to landlord as soon as possible any defective condition of the dwelling unit which comes to tenant’s attention, which tenant has reason to believe is unknown to landlord and which he/she has reason to believe is the duty of landlord or another tenant to repair. (Haw. Rev. Stat. §521-55).
Required Landlord Disclosures
- Landlords are required to disclose in writing the names and business addresses of:
- anyone authorized to manage the premises.
- the owner of the premises or a person authorized to act for and on behalf of the owner for service of process and receiving rent, notices, and demands. (Haw. Rev. Stat. §521-43(a))
- In the case of written rental agreement, the landlord must provide a copy of the lease or rental agreement to the tenant. (Haw. Rev. Stat. §521-43(d))
- Before renting pre-1978 property, landlords must disclose all known lead paint hazards. Landlords must also provide tenants, as an attachment to a written lease, with an information pamphlet on lead-based paint hazards. (16 CFR 1303, 42 U.S. Code § 4852d) . If the landlord fails to disclose all known lead paint hazards, the landlord can face fines of up to $19,507 for each violation (24 CFR 30.65).
Hawaii Renters’ Rights
- What are Hawaii renters’ rights if landlords breach their duties? (See Landlord’s Duties)
If any condition within the premises deprives the tenant of a substantial part of the benefit and enjoyment of the tenant’s bargain under the rental agreement, the renter may deliver a written notice to the landlord identifying the issue(s). If the landlord does not remedy the breach within one week of receiving notice, the tenant can terminate the lease. No notice is required when the condition renders the dwelling unit uninhabitable or poses an imminent threat to the health or safety of any occupant. (Haw. Rev. Stat. §521-63(a))
- Are tenants allowed to withhold rent for needed repairs or other breaches of their landlords’ duties?
Yes. If a landlord receives written notification by the department of health or other state or county agencies that there exists a condition on the premises which constitutes a health or safety violation and does not commence repairs within business days, the tenant may immediately do the repairs or have the work done, submit receipts to the landlord and deduct the costs of repairs, not to exceed $500, from the rent. (Haw. Rev. Stat. §521-64)
- What are the protections for tenants against retaliation from their landlords for exercising their Hawaii renter’s rights?
Hawaii law prohibits landlords from increasing rent, decreasing services, bringing an action for possession, or causing the tenant to involuntarily quit the premises if the tenant has complained about a health and safety violation to a governmental agency, if the department of health or other governmental agency has filed notice or complaint, or the tenant has requested repairs. (Haw. Rev. Stat. §521-74(a))
Hawaii Eviction Laws
- What are the reasons that landlords can evict tenants under Hawaii eviction laws?
- Nonpayment of rent (Haw. Rev. Stat. §521-68)
- Material noncompliance with tenant’s duties and/or rental agreement (Haw. Rev. Stat. §521-69); (Haw. Rev. Stat. §521-72)
- Illegal activity (Haw. Rev. Stat. §521-69(a)); (Haw. Rev. Stat. §521-72)
- The tenant remains in possession without the landlord’s consent after expiration or termination of the term of the rental agreement (holdover tenancy) (Haw. Rev. Stat. §521-71(e))
- Demolition of Rental Unit (Haw. Rev. Stat. §521-71(c))
- Short-Term Rental Conversion (Haw. Rev. Stat. §521-71(c))
- Condominium Conversion (Haw. Rev. Stat. §521-71(c))
- What notice do Hawaii eviction laws require that landlords provide tenants before starting the eviction process?
- For evictions based on non-payment of rent, the landlord must give a 5-business day notice to pay before starting the eviction process. (Haw. Rev. Stat. §521-68)
- For evictions based on non-compliance with the lease and/or tenant’s duties or minor illegal activity, the landlord must give a 1o-day notice to cure the breach before starting the eviction process. (Haw. Rev. Stat. §521-69); (Haw. Rev. Stat. §521-72)
- For evictions based on illegal activity that causes or threatens to cause irremediable damage to any person or property, landlords do not have to provide notice or permit the tenant to cure these types of breaches before starting the eviction process. (Haw. Rev. Stat. §521-69)If the common nuisance is curable, landlord must give 24-hours notice to correct the nuisance. If it is not corrected within 24 hours, landlord must provide tenant with a 5-days notice to vacate the dwelling unit. (Haw. Rev. Stat. §666-3). For all other types of illegal activities which do not endanger other tenant’s premises, and do not constitute a common nuisance, landlord may give a 10-days notice to correct it and avoid eviction. (Haw. Rev. Stat. §521-72).
- For evictions based on a holdover tenancy, landlords must provide whatever notice is required to terminate the tenancy. If the tenant remains on the rental property after the termination date, the landlord can begin the eviction process without providing additional notice. (Haw. Rev. Stat. §521-71(e))
- For evictions based on demolition, short-term rental conversions, or condominium conversions, landlords must provide 120 days’ notice before starting the eviction process. (Haw. Rev. Stat. §521-71(c))
- Do Hawaii eviction laws allow landlords to use “self-help eviction” methods, such as locking a tenant out of the rental unit or shutting off the utilities?
No. If a landlord evicts a tenant using self-help methods, the tenant may choose to recover possession or terminate the rental agreement. The tenant is also entitled to receive two month’s rent or free occupancy for two months, and the cost of the lawsuit, including reasonable attorney’s fees. (Haw. Rev. Stat. §521-63(c))
- Are landlords permitted to recover damages from an evicted tenant?
Yes. In Hawaii, if a landlord terminates a lease because the tenant committed a breach of the rental agreement, the landlord may recover damages including the amount of rent agreed to by the parties but unpaid by the tenant.
COVID-19 Changes to Hawaii Landlord-Tenant Laws
- The CDC’s national eviction ban was effective through August 26, 2021, and is no longer in place.
- The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is no longer effective.
- State eviction moratorium and Emergency Rental Assistance program, is no longer effective
Squatter’s rights in Hawaii
Under Homestead Act of 1862, individuals (squatters) can possess the property if they have lived there for a specific period of time, done so publicly, made repairs to the property, have deed to the property and have paid rent or taxes on this property.
Hawaii has no specific laws recognizing squatters.
The squatter can claim adverse possession if he/she has lived on the property for 20 years. (Haw. Rev. Stat. 657-31). The squatter can claim adverse possession only if such property is 5 acres or less, and the squatter has not asserted any similar claim, in good faith, within the past 20 years, not including similar claims made before November 7, 1978. (Haw. Rev. Stat. §657-31.5).
- Landlord-Tenant Handbook
- Hawaii Small Claims Courts
- Landlord-Tenant Forms
- Hawaii District Courts
- Hawaii State Judiciary
- Landlord-Tenant Claims
- Hawaii Attorney General
- What Should I Do if I Have a Landlord-Tenant Problem?
- Landlord-Tenant Information
- Hawaii Insurance Division
- State of Hawaii Department of Consumer and Business Affairs
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Hawaii
- Hawaii Real Estate Branch
Attorney Referral Services
Realtor and Landlord-Tenant Associations
- Hawaii Association of Realtors
- Realtors Association of Maui
- Kauai Board of Realtors
- Hawaii Real Estate Investors