HAWAII REVISED STATUTES
(Updated September 15, 1997)
RESIDENTIAL LANDLORD-TENANT CODE
PART I. GENERAL PROVISIONS AND DEFINITIONS
521-1 SHORT TITLE
521-2 PURPOSES; RULES OF CONSTRUCTION
521-3 SUPPLEMENTARY GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF LAW, OTHER LAWS, APPLICABLE
521-4 CONSTRUCTION AGAINST IMPLICIT REPEAL
521-6 TERRITORIAL APPLICATION
521-7 EXCLUSIONS FROM APPLICATION OF CHAPTER
521-9 NOTICE, NOTIFICATION KNOWLEDGE, ETC.
521-10 DUTIES; OBLIGATION OF GOOD FAITH
521-11 TIME; REASONABLE TIME
PART II. RENT
521-22 TERM OF RENTAL AGREEMENT
PART III. LIMITATION ON RENTAL AGREEMENTS AND PRACTICES
521-31 WAIVER; AGREEMENT TO FOREGO RIGHTS; SETTLEMENT OF CLAIMS
521-32 SEPARATION OF RENTS AND OBLIGATIONS TO PROPERTY FORBIDDEN
521-33 LANDLORD'S WAIVER OF LIABILITY PROHIBITED
521-34 AUTHORIZATION TO CONFESS JUDGMENT PROHIBITED
521-35 ATTORNEYS FEES
521-36 EFFECT OF TERMINATION
521-37 SUBLEASES AND ASSIGNMENTS
521-38 TENANTS SUBJECT TO RENTAL AGREEMENT; NOTICE OF CONVERSIONS
PART IV. LANDLORD OBLIGATIONS
521-41 LANDLORD TO SUPPLY POSSESSION OF DWELLING UNIT
521-42 LANDLORD To SUPPLY AND MAINTAIN FIT PREMISES
521-43 RENTAL AGREEMENT, DISCLOSURE
521-44 SECURITY DEPOSITS
521-45 LIMITATION OF LANDLORD AND MANAGEMENT LIABILITY
PART V. TENANT OBLIGATIONS
521-51 TENANT TO MAINTAIN DWELLING UNIT
521-52 TENANT TO USE PROPERLY
521-54 TENANT TO USE AND OCCUPY
521-55 TENANTS RESPONSIBILITY TO INFORM LANDLORD
521-56 DISPOSITION OF TENANT'S ABANDONED POSSESSIONS
PART VI. REMEDIES AND PENALTIES
521-61 TENANT'S REMEDIES FOR FAILURE BY LANDLORD TO SUPPLY POSSESSION
521-62 TENANT'S REMEDY OF TERMINATION AT BEGINNING OF TERM
521-63 TENANTS REMEDY OF TERMINATION AT ANY TIME; UNLAWFUL REMOVAL OR EXCLUSION
521-64 TENANT'S REMEDY OF REPAIR AND DEDUCTION FOR MINOR DEFECTS
521-65 TENANT'S REMEDIES FOR FIRE OR CASUALTY DAMAGE
521-66 TENANTS RIGHT TO REFUND OF RENT, ETC., ON TERMINATION; RETURN OF SECURITY DEPOSIT
521-67 TENANT'S REMEDY FOR FAILURE BY LANDLORD TO DISCLOSE
521-68 LANDLORD'S REMEDIES FOR FAILURE BY TENANT TO PAY RENT
521-69 LANDLORD'S REMEDIES FOR TENANT'S WASTE, FAILURE TO MAINTAIN, OR UNLAWFUL USE
521-70 LANDLORD'S REMEDIES FOR ABSENCE, MISUSE, ABANDONMENT AND FAILURE TO HONOR TENANCY BEFORE OCCUPANCY
521-71 TERMINATION OF TENANCY; LANDLORD'S REMEDIES FOR HOLDOVER TENANTS
521-72 LANDLORD'S REMEDIES FOR IMPROPER USE
521-73 LANDLORD'S AND TENANT'S REMEDIES FOR ABUSE OF ACCESS
521-74 RETALIATORY EVICTIONS AND RENT INCREASES PROHIBITED
521-74.5 RECOVERY OF POSSESSION
521-77 INVESTIGATION AND RESOLUTION OF COMPLAINTS BY THE OFFICE OF CONSUMER PROTECTION
521-78 RENT TRUST FUND
PART 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS AND
HRS Section 521-1 Short title.
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the Residential Landlord-Tenant Code.
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HRS Section 521-2 Purposes; rules of construction.
(a) This chapter shall be liberally construed and applied to promote its underlying purposes and policies.
(b) The underlying purposes and policies of this chapter are:
(1) To simplify, clarify, modernize, and revise the law governing the rental of dwelling units and the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants of dwelling units;
(2) To encourage landlords and tenants to maintain and improve the quality of housing in this State; and
(3) To revise the law of residential landlord and tenant by changing the relationship from one based on the law of conveyance to a relationship that is primarily contractual in nature.
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HRS Section 521-3 Supplementary general principles of law, other laws, applicable.
(a) Unless displaced by the particular provisions of this chapter, the principles of law and equity, including the law relative to capacity to contract, principal agent, real property, public health, safety and fire prevention, estoppel, fraud, misrepresentation, duress, coercion, mistake, bankruptcy, or other validating or invalidating cause supplement its provisions.
(b) Every legal right, remedy, and obligation arising out of a rental agreement not provided for in this chapter shall be regulated and determined under chapter 666, and in the case of conflict between any provision of this chapter and a provision of chapter 666, this chapter shall control.
(c) Nothing in this chapter shall be applied to interfere with any right, obligation, duty, requirement, or remedy of a landlord or tenant which is established as a condition or requirement of any program receiving subsidy from the government of the United States. To the extent that any provision of this chapter is inconsistent with such a federal condition or requirement then as to such subsidized project the federal condition or requirement shall control.
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HRS Section 521-4 Construction against implicit repeal.
This chapter being a general law intended as a unified coverage of its subject matter, no part of it shall be deemed to be impliedly repealed by subsequent legislation if such construction can reasonably be avoided.
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HRS Section 521-5 Severability.
If any provision of this chapter or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of the chapter which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this chapter are severable.
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HRS Section 521-6 Territorial application.
This chapter applies to rights, remedies, and obligations of the parties to any residential rental agreement wherever made of a dwelling unit within this State.
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HRS Section 521-7 Exclusions from application of chapter.
Unless created solely to avoid the application of this chapter, this chapter shall not apply to:
(1) Residence at an institution, whether public or private, where residence is merely incidental to detention or the provision of medical, geriatric, educational, religious, or similar services;
(2) Residence in a structure directly controlled and managed by the University of Hawaii for housing students or faculty of the University of Hawaii or residence in a structure erected on land leased from the University of Hawaii by a nonprofit corporation for the exclusive purpose of housing students or faculty of the University of Hawaii;
(3) Occupancy under a bona fide contract of sale of the dwelling unit or the property of which it is a part where the tenant is, or succeeds to the interest of, the purchaser;
(4) Residence by a member of a fraternal organization in a structure operated without profit for the benefit of the organization;
(5) Transient occupancy on a day-to-day basis in a hotel or motel;
(6) Occupancy by an employee of the owner or landlord whose right to occupancy is conditional upon such employment or by a pensioner of the owner or landlord or occupancy for a period of up to four years subsequent thereto, pursuant to a plan for the transfer of the dwelling unit or the property of which it is a part to the occupant;
(7) A lease of improved residential land for a term of fifteen years or more, measured from the date of the commencement of the lease;
(8) Occupancy by the prospective purchaser after an accepted offer to purchase and prior to the actual transfer of the owner's rights;
(9) Occupancy in a homeless facility, or any other program for the homeless authorized under chapter 358D;
(10) Residence or occupancy in a public housing complex or shelter directly controlled, owned, or managed by the Hawaii housing authority; or
(11) Residence or occupancy in a transitional facility for abused family or household members.
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HRS Section 521-8 Definitions.
As used in this chapter, unless the context clearly requires otherwise:
"Action" with reference to a judicial proceeding includes recoupment, counterclaim, setoff, and any other proceedings in which rights are determined, including an action for possession.
"Apartment building" means a structure containing one or more dwelling units, except:
(1) A single-family residence, or
(2) A structure in which all tenants are roomers or boarders.
"Dwelling unit" means a structure, or part of a structure, which is used as a home, residence, or sleeping place by one person or by two or more persons maintaining a common household, to the exclusion of all others.
"Landlord" means the owner, lessor, sublessor, assigns or successors in interest of the dwelling unit or the building of which it is a part and in addition means any agent of the landlord.
"Normal wear and tear" means deterioration or depreciation in value by ordinary and reasonable use but does not include items that are missing from the dwelling unit.
"Owner" means one or more persons, jointly or severally, in whom is vested.
(1) All or any part of the legal title to property; or
(2) All or any part of the beneficial ownership and a right to present use and enjoyment of the property; and includes a mortgagee in possession.
"Person" includes an individual, corporation, government or governmental agency, business trust, estate, trust, partnership or association, two or more persons having a joint or common interest, or any other legal or commercial entity.
"Premises" means a dwelling unit, appurtenances thereto, grounds, and facilities held out for the use of tenants generally and any other area or facility whose use is promised to the tenant
"Rental agreement" means all agreements, written or oral, which establish or modify the terms, conditions, rules, regulations, or any other provisions concerning the use and occupancy of a dwelling unit and premises.
"Roomer" or "boarder" means a tenant occupying a dwelling unit:
(1) Which lacks at least one major bathroom or kitchen facility, such as a toilet, refrigerator, or stove,
(2) In a building where one or more such major facilities are supplied to be used in common by the occupants of the tenant's dwelling unit and by the occupants of one or more other dwelling units, and:
(3) In a building in which the landlord resides.
"Single family residence" means a structure maintained and used as a single dwelling unit. Notwithstanding that a dwelling unit shares one or more walls with another dwelling unit, it shall be deemed a single family residence if it has direct access to a street or thoroughfare and does not share hot water equipment or any other essential facility or service with any other dwelling unit.
"Tenant" means any person who occupies a dwelling unit for dwelling purposes under a rental agreement.
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HRS Section 521-9 Notice, notification, knowledge, etc.
(a) A person has notice of a fact when:
(1) The person has actual knowledge of it; or
(2) The person has received a notice or notification of it; or
(3) From all the facts and circumstances known to the person at the time in question the person has reason to know of it.
(b) A person knows or has knowledge of a fact when the person has actual knowledge of it. The terms "discover" or "learn" or terms of similar import refer to knowledge rather than reason to know. The time and circumstances under which a notice or notification ceases to be effective are not determined by this chapter.
(c) A person notifies or gives a notice or notification to another by taking such steps as may be reasonably required to inform the other in ordinary course whether or not the other actually comes to know of it. A person receives a notice or notification when:
(1) It comes to the person's attention; or
(2) It is delivered at the place of business through which the rental agreement was made or at any place held out as the place for receipt of such communications.
(d) Notice, knowledge, or a notice or notification received by a person other than an individual is effective for a particular transaction from the time it is brought to the attention of the individual conducting that transaction or from the time it should have been brought to the individual's attention, whichever time is earlier.
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HRS Section 521-10 Duties; obligation of good faith.
Every duty imposed by this chapter and every act which must be performed as a condition precedent to the exercise of a right or remedy under this chapter imposes an obligation of good faith in its performance or enforcement.
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HRS Section 521-11 Time; reasonable time.
(a) Whenever this chapter requires any action to be taken within a reasonable time, any time which is not manifestly unreasonable may be fixed by agreement.
(b) What is a reasonable time for taking any action depends on the nature, purpose, and circumstances of the action.
PART II. RENT
HRS Section 521-21 Rent
(a) The landlord and tenant may agree to any consideration, not otherwise prohibited by law, as rent. In the absence of such agreement, and subject to section 521-71(e) in the case of holdover tenants, the tenant shall pay to the landlord the fair rental value for the dwelling unit.
(b) Rents shall be payable at the time and place agreed to by the parties. Unless otherwise agreed, the entire rent shall be payable at the beginning of any term for one month or less, and for longer terms in equal monthly installments payable at the beginning of each month. When a rental agreement with a public assistance recipient requires that the rent be paid on or before the third day after the day on which the public assistance check is usually received, the tenant shall have the option of establishing 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 three days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, 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.
(c) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (b), rent shall be uniformly apportionable from day to day.
(d) When the tenancy is from month to month, the amount of rent for such tenancy shall not be increased by the landlord without written notice given forty-five consecutive days prior to the effective date of the increase.
(e) When the tenancy is less than month to month, the amount of rent for such tenancy shall not be increased by the landlord without written notice given fifteen consecutive days prior to the effective date of the increase.
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HRS Section 521-22 Term of rental agreement.
The landlord and tenant may agree in writing to any period as the term of the rental agreement. In the absence of such agreement, the tenancy shall be month to month or, in the case of boarders, week to week.
PART III. LIMITATIONS ON RENTAL
AGREEMENTS AND PRACTICES
HRS Section 521-31 Waiver; agreement to forego rights; settlement of claims.
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, a tenant or landlord may not waive or agree to forego rights or remedies under this chapter.
(b) A claim by a tenant against a landlord for violation of this chapter or a claim by a landlord against a tenant for default or breach of duty imposed by this chapter, if disputed in good faith, may be settled by agreement.
(c) A claim, whether or not disputed, against a tenant or landlord may be settled for less value than the amount claimed.
(d) A settlement in which the tenant or landlord waives or agrees to forego rights or benefits under this chapter is invalid if the court, as a matter of law, finds the settlement to have been unconscionable at the time it was made. The competence of the tenant or landlord, any deception or coercion practiced against the tenant or landlord, the nature and extent of the legal advice received by the tenant or landlord, and the nature and value of the consideration are relevant to the issue of unconscionability.
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HRS Section 521-32 Separation of rents and obligations to property forbidden.
Any agreement, conveyance, or trust instrument which authorizes a person other than the beneficial owner to act as the landlord of a dwelling unit shall operate, regardless of its terms, to authorize and require such person to use rents to conform with this chapter and any other law, code, ordinance, or regulation concerning the maintenance and operation of the premises.
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HRS Section 521-33 Landlord's waiver of liability prohibited.
A provision in a rental agreement exempting or limiting the landlord, or requiring the tenant to indemnify the landlord, from liability for damages to persons or property caused by or resulting from the acts or omissions of the landlord, the landlord's agents, servants, or employees, in or about the dwelling unit covered thereby or in or about the premises of which it is a part is void.
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HRS Section 521-34 Authorization to confess judgment prohibited.
A tenant may not authorize any person to confess judgment on a claim arising out of a rental agreement of any dwelling unit. An authorization in violation of this section is void.
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HRS Section 521-35 Attorney's fees.
(a) A rental agreement may provide for the payment by the tenant of the costs of a suit, for unpaid rent, and reasonable attorney's fees not in excess of twenty-five per cent of the unpaid rent after default and referral to an attorney not a salaried employee of the landlord or the landlord's assignee.
(b) A rental agreement may further provide that reasonable attorney's fees and costs may be awarded to the prevailing party in all other matters arising under this chapter.
(c) A provision in violation of this section is unenforceable.
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HRS Section 521-36 Effect of termination.
Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, whenever a landlord or tenant exercises a right to terminate a rental agreement, the obligations of each party to the rental agreement shall cease upon the final discharge of all obligations imposed by the rental agreement and by this chapter.
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HRS Section 521-37 Subleases and assignments.
(a) Unless otherwise agreed to in a written rental agreement and except as otherwise provided in this section, the tenant may sublet the tenant's dwelling unit or assign the rental agreement to another without the landlords consent.
(b) Subsection (a) does not apply to a tenant of a dwelling unit administered, owned, or subsidized by the United States, the State, a county, or any agency thereof.
(c) A written rental agreement may provide that the tenant's right to sublet the tenant's dwelling unit or assign the rental agreement is subject to the consent of the landlord.
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HRS Section 521-38 Tenants subject to rental agreement; notice of conversions.
When a period of tenancy is pursuant to any rental agreement and where a landlord contemplates conversion to condominium property regime under chapter 514A, the landlord:
(1) Shall provide notice to the tenant at least one hundred twenty days in advance of the termination of the rental agreement, and
(2) Shall comply with the provisions relating to such conversions provided in section 514A-105.
PART IV. LANDLORD OBLIGATIONS
HRS Section 521-41 Landlord to supply possession of dwelling unit.
The landlord shall, at the beginning of the agreed term, deliver possession of the dwelling unit to the tenant in the agreed condition unless otherwise agreed prior to delivery of possession. The landlord may bring an action for possession against any person wrongfully in possession including a holdover tenant.
HRS Section 521-42 Landlord to supply and maintain fit premises.
(a) The landlord shall at all times during the tenancy:
(1) Comply with all applicable building and housing laws materially affecting health and safety;
(2) Keep common areas of a multi-dwelling unit premises in a clean and safe condition;
(3) Make all repairs and arrangements necessary to put and keep the premises in a habitable condition;
(4) Maintain all electrical, plumbing, and other facilities, and appliances supplied by the landlord in good working order and condition, subject to reasonable wear and tear;
(5) Except in the case of a single family residence, provide and maintain appropriate receptacles and conveniences for the removal of normal amounts of rubbish and garbage, and arrange for the frequent removal of such waste materials; and
(6) Except in the case of a single family residence, or where the building is not required by law to be equipped for the purpose, provide for the supplying of running water as reasonably required by the tenant.
Prior to the initial date of initial occupancy, the 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 the landlord and by the tenant and a copy given to each tenant. In an action arising under this section, the executed copy of the inventory shall be presumed to be correct. If the landlord fails to make such an inventory and written record, the condition of the premises and any furnishings or appliances provided, upon the termination of the tenancy shall be rebuttably presumed to be the same as when the tenant first occupied the premises.
(b) The landlord and tenant may agree that the tenant is to perform specified repairs, maintenance tasks, and minor remodeling only if:
(1) The agreement of the landlord and tenant is entered into in good faith and is not for the purpose of evading the obligations of the landlord;
(2) The work to be performed by the tenant is not necessary to cure noncompliance by the landlord with section 521-42(a)(1); and
(3) The agreement of the landlord and tenant does not diminish the obligations of the landlord to other tenants.
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HRS Section 521-43 Rental agreement, disclosure.
(a) A landlord or any person authorized to enter into a rental agreement on the landlords behalf shall disclose to the tenant in writing at or before the commencement of the tenancy the name and address of:
(1) Each person authorized to manage the premises; and
(2) Each person who is an owner of the premises or who is authorized to act for or on behalf of the owner for the purpose of service of process and receiving and receipting for rents, notices, and demands.
The information required to be furnished shall be kept current and shall be enforceable against any successor landlord, owner, or manager.
(b) A person who fails to comply with subsection (a) becomes an agent of each person who is a landlord for:
(1) Service of process and receiving and receipting for rents, notices, and demands; and
(2) Performing the obligations of the landlord under this chapter and under the rental agreement and expending or making available for the purpose all rent collected from the premises.
(c) Any owner or landlord not dealing directly with the tenant shall be responsible for compliance with this section by an owner or landlord dealing directly with the tenant and shall be stopped from any objection to a failure to serve process upon an owner or landlord in any proceeding arising under this chapter when such failure is due to failure to comply with this section. The owner or landlord who deals directly with the tenant and fails to comply with this section shall be deemed an agent of every other landlord under the rental agreement for performing the obligations of the landlord under this chapter and under the rental agreement.
(d) In the case of a written rental agreement, the landlord shall furnish a copy of the lease or rental agreement to the tenant.
(e) The landlord shall furnish to the tenant a written receipt for rents paid at the time of payment. Canceled checks shall also constitute and fulfill the requirement of a written receipt. If rent is paid by check, the landlord shall furnish a receipt therefor, provided a receipt is requested by the tenant.
(f) Any owner or landlord who resides without the State or on another island from where the rental unit is located shall designate on the written rental agreement an agent residing on the same island where the unit is located to act in the owner's or landlord's behalf. In the case of an oral rental agreement, the information shall be supplied to the tenant, on demand, in a written statement.
(g) Subsections (a) and (b) to the contrary notwithstanding, the information required to be disclosed to a tenant, instead of being disclosed in the manner described in subsections (a) and (b), may be disclosed as follows:
(1) In each multi-unit single-owner dwelling structure containing an elevator, a printed or typewritten notice containing the information required by subsections (a) and (b) shall be placed and continuously maintained in every elevator and in one other conspicuous place;
(2) In each multi-unit single-owner dwelling structure not containing an
elevator, a printed or typewritten notice containing the information required by subsections (a) and (b) shall be placed and continuously maintained in at least two conspicuous places;
(3) In each multi-unit dwelling structure, a printed or typewritten notice containing the information required by subsections (a) and (b) shall be posted within the unit in a conspicuous place.
(h) Landlords shall provide their general excise tax number to all tenants for the purpose of the purpose of filing for a low-income tax credit.
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HRS Section 521-44 Security deposits.
(a) As used in this section "security deposit" means money deposited by or for the tenant with the landlord to be held by the landlord to:
(1) Remedy tenant defaults for accidental or intentional damages resulting from failure to comply with section 521-51, for failure to pay rent due, or for failure to return all keys furnished by the landlord at the termination of the rental agreement;
(2) Clean the dwelling unit or have it cleaned at the termination of the rental agreement so as to place the condition of the dwelling unit in as fit a condition as that which the tenant entered into possession of the dwelling unit; and
(3) Compensate for damages caused by a tenant who wrongfully quits the dwelling unit.
(b) The landlord may require as a condition of a rental agreement a security deposit to be paid by or for the tenant for the items in subsection (a) and no others, in an amount not in excess of a sum equal to one month's rent. The landlord may not require or receive from or on behalf of a tenant at the beginning of a rental agreement any money other than the money for the first months rent and a security deposit as provided in this section. The security deposit shall not be construed as payment of the last month's rent by the tenant, unless mutually agreed upon, in writing, by the landlord and tenant if the tenant gives forty-five days' notice of vacating the premises; in entering such agreement, the landlord shall not be deemed to have waived the right to pursue legal remedies against the tenant for any damages the tenant causes. Any such security deposit shall be held by the landlord for the tenant and the claim of the tenant to the security deposit shall be prior to the claim of any creditor of the landlord, including a trustee in bankruptcy, even if the security deposits are commingled.
(c) At the termination of a rental agreement in which the landlord required and received a security deposit if the landlord proposes to retain any amount of the security deposit for any of the purposes specified in subsection (a), the landlord shall so notify the tenant, in writing, unless the tenant had wrongfully quit the dwelling unit, together with the particulars of and grounds for the retention, including written evidence of the costs of remedying tenant defaults, such as estimates or invoices for material and services or of the costs of cleaning, such as receipts for supplies and equipment or charges for cleaning services. The security deposit, or the portion of the security deposit remaining after the landlord has claimed and retained amounts authorized under this section, if any, shall be returned to the tenant not later than fourteen days after the termination of the rental agreement. If the landlord does not furnish the tenant with the written notice and other information required by this subsection, within fourteen days after the termination of the rental agreement, the landlord shall not be entitled to retain the security deposit or any part of it, and the landlord shall return the entire amount of the security deposit to the tenant. A return of the security deposit or the furnishing of the written notice and other required information in compliance with the requirements of this subsection shall be presumptively proven if mailed to the tenant, at an address supplied to the landlord by the tenant, with acceptable proof of mailing and postmarked before midnight of the fourteenth day after the date of the termination of the rental agreement or if there is an acknowledgment by the tenant of receipt within the fourteen-day limit. All actions for the recovery of a landlord's complete or partial retention of the security deposit shall be instituted not later than one year after termination of the rental agreement.
(d) For the purposes of this section if a tenant is absent from the dwelling unit for a continuous period of twenty days or more without written notice to the landlord the tenant shall be deemed to have wrongfully quit the dwelling unit; provided that the tenant shall not be considered to be absent from the dwelling unit without notice to the landlord during any period for which the landlord has received payment of rent. In addition to any other right or remedy the landlord has with respect to such a tenant the landlord may retain the entire amount of any security deposit the landlord has received from or on behalf of such tenant.
(e) The landlord shall not require the delivery of any postdated check or other negotiable instrument to be used for payment of rent.
(f) If the landlord who required and received a security de posit transfers the landlord's interest in the dwelling unit, whether by sale, assignment, death, appointment of a receiver, or otherwise, the landlord's successor in interest is bound by this section. The original landlord shall provide an accounting of the security deposits received for each dwelling unit to the landlords successor at or before the time of the transfer of the landlord's interest; within twenty days thereafter the landlord's successor shall give written notice to each tenant of the amount of the security deposit credited to the tenant. In the event the landlord's successor fails to satisfy the requirements of this subsection, it shall be presumed that the tenant has paid a security deposit equal to no less than one month's rent at the rate charged when the tenant originally rented the dwelling unit and the landlord's successor shall be bound by this amount in all further matters relating to the security deposit.
(g) If the landlord and the tenant disagree about the right of the landlord to claim and retain the security deposit or any portion of it, either the landlord or the tenant may commence an action in the small claims division of the district court, as provided in chapter 633 and the rules of court thereunder, to adjudicate the matter.
(h) In any action in the small claims division of the district court pursuant to subsection (g) where the court determines that:
(1) The landlord wrongfully and wilfully retained a security deposit or part of a security deposit, the court may award the tenant damages in an amount equal to three times the amount of the security deposit, or part thereof, wrongfully and wilfully retained and the cost of suit.
(2) The landlord wrongfully retained a security deposit or part of a security deposit, the court shall award the tenant damages in an amount equal to the amount of the security deposit, or part thereof, wrongfully retained and the cost of suit.
(3) The landlord was entitled to retain the security deposit or a part of it, the court shall award the landlord damages in an amount equal to the amount of the security deposit, or part thereof, in dispute and the cost of suit.
(4) In any such action, neither the landlord nor the tenant may be represented by an attorney, including salaried employees of the landlord or tenant.
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HRS Section 521-45 Limitation of landlord and management liability.
(a) Unless otherwise agreed, a landlord who conveys premises which include a dwelling unit subject to a rental agreement in a good faith sale to a person not connected with the landlord discloses, in writing, in any form of contract for the sale of such premises is relieved of liability under the rental agreement and under this chapter as to events occurring subsequent to the conveyance.
(b) The new owner who purchases the premises referred to in subsection (a) is liable under the rental agreement and under this chapter.
(c) Unless otherwise agreed, a person who is a manager of premises which include a dwelling unit subject to a rental agreement is relieved of liability under the rental agreement and under this chapter as to events occurring subsequent to the termination of the person's management.
HRS 521-1 to 521-45 | HRS 521-51 to End | HRS 666
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