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TENANT RIGHTS IN HAWAIʻI Presented by Hawai’i Workers Center Alan Lloyd, Volunteer organizer

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PLEASE REMEMBER! • The information provided in this presentation does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials presented are for general informational purposes only. • Also remember that this presentation is directed towards private landlord tenant agreements (as opposed to Section 8 rental agreements, public housing rental agreements). • Rental agreements involving Section 8, public housing, and other rental assistance subsidy programs may have different requirements and applicable laws that are not addressed in this presentation.

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What are RIGHTS? • Something you have/get as a HUMAN. • As a HUMAN you have RIGHTS, HUMAN RIGHTS. • You may never have been told you have RIGHTS, both back at home and here on Maui. • But you do have RIGHTS, because of laws that are made for you.

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YOUR RIGHTS • To be paid overtime, if work more then 40 hours a week. • For employer to give you HEALTH INSURANCE, if work more then 20 hours. • To be free of Harassment OR Pressure from a SUPERVISOR. • To have a LEASE with your landlord. • To have an Apartment/House/ Room without INSECTS/ RODENTS. • To be told 45 Days before Rent goes up. • To have a BROKEN STOVE/ REFRIGERATOR fixed.

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How many people rent a room? You still have Rights! If things are not good, talk with other renters to get things repaired. IE. Holes , leaks

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What’s a LEASE? • Written on paper. • Includes amount of Rent • How long will pay that Rent • IE. $1,200 month for 1 year. • Sample Leases! • LEASE with Landlord, Management Company, Main Renter • Q: Why do people not get a LEASE?

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Why don’t people ask for a lease or repairs? • Repair too small • Won’t be renting long enough • Not having a lease, part of how my life is and No one else has a lease. • No one asks landlord for repairs. • Asserting my RIGHTS will not do change anything. • Don’t want to be a COMPLAINER. • Believe they can do repairs themselves. • May lead to getting evicted • If rent goes up we can eat less food, have others move in, get another job.

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Why have a LEASE? • Because your rent stays the same. • IF RENT STAYS THE SAME, YOU CAN: • Save for a car • Send more $ back home • Take a vacation • Eat out • Put $ in a College Fund for children/grandchildren

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LEASES & LANDLORDS • LEASES are agreements, written, between tenant and landlord. • LEASES are not verbal promises. (Role play) • LANDLORDS can be man, woman, businesses- small or large corporations.

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MONTH TO MONTH AGREEMENT: If haven’t signed a lease, you have month to month agreement. Landlord can raise rent any time. • 6 MONTH LEASE. • Keeps rent the same for 6 months • Landlord cannot increase rent • After 6 months, get another 6 or 12 month lease. • IF YOU HAVE NOT SIGNED A LEASE, YOU HAVE GIVEN --→ • SIGN A LEASE • 12 MONTH LEASE • Keeps rent the same for 12 months • Landlord cannot increase rent • After 12 months, get another 12 month lease. • -------------------------------------------------- • AWAY YOUR RIGHT TO CONTROL YOUR RENT.

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STRATEGIES TO GET A LEASE • Let landlord know, get a property tax exemption, if give a 1 year lease. • Ask for a 1 year lease

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Strategies to decrease Rent increase • Work to get Rent Control/Stabilization passed in your county.

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What are REPAIRS! • Your RIGHT to get things fixed, like, • Stove, AC, Fan, Holes, doors • What else do you think might need to be FIXED in your home? • Who knows someone who needs something fixed in there house? What do they need fixed? • Write a Letter to your landlord • Call the Maui Tenants Association, and we’ll make a complaint to MAUI COUNTY. No Information about Tenant will be provided. 808-444-1119

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REPAIRS • EMERGENCY REPAIRS: electrical, plumbing, major appliance repairs, water heater, refrigerator, or anything needed to keep your rental unit sanitary and habitable, ie rodents, insects. • If live with many, the person who signed the Lease, or those who have lived there the longest, can request repairs. • Its dangerous to live with open plugs, water leaks, freezers that don’t work, stove burners that don’t work, leaking toliets, rodents or roaches.

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Repair & Deduct • Repair and deduct: You have RIGHT to request landlord make REPAIRS. If landlord does not make repairs after you request them, you can DEDUCT up to $500 per month in repair costs from your rent. • There is a process you need to follow. • Be careful because if you don’t follow the process, you could be evicted for non-payment of rent.

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The Process for Repair and Deduct 1. Write a letter to your landlord requesting the repairs. • Provide your landlord written notice requesting they make the repairs. • Be specific about which repairs needed, and keep copy of letter. • Send your letter certified mail, return receipt requested (so that you have proof of delivery date and time of the notice).

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The Process for Repair and Deduct 2. Allow your landlord time to make the repairs. • Emergency repairs: the landlord must fix emergency repairs three (3) business days after she receives your written request. Emergency repairs include: electrical, plumbing, major appliance repairs, water heater, refrigerator, or anything needed to keep your rental unit sanitary and habitable. • Ordinary repairs: the landlord must begin to fix ordinary repairs twelve (12) business days after she receives your written request. Ordinary repairs include: a broken door, ripped window screen, cracked floor tiles, etc.

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The Process for Repair and Deduct 3. If your landlord does not make repairs within required 3 or 12 days, you can arrange for the repairs and deduct up to $500 of the costs from your next rent check. • Make sure to submit copies of all the receipts for your costs to your landlord (you must have receipts). • Remember the maximum amount you may deduct for one month is $500. • *If the landlord cannot meet the repair deadline, she can get an extension IF: she (1) provides a good reason why the repairs have not begun and (2) sets a reasonable start date.

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Strategies for getting Repairs • Ask the Renters Association to report the deficiency to the County • 808-444-1119

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Next, Deposits-Security Deposits! • $ your landlord requests, that they hold for you. • You have the RIGHT to only give landlord, 1 mo’s of rent as deposit. • If RENT $1,000, Deposit no more than $1,000. • DEPOSIT can only be used for REPAIRS after you LEAVE apartment! • If you give a deposit for a PET, that is a security deposit.

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Security Deposits • Security Deposit: MONEY YOU GIVE THE LANDLORD AT THE BEGINNING. Its insurance against UNPAID RENT AND DAMAGES caused by you, your family, or your friends. • The AMOUNT is decided by the landlord, HOWEVER, it can be NO MORE THEN ONE MONTHS RENT, plus an additional month's rent for pets. • The security deposit cannot act as the last month’s rent unless you and the landlord agree on this in writing.

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Security Deposits • The landlord must notify you in writing if s/he is keeping part or all of the deposit. • The landlord is required to either return the full deposit or write you within 14 days after you move out to tell you exactly why all or part of the deposit is being kept (unless the tenant wrongfully vacates the unit prior to the expiration of the lease term).

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Can I get my security deposit back? • Landlord can keep part or all of deposit. In most cases, you may not be able to get all of your deposit back if: • Damage to the property beyond normal wear and tear • Fail to pay rent or wrongfully vacate the unit before the end of the lease term • Fail to return all keys upon moving out • Fail to clean thoroughly upon moving out • Abandon the property • If none of the above factors apply, you may be entitled to receive part or all of the security deposit. • Contact LEGAL AIDE SOCIETY OF MAUI, TO HELP YOU GET YOUR SECURITY DEPOSIT BACK. 800-499-4302

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Strategies to get security deposit back? • If landlord does not write you or return SECURITY OR PET deposit within 14 days, you can go to Small Claims court to get it back. • Be sure to document everything and keep copies. • Contact LEGAL AIDE SOCIETY OF Hawai’i, TO HELP YOU GET it BACK. 800-499-4302

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STRATEGIES IF LANDLORD REPEATEDLY COMES INTO YOUR HOUSE/APT. • Post on front door wording about entering • Make sure you and roommates are on same page, about landlord giving 2 days notice.

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If I cannot pay rent, what should I do? • Talk to Landlord about payment plan • You should apply for rental assistance! CATHOLIC CHARITIES or MEO- Maui 808-264-8263 or 808-872-6230 • Native Hawaiians may contact the DHHL Emergency Rental Assistance Program for help with rent payments at:

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Eviction? • Landlords must give you 15 calendar days notice that they plan to evict you. • During the 15 days, contact a mediation center to schedule mediation. 808-244- 5744 or 808-344-4255 • If you do not schedule mediation, Court eviction can start, when 15-day period is over. • How soon you can be evicted depends on how long it has been since you last paid rent.

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How will the Eviction process work? • The 15 day calendar notice must include: • The landlord’s name and contact information • The address of residential rental property • The name and contact information of all tenants • The monthly rental rate • The current outstanding balance of rent due • Whether the landlord has applied for rental assistance or been contacted on behalf of the tenant by an agency providing rental assistance • Whether any rental assistance has been credited to the tenant’s amount due • That a copy of the 15 day notice is being provided to a mediation center

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How will the Eviction process work? • One purpose of the 15-day notice is to keep all parties informed on the status of mediation. • It is important that the landlord include all contact information on the notice so that the mediation center which receives the notice can reach out to both landlord and tenant. • *Landlords may not be familiar with these requirements because they are new as of August 7, 2021.

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Strategies, if being evicted • If landlord has not given you a move out date, you can still pay rent. If they cash check, then rent paid. • There is a HOldOVER fee, for staying past eviction, but if they haven’t given you a move out date, they cant charge you the holdover fee.

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If you have a Disability • If you have a Emotional support dog, and have written evidence of a disability, you have the right to have the dog with you in the unit. • It would be Discrimination if they excluded animals. • Contact Legal Aid society of Hawaii. 800 499 4302

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Work Trade • If Work Trade: • Trade Housing for Care Taking • Then, No Landlord-Tenant Relationship, • So No RIGHTS by Law • If Work-Trade, and Landlord Asks verbally or written for Rent. • He/She now establishing Landlord- Tenant relationship. Ask for 1 year lease • If you can’t pay • He/She is evicting you

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Who Can Help? • The Legal Aid Society of Hawai’i: • 800 499 4302

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Legal Aid/DCCA/VLSH • The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) runs a Landlord/Tenant Information Centers which you can call: • (808) 586-2634 • Volunteer Legal Services Hawaiʻi (VLSH) provides assistance with landlord/tenant matters: • (808) 528-7046

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Residential Landlord Tenant Code (H.R.S. § 521) • Most of the laws applicable to landlords and tenants in Hawaiʻi are contained in the Residential Landlord Tenant Code, Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes § 521. • For good information on the laws contained in the LL/T Code, see the Landlord Tenant Handbook. The Handbook is published by the State of Hawaii’s Office of Consumer Protection, and you can find it online: ord-tenant-handbook.pdf.