A Hawaii lease agreement is a legal document that enables you to rent your property to someone else or protect your rights as the tenant during the lease. It contains all the clauses describing the landlord's and tenant’s rights and obligations.
By having a lease agreement, both the landlord and the tenant will know their exact rights, which will minimize any misunderstandings between them. Also, if any of their rights get violated, they will be able to protect their rights in front of the court by having the lease agreement.
Before signing the lease agreement, the tenant would usually have to submit a rental application, after which the landlord would screen the potential tenant. Only after those two steps are successfully completed will the landlord and the tenant start drafting the lease agreement.
Hawaii Lease Agreement Required Disclosures
According to federal and state legislation, three disclosures have to be included in every lease agreement in Hawaii:
Lead-based paint disclosure. According to federal law, if renting any property built before 1978, the landlord must include a lead-based paint disclosure in the lease agreement. This disclosure informs the tenant if there is any lead-based paint present in any form on the property.
Inventory disclosure. Before the tenant moves in, the landlord shall make an inventory of all the items in the rental unit and describe their condition and the condition of the rental unit as a whole. This disclosure should especially include the information about any damages that were present before the tenant moved in. (§ 521-42(6))
Information disclosure. A person signing the lease agreement as the landlord shall provide the name and address of:
The person managing the property
The owner of the property or person acting on their behalf for the purpose of receiving the rent, notifications, or requests (§ 521-43(a))
Hawaii Lease Agreement Optional Disclosures
Even though it is not mandatory by any law, many choose to include these disclosures in their lease agreements to additionally secure their rights and prevent any liabilities.
Shared utility disclosure. In cases where there is a shared meter for water, gas, or electricity at the property, the landlord shall include this disclosure in the lease agreement. It will inform the tenant about how the utilities are shared among multiple users and how the payment for such utilities is made.
Smoking disclosure. The landlord can allow or forbid smoking in the leased unit. They can also provide information about the designated smoking areas at the leased unit.
Consequences of Non-Disclosure
If the landlord fails to include lead-based paint disclosure in the lease agreement, they can be fined up to $19,507, according to federal law.
Additionally, the tenant can initiate civil proceedings for any damages suffered due to the non-disclosure of safety and health hazards in the lease agreement.
Hawaii Lease Agreement Security Deposits
Security Deposit Maximum
The landlord can’t ask for a security deposit higher than one (1) month’s rent. They can also require an additional deposit for any pet at the leased unit, not including the service animal. (§ 521-44(b))
Security Deposit Return
The landlord shall return the security deposit no later than fourteen (14) days after the lease term is over. If any deductions are made, the landlord should also include the list of any deductions made with sufficient proof (invoice for cleaning or repairs). (§ 521-44(c))
If the landlord fails to send the deposit and the list of deductions to the tenant within these fourteen days, the tenant is entitled to the whole amount of the security deposit.
When is Rent Due in Hawaii? (Grace Period)
The landlord and the tenant mutually agree on the due date for the rent payment. Such a due date should be included in the lease agreement.
Hawaii law does not provide a grace period for the rent payment. However, if the tenant is late with the rent, the landlord can send them a 5-day notice to pay or quit.
Hawaii Rent Late Fees
No cap on the maximum late fee can be charged for late rent payments. That means that the landlord can charge any amount he deems reasonable.
Therefore, it is important to define the late fee amount in the lease agreement before the tenancy begins.
Hawaii NSF Checks
If the tenant uses the non-sufficient funds check to pay the rent, he will have to pay $25 as a service charge in addition to the amount listed on the check.
Hawaii Landlord’s Right to Enter
The landlord can enter the leased property:
Reasons for Entry
With the tenant’s consent
In case of an emergency
With the court order
When it appears that the tenant has abandoned the leased property
The landlord must give the tenant at least two days' notice before entering the rented property. They shall enter the leased property only at reasonable times, except in case of an emergency.
Hawaii Lease Agreement FAQ
Yes, the Hawaii lease agreement is a legally binding document.
If the lease agreement is in writing and both parties have signed it, that unequivocally means that the contract is binding on both contracting parties.
In case the tenant hasn’t signed the lease agreement but has offered to pay the rent, the lease agreement will be binding for him.
When the landlord fails to sign the lease agreement but allows the tenant to use the property and accepts the rent payments, the lease agreement will be binding for him.
In practice, most lease agreements in Hawaii will have the following outline:
Names and addresses of the landlord and the tenant
Details about the rental unit
Maximal occupancy of the rental unit
Rent amount, dynamics, and method of payment
Health and safety hazard disclosures
Rights and duties of the landlord and the tenant
Date and location of the contract signature
Based on the tenancy duration and the type of the lease, you can download one of the many templates available here.
To choose the right template, you should answer the following questions:
Are you renting a property for commercial or residential purposes?
Is it a long-term or a month-to-month lease?
Are you renting the whole property or a room inside the property?
Are you leasing or subleasing the property?
Upon drafting and signing the lease agreement, the tenant and the landlord should inspect the property to ensure there are no major damages that must be repaired before the tenant moves in.
After the inspection, the landlord and the tenant will sign the move-in form, confirming the condition of the rental unit before the lease term starts.
As the final step, the tenant will pay the first month’s rent and any deposits and fees, if applicable, and the landlord will hand over the keys to the tenant and give him access to the leased unit.