Hawaii Eviction Law

Posted by Christopher Berkompas in Hawaii

Note: I am not a lawyer, and this is not intended as legal advice.

Under what circumstances may a tenant be evicted?

A tenant may be evicted for failing to pay rent, for violating the lease in a substantial manner, or for staying after the lease has been terminated.  Retaliatory evictions are illegal.

What is the process for evicting a tenant?

In the most common case, that of non-payment of rent, the landlord must give the tenant notice to quit the premises.  If the tenant doesn't leave, the landlord may begin the court process.

The landlord will file a complaint with the court, which the tenant will receive, and who will also be summoned to respond and appear at a court hearing.  If the tenant does not respond or appear at the hearing, the court will decide for the landlord.

If the landlord wins, the court will give him a writ of possession, allowing him to retake the premises and evict the tenant.  The landlord must then give his writ to the local sheriff or marshal, who will then be authorized to forcibly remove the tenant, if necessary.


How are landlords supposed to deal with tenant belongings left behind?

If the tenant left belongings behind, the marshal will turn these over to the landlord, who will hold them in storage.  If the tenant does not claim them and pay the storage fees within 15 days, they will be forfeited to the landlord, who may then sell them if he wishes.

Can the landlord shut off utilities or lock a tenant out prior to the completion of the eviction process?

No, the landlord may not seek to harass tenants out of the premises.  The only legal way to evict a tenant is through the court system.

Are landlords required to let tenants know why they are being evicted?

Yes, since it will be included in their complaint to the court which the tenant will also receive.

Is it legal for the landlord to deduct legal fees and court costs from the security deposit?

No.  Like other states, the security deposit can only be used for repairing damage done by the tenant and to cover back rent.

Can the landlord try to collect unpaid rent for the rest of the time left in the lease?

The landlord cannot seek to recover rent on his own, but the court may order the tenant to pay it.


  1. Hawaii Department of Commerce - Landlord, Tenant Information
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