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Being a Landlord on Maui: The Legal Essentials

April 30, 2015, 8:12 AM HST · Updated April 30, 4:38 PM
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Photo courtesy Harris Hawaii Realty Group.

Photo courtesy Harris Hawaii Realty Group.

By Alexandra Mitchell

Many Maui property owners are unaware of the legality issues regarding landlord-tenant relationships.

If you own a Maui rental, or are looking into investment property on Maui, you might want to read up on some information that could potentially help alleviate future legal issues when dealing with your tenants.

It is important to educate yourself about your legal rights as a landlord, so that you can protect your property and your financial investment.

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The best way to start a positive rental relationship is by creating a Maui rental/lease agreement. If you want to avoid the possibility of poor communication and future conflict, this is a definite must-do.

Maui Rental/Lease Agreements

Both written and oral Maui rental agreements are legally binding. It is highly recommended that you create a written rental agreement so that you can state the time for agreed rental, provide house rules and state all rental conditions.

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Written agreements may be for any length of time–month-to-month, six-month, one-year and longer. Any time there are any new promises or changes to a rental agreement, you should update your written lease and have it signed by both parties. In addition, landlords should always provide their tenants with a copy of their current lease agreement.*

Oral agreements are usually used for month-to-month rentals. An oral agreement may not exceed a one-year timespan. If you want to insure sure that all “the cards are on the table” regarding rental rules and promises, you are better off making a written rental agreement. This will help to protect your investment, and create a professional formality with your rental arrangement.

Maui Rental Agreements Should Include All Provisions

A Maui rental agreement should include the deposit amount and terms, monthly rental fee and date due, penalties for late rent, terms for an exchange of services (i.e. worktrade), the term of the rental, whether the landlords consent is necessary if original tenant wants to sublet or transfer rental agreement to a new tenant, and an account of inventory (i.e. state of the house, any furnishings, etc). Landlords should review the rental agreement with the tenant present, and both should sign the contract together*

For more information and a more detailed account of Maui Landlord-Tenant Rights, read through the Hawaiʻi Residential Landlord-Tenant Code Chapter 521.

The Handbook for the Hawaiʻi Residential Landlord-Tenant Code is available to the public, and published by the Office of Consumer Protection & Communications Office of the Hawaiʻi State Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. This is the best resource for both landlords and tenants to review regarding concerns and questions regarding rental rights.

Find a link to the pdf here.

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