Most residential leases and rental agreements in Hawaii require a security deposit. This is a dollar amount, usually one month's rent, that's intended to cover damage to the premises beyond normal wear and tear, and to cushion the financial blow if a tenant skips out early on the lease without paying. Here’s a summary of Hawaii landlord-tenant laws that cover the use and return of security deposits.
Does Hawaii law limit how much a landlord can charge a tenant for a security deposit?
Yes. Under Hawaii landlord-tenant laws that set security deposit limits, a landlord may charge a tenant the equivalent of one month's rent for the security deposit; landlords may require an additional deposit of one month's rent for tenants who keep a pet. Nonrefundable fees are not permitted,
To learn more about steps that tenants can take to protect their security deposit after they've paid it, check out Nolo's article Protect Your Security Deposit When You Move In.
What about when a tenant moves out? What is the deadline in Hawaii for returning a security deposit?
Under Hawaii law, a landlord must return the tenant's security deposit within 14 days after the tenant has surrendered the rental property to the landlord (that is, returned the keys and vacated the property).
Learn more about tenants' rights and landlords' obligations when it comes to the return of the security deposit in Nolo's chart Cleaning and Repairs a Landlord Can Deduct from a Security Deposit and Nolo's article Get Your Security Deposit Back.
Is there additional information that Hawaii landlords must provide to tenants when it comes to security deposits in Hawaii?
Not at the state level in Hawaii. But be sure to check your local (county, city, or town) laws to see if your municipality requires landlords to take additional steps when it comes to tenants' security deposits.
Where can I look up Hawaii law on security deposits?
If you want to go right to the source and look up Hawaii law on security deposits -- or if you're writing a letter to your landlord or tenant and want to cite the applicable law -- the relevant statute(s) can be found at Hawaii Revised Statutes § 521-44. Your city or county might have different landlord-tenant and security deposit laws than those at the state level in Hawaii. For tips on looking up Hawaii state and local laws, check out Nolo's State Laws & Legal Research section.
You may also find useful information in the state's tenant guide at http://files.hawaii.gov/dcca/ocp/landlord_tenant/landlord-tenant-handbook.pdf.