Going through Eviction Here’s What You Can Do with Your Honolulu Property

by Oct 30, 2021

After more than a year, Hawaii has finally put an end to its eviction moratorium. Established in April 2020, the state declared an eviction moratorium to put a pause on evictions and gave tenants a permitted delay to fulfill their leases. This was to avoid eviction issues for tenants and landlords in Hawaii.

On August 6 of this year, Hawaii Governor David Ige formally announced the end of the eviction moratorium, to be replaced by Act 57 in HB 1376. This allowed Hawaii’s courts to hear additional evictions, and avoid eviction issues and disputes for Honolulu property.

While the federal government did extend the moratorium until October 5, at present, landlords are now able to have their eviction cases heard in court as long as they comply with HB 1376.

What Is HB 1376?

HB 1376 is a bill established by the state of Hawaii to facilitate eviction cases after the end of the moratorium. HB 1376 enacts the following:

  • The period for a written notice of termination of lease is now extended from a minimum of five (5) days to 15 days.
  • Landlords who wish to terminate the lease must provide notice, specify the terms of termination, and enter into mediation. Landlords must also provide the notice to a free mediation center that offers residential landlord-tenant mediation.
  • If a tenant schedules or attempts to schedule a mediation, it automatically delays when a landlord can seek possession of the rental property.
  • Landlords are also restricted from the above actions if the amount of rent due is not deemed sufficient to file a case.

If a landlord can fulfill these requirements, they will be able to file their case in Hawaii’s courts.

To avoid being overwhelmed, Hawaii’s courts are taking a tiered approach to hearing eviction cases. Cases filed against tenants who are four or more months behind in rent payments will be heard first, followed by tenants three months behind rent, and so on.

How To File For Eviction

Step 1: File A Written Notice For Termination.

The first step to the eviction process is to provide a Notice to Quit. Some states do not require a notice to quit, but as stated in the HB1376, landlords are required to file a notice with both the tenant and a mediation center.

If a tenant is open to mediation, the landlord must comply. If not, they can proceed to the next step.

Step 2: Fill Out The Forms To File A Legal Complaint.

Complying with due process, the state of Hawaii requires landlords to file a legal complaint in the correct district court. So, depending on the specifics of your property, you must file the complaint in the jurisdiction of the appropriate court.

A successful eviction is reliant on the proper filing of a complaint.

Note that the fees to file a legal complaint is $155, whether the eviction is occurring in Honolulu or another district.

Step 3: Serve The Summons And Complaint To The Tenant.

The third step in the eviction process is to serve documents to the tenant. Landlords are not allowed to serve the summons and complaint themselves, but the state of Hawaii does allow any uninvolved individual over the age of 18 to serve the documents. In a pinch, your local sheriff, police chief, or an appointee by the court may also serve the documents.

It is imperative that the exact date and time of the trial be stated in the court summons. You must then wait for the trial.

Step 4: Attend The Trial And Make Your Case For Eviction.

Make sure to attend the trial and make a strong case for evicting the tenant. Be sure to keep good records, physical and digital copies of important documents, as well as back-ups.

A strong case will require you to show that the tenant is either behind on their rent payments or has violated the terms of their lease. Keeping good records of your transactions will allow you to provide the proof to make your case.

If a tenant is unable to attend the trial, the landlord is likely to win by default. On the small chance the judge rules for the tenant regardless of them being unable to appear in court, your records will make the case.

You must wait for the court’s ruling before proceeding to the next step.

Step 5: Obtaining A Writ Of Possession Of The Property And Evicting The Tenant.

If the court rules in your favor, you will obtain a Writ of Possession that gives you leave to evict the tenant. While Hawaii laws do not have a specific period for when the tenant must move out, a date can be specified in the Writ of Possession.

Once the grace period from the Writ of Possession ends, law enforcement may arrive to check that the tenant has vacated the premises.

Ready To Sell Your Home?

Once you’ve gone through the eviction process, you are now left with a rental property and a number of options.

Among your many options is the choice to put the property up for sale. Many landlords have opted to sell their properties as the pandemic continues, in order to offset the cost of missed rent payments and eviction hearings.

If you are a landlord looking to sell to a cash home buyer in Honolulu, we at RC Property Group can help you get started! We offer fast and easy transactions in cash.

Get in touch with us at (808) 773-1415 or send an email to romelyn@rcpropertygroup.com.

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