The Hawaii Residential Landlord-Tenant Code, Chapter 521 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS) requires emergency repairs of a tenant’s dwelling unit to be handled in the following manner:
If repairs are necessary to provide sanitary and habitable living conditions (including repairs to major appliances and electrical, plumbing or other necessary facilities), the landlord must take steps to start the repairs within three business days from the time the landlord is notified of the condition by the tenant either orally or in writing, unless the repairs were required because of misuse by the tenant.
There is a good faith requirement that the repairs be completed as soon as possible. If the landlord is unable to commence repairs within three business days for reasons beyond the landlord’s control, the landlord shall inform the tenant of the reasons for the delay and set a reasonable tentative date on which repairs will commence.
Tenant Right to Repair and Deduct
If the landlord fails to perform the repairs, the tenant may perform the repairs or have them done. Thereafter, upon providing copies of all receipts to the landlord, the tenant may deduct up to $500 from the next month’s rent to reimburse the cost of repairs.
Section 64(c) & (d)
Health and Safety Repairs
- In the event that a health or safety condition exists in a dwelling which may constitute a violation of a State or County law, code, ordinance, or regulation which is designed to ensure health or safety in a dwelling unit, the tenant should ask the landlord to repair the condition immediately. If repairs are not performed, the tenant should call the Department of Health or other appropriate State or County Agency and ask for an inspection of the condition.
- If the inspection shows that a health or safety violation exists, the landlord must be notified in writing by a state or county agency. The landlord must commence repairs within five business days of this notification. There is a good faith requirement that the repairs be completed as soon as possible.
- If the landlord is unable to commence the repairs within five business days for reasons beyond the landlord’s control, the landlord must inform the tenant of the reason for the delay and set a reasonable tentative date on which repairs will commence.
- If the landlord does not commence the repairs as described above, the tenant may do either of the following:
- The tenant may perform the repairs or have them done. Then, upon providing all receipts to the landlord, the tenant may deduct up to $500 from the next month’s rent to cover the cost of the repairs.
- The tenant may give the landlord two written estimates from qualified workers, at least five business days before the repair work is scheduled to begin. The landlord may require in writing a reasonable substitute worker or substitute material. Otherwise, the tenant may then proceed to have the necessary work done by the worker who provides the lower estimate. Then, upon providing all receipts to the landlord, the tenant may deduct $500 or one month’s rent, whichever is greater, to cover the cost of the repairs.
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