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Hawaii Landlord Retaliatory Eviction and Rent Increase

The Hawaii Residential Landlord-Tenant Code, Chapter 521 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS) prohibits a landlord from retaliating against a tenant in the following manner:

Retaliatory Evictions and Rent Increases

If the tenant has complained to the Department of Health, the Office of Consumer Protection, the landlord, or any
governmental agency concerning conditions which violate health laws, or if the tenant has, in good faith, requested repairs or the landlord’s compliance with any provision of he Landlord-Tenant Code, the landlord may not take any action to recover possession of the unit, increase the rent, decrease any services incident to the rental or evict the
tenant as long as the tenant has paid and continues to pay the rent on time. In these circumstances, such action by the landlord will be deemed to be retaliatory, and is prohibited.

However, even if the circumstances for a retaliatory eviction exist, the landlord may recover possession of the dwelling unit if certain other conditions also exist. These other situations are where:

  • The tenant is committing waste; or is a nuisance, or is using the dwelling illegally or not as a home in violation of the rental agreement.
  • The landlord wishes to occupy the dwelling for immediate use as the landlord’s own residence or that of the landlord’s immediate family.
  • The landlord wishes to substantially alter, remodel, or demolish the premises.
  • The landlord has contracted to sell the property, or to use it as the purchaser’s own home.
  • The tenant’s complaint to the Department of Health results in a determination that
    there was no violation of the health laws.

The landlord may increase the rent where:

  • The landlord has a substantial increase in taxes or operating costs, not caused by complying with the tenant’s complaint, and not less than four months before the demand for the increased rent.
  • The landlord has completed a capital improvement of the dwelling.
  • The tenant’s complaint concerns a defect caused by the tenant.
  • The landlord can show that the rent demand does not exceed the rent charged to tenants of similar dwelling units in the landlord’s building.

Note that the exception in paragraph B, where the landlord or the landlord’s family will occupy the premises, is applicable only to retaliatory evictions. It can never serve as a basis for terminating a fixed term rental agreement prior to the expiration of the term.

See also Hawaii Landlord Unlawful Removal or Exclusion of Tenant.

Return to Hawaii Landlord-Tenant Laws.