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COVID-19 Information for Hawaii

The purpose of this page is to provide apartment industry professionals with an overview of the issues affecting our industry with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic. The page is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute, and should not be construed as, legal advice. This resource is not intended to provide a mandatory standard of care for the industry.

State Legal and Regulatory Information

We highly suggest you contact a local attorney before you decide to initiate an eviction action against a resident in the current environment as overlaying federal, state and county laws or restrictions on the judicial process may apply. This includes: issuing a notice to vacate, initiating any eviction-related action, or assessing fees or penalties on residents for nonpayment of rent or other lease violations. In addition to the below, you can access NAA's statutory information on late fees, eviction laws, and other policy issues.

Shelter in Place 

Effective Thursday, May 7, 2020, Hawaii will allows residents to leave their homes to patronize certain businesses and activities under the new “Safer-at-Home” order. The order lists the businesses/operations designated for re-opening and outlines specific safety guidelines for each. It also includes county-specific requirements. For example, retail businesses on Oʻahu may not open until Friday, May 15, 2020 and Maui County will not allow retail, most repair shops and malls to reopen at this time.

These businesses/operations are required to follow the social distancing requirements in the order. They also are encouraged to follow the applicable guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control.

State of Emergency

Governor David Ige declared a state of emergency on March 4.

Eviction

State Supreme Court Order

Suspension of all trials in civil, criminal, and family courts until after Friday, May 29, 2020 or the termination of the state of emergency by the Governor, whichever is sooner. 

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

The Hawaiian Homes Commission (HHC) has approved the establishment of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program. The program will provide eligible native Hawaiian beneficiaries who are on the Department’s Applicant Waiting List, as of Dec. 31, 2018, with rental assistance using Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant funds.

These funds were made available in accordance with the Native Hawaiian Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act and other federal laws, including Public Law 115-141 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018. The Consolidated Appropriations Act allows NHHBG funds to be used to provide rental assistance to eligible Native Hawaiian families both on and off Hawaiian Home Lands.

Under the established program, eligible beneficiaries who have experienced a loss of income or job as a result of COVID-19 may qualify for assistance for the payment of their security deposit and/or rent on a month-to-month basis for up to six months.

Rent Freeze

No rent freeze is in effect at the state or local level. There is no statute preempting local rent regulation. 

Price-Gouging Law

Under Hawaii Code, § 127A-30, it is unlawful to increase the selling price of any commodity. Additionally, no landlord shall terminate any tenancy for a residential dwelling unit in the area that is the subject of the proclamation.