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Hawai`i Landlord -Tenant Law: Security Deposits

This guide provides an overview of landlord-tenant law in Hawaii.

Landlord's Use of Security Deposits

Under Hawaii law, landlords may use a tenant’s security deposit only for the following instances:

(1)  To remedy a tenant’s defaults:

(a) for accidental or intentional damages resulting from failure to comply with Section 521-51 of Hawaii’s Residential Landlord-Tenant Code,

(b) for failure to pay rent due, or

(c) for failure to return all keys furnished by the landlord at the termination of the Hawaii rental agreement;

(2)  To clean the dwelling unit or have it cleaned at the termination of the Hawaii rental agreement so as to place the condition of the dwelling unit in as fit a condition as that which the tenant entered into possession of the dwelling unit; and

(3)  To compensate for damages caused by a tenant who wrongfully quits the dwelling unit.

   

Hawaii’s Rules for Returning Security Deposits

Does Hawaii law limit how much a landlord can charge a tenant for a security deposit?

A landlord may only charge a tenant the equivalent of one month's rent for the security deposit.  Please note a landlords may require an additional deposit of one month's rent for tenants who keep a pet.  Nonrefundable fees are not permitted, (See: Haw. Rev. Stat. § 521.44).

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). (See: Haw. Rev. Stat. § 521.44).

Tenant's Steps for Security Deposit Refund

1. 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) (See: Haw. Rev. Stat. 521-44(c)).

2. If the landlord retains any amounts from the security deposits, the landlord must provide a written accounting  with copies of invoices or receipts  (See: Haw. Rev. Stat. 521-44(c)).

3. If the landlord fails to return the security deposit and written notice within 14 days after the termination of the rental agreement, the landlord is not entitled to retain any part of the security deposit (See: Haw. Rev. Stat. 521-44(c)).