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Tuesday, October 24, 2023
Lahaina: AG Looking for Illegal Evictions and Rent Hikes
By News Release @ 4:14 PM :: 1395 Views :: Maui County, Law Enforcement

ATTORNEY GENERAL LOPEZ SEEKS INFORMATION REGARDING ILLEGAL RESIDENTIAL RENT INCREASES, EVICTIONS ON THE ISLAND OF MAUI

News Release from Hawaii Attorney General, October 23, 2023

HONOLULU – Attorney General Anne Lopez is asking residential rental tenants on the island of Maui to inform the Department of the Attorney General if their landlords are illegally raising rent or threatening them with eviction for failure to pay rent, taxes, or fees.

Under the Seventh Proclamation Relating to Wildfires, signed by Governor Josh Green, M.D. (the Emergency Proclamation), the landlord of a residential dwelling unit on the island of Maui is prohibited from charging more rent than what was being assessed as of August 9, 2023, unless such rent increase is contained in a written agreement that was signed by the tenant prior to August 9, 2023.

It does not matter if the landlord re-rents the property to a new tenant or enters into a new agreement with the same tenant—the rent cannot exceed what was being assessed as of August 9, 2023, so long as the prohibition on rent increases in the Emergency Proclamation and subsequent emergency proclamations remains in effect.

Additionally, under the Emergency Proclamation, a landlord on the island of Maui is prohibited from initiating, continuing, or prosecuting an eviction action against a residential rental tenant for failure to pay all or any portion of the rent, maintenance fees, utility charges, taxes, or other fees for the residential unit. Given this prohibition, merely threatening eviction under such circumstances may constitute an unlawful act.

Landlords violating these provisions of the Emergency Proclamation may be subject to penalties and remedies as provided by law, including civil penalties of up to $10,000 per day. See sections 127A-30(e) and 480-3.1, Hawaii Revised Statutes.

“We are aware of reports of Maui landlords raising rent beyond what was being assessed for the same unit as of August 9, 2023,” said Attorney General Lopez. “The purpose of the rent and eviction restrictions in the Emergency Proclamation is to address the unprecedented humanitarian crisis caused by the August wildfires. If you believe that a landlord on Maui is acting illegally under the Emergency Proclamation, report what you know to the Department of the Attorney General.”

If you would like to report a Maui landlord for potentially violating the terms of the Emergency Proclamation, email your complaint to hawaiiag@hawaii.gov.

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