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Sunday, November 17, 2002


Landlord-tenant problems? | Globalization's benefits



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DAVE SWANN / DSWANN@STARBULLETIN.COM




Got landlord-tenant problems?

Check out a copy of the state code
before going to Small Claims Court


By Michael Ottoson

Your toilet keeps running, the faucets are dripping profusely and you've notified your apartment property manager or owner several times, but he still hasn't fixed it. Sound like a familiar problem, but you don't know what to do? The answer lies in the Landlord-Tenant Code.

The Hawaii Residential Landlord-Tenant Code, compiled and published by Clarice Johnson, contains the Hawaii Revised Statutes, Chapters 521 and 666, which deal with the state laws governing the relationship between landlords and tenants. Although the state does publish a handbook that describes the code, it is not the actual law. One can purchase the entire Hawaii Revised Statutes for several hundred dollars, but most landlords have heretofore had to photocopy the statutes at the public library if they wanted the actual document.

Chapter 521 of the Residential Landlord-Tenant Code is broken down into six parts and covers general provisions and definitions, rent, limitations on rental agreements and practices, landlord obligations, tenant obligations and remedies and penalties. Chapter 666 of the code deals with what happens if the landlord has to take possession of the rental unit and other legal forms and procedures.

One area covered in the Landlord-Tenant Code of concern to both landlords and tenants is the handling of repairs and the disposition of security deposits. Landlords are required to comply with all building and housing laws that affect health and safety; keep premises in a clean and safe condition; make all repairs and arrangements necessary to keep the premises in a habitable condition; maintain all electrical, plumbing, facilities and appliances in good working order; arrange for the removal of trash; and provide running water.

The Landlord-Tenant Code specifies the conditions and time limits under which a landlord must make repairs after receiving written notification from the tenant. Should the landlord fail to make such repairs, or fail to start repairs within the time stated in the code, then the tenant may have repairs made and deduct the cost from his rent, for expenditures under $500. Failure to complete needed repairs are also legitimate grounds for the tenant's cancellation of the lease.

The disposition of security deposits is another area where disputes often arise between landlords and tenants. The purpose of collecting a security deposit from a tenant is to remedy tenant damages to the property, for failure to pay rent due, for failure to return keys furnished by the landlord at the termination of the rental agreement and to cover the cost of cleaning the unit to return it to the same condition as when it was rented. The security deposit may not exceed one month's rent, and must be returned to the tenant within 14 days of the termination of the rental agreement, minus any deductions for damages or cleaning.

Tenants should be aware that if they have a dispute with their landlord that can't be resolved, such disputes are handled by the Small Claims Court in downtown Honolulu, usually through mediation by a professional mediator assigned by the court at a fraction of the cost normally charged by an attorney. Attorneys are not allowed to represent clients in Small Claims Court, and all decisions made by a mediator are binding and final.

Copies of the Hawaii Residential Landlord-Tenant Code are available at the Honolulu Board of Realtors in Kaimuki at 1136 12th Ave., Suite 200, for $15.95. The board's telephone number is 732-3000.


Michael Ottoson is a licensed real estate salesperson in Honolulu.



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Globalization opens door
to new opportunities
for corporations

EXPLAINING THE ECONOMY


By Niti Dubey-Villinger

Globalization presents many opportunities and benefits. The opportunities range from job and wealth creation internal to a country's development to organizational learning across a large multinational corporation. Globalization has contributed to many lasting achievements both for the countries that have opened their doors to investment and for the organizations that have invested in diverse marketplaces.

One of the most lasting contributions of globalization has been job and wealth creation. Investment by companies creates jobs. While it is sometimes true that inefficient companies in a country might experience the loss of jobs, in the long run, investment by foreign companies creates jobs. Not only do the foreign companies create jobs, they also pay higher wages than local companies. Countries that benefit economically from globalization can invest in educating their citizens.

Another significant opportunity arising out of globalization is its investment in people. When companies invest in a country, they are not just building factories.

They are also investing in people. Companies train, coach and develop their employees. Most large companies invest vast resources into the training and development of their employees. Employees gain necessary skills in all areas of business including technology, sales, marketing, operations, and more.

While foreign companies train their local employees, they also bring global standards

In other words, they hope to develop local staff and develop the organization to a global standard of efficiency and effectiveness.

The words "quality" and "productivity" come to mind when speaking of global standards. A highly efficient and well-managed foreign company can be a good influence on a country that aspires to make its industries more competitive in the world marketplace.

Having a foreign company in your country means that you also will be exposing your people to diversity and diverse practices.

Diversity leads to more understanding of foreign peoples and cultures. Hiring women, minorities and those with disabilities encourages diversity in a society. Diversity also can be viewed from the point of view of the types of services or products the company is producing. Exposing people to innovative products or services is not a bad thing.

Finally, globalization is an enormous learning experience for the companies themselves.

Experiences in one country contribute to learning in the organization as a whole. Companies learn from their successes and mistakes in one country and try to improve their practices.

As the companies learn, their products and services improve.

In the end, customers -- that's you and me -- benefit. Globalization is a good opportunity.


Niti Dubey-Villinger is an assistant professor of management at Hawaii Pacific University. She can be reached at nvillinger@hpu.edu


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