Landlords can’t hike deposits for pet owners
We recently sold our condo and will be moving to the mainland. Until then we are renters with two cats. When it was clear we could not find temporary homes for the cats, I asked our landlord if we could bring them to the rental and pay a pet deposit. She said she could not charge a pet deposit, but would allow them as long as we completed a pet addendum -- an agreement that we pay for any repairs or cleaning of anything incidental to the cats residing in the unit. The lady who bought our condo has two cats and a dog and had been charged a pet deposit over $1,000, separate from the security deposit, at her former rental. I asked our landlord why she didn't charge a pet deposit, and she said it is illegal to do so. Can you do Hawaii renters a big service by mentioning this illegal practice?
Answer: Charging a pet deposit on top of a security deposit is prohibited under state law.
The state Office of Consumer Protection directed us to Section 521-44(b) of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, which says the "landlord may require as a condition of a rental agreement a security deposit to be paid by or for the tenant for the items in subsection (a) and no others, in an amount not in excess of a sum equal to one month's rent. The landlord may not require or receive from or on behalf of a tenant at the beginning of a rental agreement any money other than the money for the first month's rent and a security deposit as provided in this section."
Subsection (a) says the security deposit can be withheld by the landlord to pay for accidental or intentional damage caused by the tenant, to clean the dwelling unit or have it cleaned at the end of the rental agreement and/or to compensate for damage cause by a tenant who wrongfully leaves the unit.
So whatever damage is caused by a pet should be covered by the security deposit, according to the Office of Consumer Protection.
Pet owners with further questions or who are being charged a pet deposit are advised to call the state's landlord-tenant hot line at 586-2634 for more information.
Q: Is there a number at Honolulu Airport that we can call to have someone paged? I was delayed because of a flat tire and could not get to the airport in time to pick up my elderly mother, who had no cell phone. I couldn't find any number to have her paged.
A: To have someone paged because of an emergency situation, call the Visitor Information Program, 836-6413.
"They will get in touch with the airport communications office, which would handle the page directly," said Tammy Mori, spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation.
You can also call VIP for any other questions or concerns, she said.
"You can dial that number from your cell phone, or there are also white phones stationed throughout the airport with big signs that say 'Visitor Information Program' on it," Mori said.
Both the VIP line and the airport communications office are staffed 24/7.
Got a question or complaint?
Call 529-4773, fax 529-4750, or write to Kokua Line, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu 96813. As many as possible will be answered. E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
. See also: Useful phone numbers