What's the law?
Employee-tenant told to vacate house
I have a question about a month-to-month lease that I am in and a 45-day notice to vacate that I received.
I was employed by a property management company that got fired, and a new management company took over.
I live on the property, so when I signed a lease with the old company, I was put on a month-to-month lease and did not have to pay a security deposit, along with getting a discount on my rent. When the new company came in, they had a meeting with all the managers and asked if there was anyone that they wanted to let go. I was not on very good terms with my manager, and I guess it was her opportunity to say that I was not performing at my job and the new company shouldn't keep me on. So when she told me this she also handed me a 45-day notice to get out of my house. I asked if I could stay and apply through the new management company as a regular applicant, pay a security deposit, etc., but she told me no, that I would have to get out.
Can they give me the 45-day notice on the basis that I no longer work there? I am willing to apply just like anyone else, and I know that other people have quit and they were still able to stay in the house, so I don't see what would be the difference. I already feel that I was discriminated against, and now I have to move out of my home, move my daughter to a new school, etc. I want to know if they can legally do what they are doing.
Answer: From the supervising attorney of Legal Aid's Housing Unit: The Residential Landlord-Tenant Code Section 521-71(a) says a landlord can terminate a rental agreement by giving 45 days' notice in writing. The landlord does not have to give a reason.
If the tenant stays past the 45-day period, it becomes a holdover tenancy, and under 521-71(e) the landlord can collect twice the monthly rent. There is more to this than landlord-tenant. You might be considered an employee, and can check with an attorney regarding your rights about being fired without cause.
Legal Aid Society of Hawaii operates statewide. Practice areas include housing, public benefits, consumer and family law but not criminal law. For information, call 536-4302. Submit questions by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
or by U.S. mail to Legal Aid Q&A, 924 Bethel St., Honolulu, HI 96813.