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Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Thursday, March 2, 2000

Inspect that rental
before signing lease

Question: Can you run a checklist of what people should be aware of when they rent an apartment? Things like checking the lint catcher in the back of the dryer, making sure all the valves for the water connection are loose enough to shut off, that electrical fuses aren't all rusty. People in general should be warned to be wise. I wish I had known of what to check before I signed a lease. Now I have a year lease and I can't get the landlord's attention.

Answer: The best place to get advice and information or to register a complaint regarding rental units is the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. Call the Residential Landlord Tenant Line, 586-2634, 8 a.m. to noon, Monday-Friday, except holidays.

You can also get information at the DCCA Web site,

Or you can call Consumer Dial, 587-1234, and punch in the following four-digit codes: 7122, Landlord-Tenant Code; 7610, Landlord-Tenant Code Handbook; 7660, directory of Landlord-Tenant Code messages; 7661, security deposits; 7662, access; 7663, repairs; 7664, failure to pay rent; 7665, lockouts and turning off utilities; 7666, termination; 7667, abandoned items left in the unit; and 7668, volunteer program.

Message 7122 reaffirms your advice: Prospective tenants should always inspect rental units carefully beforehand. "All damage and problems needing correction should be identified with the landlord and noted in the rental contract or the landlord may hold the new tenant responsible for existing problems later," it says.

Q: In response to the complaint about being called to serve jury duty, I am a bit disappointed to learn that there are some who would not welcome the opportunity to perform a fundamental civic obligation. I would welcome the opportunity to serve every year. Unfortunately, I have been summoned only once, although I have voted in every election for the past 22 years, been driving for 25 and filed tax returns for the past 22. Is there a number I can call to volunteer?

A: No, because neither the state nor federal court accepts volunteers. The idea is to get a random selection of jurors. Asking for volunteers would taint that process.

Q: Does anyone have any idea what the large boom was that occurred about 1 a.m. Sunday in downtown Honolulu? It shook our apartment and set dozens of car alarms off.

A: We checked with Joe Reed, administrator for Oahu Civil Defense, who wasn't aware of anything out of the ordinary occurring at that hour.

He said he would have been notified if an earthquake had occurred and, if an explosive device had gone off, police would have contacted his office because "we have procedures for that."

Perhaps it was a sonic boom, as happened in early February, when residents of south Kauai were jolted by what they thought was an earthquake. At that time, the Hawaii Air National Guard said its jets, during training, may have been responsible. But not this time, a spokesman said.


To the lady in the Honda Accord EX. On Feb. 19, you left your infant in your car with all the windows rolled down! We stayed with your baby until you returned from your credit union. You may think it just took a few minutes to do your errand, however, next time, please take your baby with you. We may not be there to watch him next time you leave him alone. -- No name

Need help with problems? Call Kokua Line at 525-8686,
fax 525-6711, or write to P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
Email to

E-mail to City Desk

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