Hawaii News

State implements tenant screening fee regulations for Hawai‘i residents

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As of May 1, a new law governing tenant screening fees was put in motion to help protect renters and promote transparency in the rental application process.

Enacted as Act 200 (SLH 2023), the law prohibits a landlord from charging an applicant for a residential dwelling unit, a tenant screening fee that is more than the actual cost to obtain information about the applicant.

Charges that exceed the cost of obtaining information about the applicant must be returned to the applicant. Landlords must refund the tenant any fees not used for authorized costs within 30 days of submitting the screening request.

The fee can only be charged at the time the rental application is processed and may only be charged to an adult 18 years and older or an emancipated minor who is applying to rent the residential dwelling unit.

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The law aims to ensure fairness in the tenant screening process and shield applicants from unreasonable fees. Landlords are encouraged to familiarize themselves with these requirements to remain compliant with the law. A Frequently Asked Questions document is available online here.

For more information, landlords and tenants can refer to Hawai‘i Revised Statutes § 521-46; visit https://cca.hawaii.gov/ocp/landlord-tenant/, or call the Office of Consumer Protection at 808-586-2634.

OCP operates the Hawai‘i Residential Landlord-Tenant Information Center. This free service offers information to the general public about Hawai‘i’s Residential Landlord-Tenant Code and other laws affecting residential landlords and tenants. Callers can access the Information Center between 8 a.m. and noon.

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If you encounter a pre-recorded message, please leave a message and your call will be returned in the order it was received on the same or next business day.

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