Hawaii
Eviction Process

The CDC issued a halt on evictions until Dec. 31 for qualifying renters. Click here

Timeline. Evicting a tenant in Hawaii can take around 1 to 4 months, depending on the reason for the eviction and whether tenants file an answer and attend the hearing (read more).

Questions? To chat with a Hawaii eviction attorney, Click here

Below are the individual steps of the eviction process in Hawaii.

Step 1: Notice is Posted

Landlords in Hawaii can begin the eviction process for several reasons, including:

  1. Nonpayment of Rent – Once rent is past due, notice must be served giving the tenant the option to pay rent in order to avoid eviction.
  2. Violation of Lease Terms / Rental Agreement – If a tenant violates a provision of a written lease/rental agreement, landlords must give prior notice to the tenant before beginning the eviction proceedings.
  3. No Lease / End of Lease Term (Tenant at Will) – If there is no lease or the term of the lease has ended, the landlord does not need any additional reason to end the tenancy as long as proper notice is given.
  4. Demolition of Rental Unit – If the landlord wants to demolish the rental property, tenants must be given 120 days’ notice prior to eviction.
  5. Short-Term Rental Conversion – If the landlord wants to convert the rental property to a short-term rental unit, the tenant must be given 120 days’ notice prior to eviction.
  6. Condominium Conversion – If the landlord wants to convert the rental property into condominiums, tenants must be given 120 days’ notice prior to eviction.
  7. Illegal Activity – Landlords may be required to give tenants involved in illegal activity time to correct the issue, depending on the type of activity.
NOTES
  • Retaliatory Evictions. It is illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant for complaining to the landlord or to the appropriate local or government agency regarding the property. It is also illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant for joining, supporting, or organizing a tenant organization or union.
  • Evicting a Squatter. If the individual occupying the property did not have the permission of the landlord when initially moving in, does not have a lease (or verbal agreement) and has no history of paying rent, then a landlord/tenant relationship may not be established. As a result, the normal eviction process may not be applicable (read more).

Each possible ground for eviction has its own rules for how the process starts.

Eviction Process for Nonpayment of Rent

A landlord is allowed to evict a tenant for failing to pay rent on time.

According to Hawaii law, rent is considered late the day after it’s due; grace periods (if any) are addressed in the lease/rental agreement.

Once rent is past due, the landlord must provide a 5-Day Notice to Pay if the landlord wants to file an eviction action with the court. This notice gives the tenant the option to pay the past due amount in full within 5 days in order to avoid eviction.

If the tenant does not pay the rent due by the end of the notice period and remains on the property, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.

Eviction Process for Violation of Lease Terms / Rental Agreement

A tenant can be evicted in Hawaii if they do not uphold their responsibilities under the terms of a written lease/rental agreement.

Hawaii landlords must provide tenants with a 10-Day Notice to Comply, giving tenants
10 days to correct the issue in order to avoid eviction.

Typical lease violations under this category could include things like violating a no-smoking policy, having too many people residing in the rental unit, and having a pet when there’s a no-pet policy.

NOTES

Material Health/Safety Violations. Landlords are not required to allow tenants time to correct material/health safety violations, and may give tenants an unconditional Notice to Quit instead.

Property Damage. Landlords are not required to give tenants time to fix any property damage they may have caused, and may give tenants an unconditional Notice to Quit instead.

Note that illegal activity is not included in this category.

If the tenant fails to correct the issue/remains on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.

Eviction Process for No Lease / End of Lease

In the state of Hawaii, if tenants “hold over,” or stay in the rental unit after the rental term has expired, then the landlord must give tenants notice before evicting them. This can include tenants without a written lease and week-to-week and month-to-month tenants.

Often this type of eviction applies to tenants who are at the end of their lease and the landlord doesn’t want to renew.

The amount of time required in the notice depends on the type of tenancy.

  • Anything less than month-to-month – If rent is paid weekly, every two weeks, or some other period that is less than monthly, landlords must provide their tenants with a 10-Day Notice to Quit.
  • Month-to-month – If rent is paid on a month-to-month basis, a landlord must provide the tenant with a 45-Day Notice to Quit.

If the tenant remains on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.

Eviction Process for Demolition of Rental Unit

In the state of Hawaii, if a landlord wants to demolish the rental unit, month-to-month tenants must be given 120 days’ notice before the landlord can proceed with an eviction action.

Tenants do not have the option to stay in the unit and must move out.

If the tenant remains on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.

Eviction Process for Short-Term Rental Conversion

If the landlord wants to convert the rental property into a short-term rental, such as an Airbnb property, month-to-month tenants must be given 120 days’ notice before the landlord can proceed with the eviction process.

Tenants do not have the option to remain in the rental unit, and must move out.

If the tenant remains on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.

Eviction Process for Condominium Conversion

If the landlord wants to convert the rental property into condominiums, month-to-month tenants must be given 120 days’ notice before the landlord can proceed with the eviction process.

Tenants do not have the option to remain in the rental unit, and must move out.

If the tenant remains on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.

Eviction Process for Illegal Activity

Tenants of a rental unit who have created a “common” nuisance must be given 24 hours’ notice to correct the issue.

If the “common” nuisance is not corrected within 24 hours, the landlord must provide tenants with a 5-Day Notice to Quit, giving the tenant 5 days to move out of the rental unit in order to avoid eviction.

For illegal activities that could cause “irremediable” harm other tenants or the rental property, landlords are not required to give tenants time to correct the issue and may instead give tenants an unconditional Notice to Quit.

For all other types of illegal activity that don’t endanger other tenants/rental property, and don’t constitute a common nuisance, tenants may be given a 10-Day Notice to Comply, giving tenants 10 days to correct the issue in order to avoid eviction.

If the tenant fails to correct the issue by the deadline/remains on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.

Questions? To chat with a Hawaii eviction attorney, Click here

Step 2: Complaint is Filed and Served

As the next step in the eviction process, Hawaii landlords must file a complaint in the appropriate court. In the state of Hawaii, this costs $155 regardless of where in the state the case is filed.

The summons and complaint may be served on the tenant by the sheriff, the police chief, a party specifically appointed by the court to serve process, or by anyone over the age of 18 who isn’t part of the case through any one of the following methods :

  1. Giving a copy to the tenant in person
  2. Leaving a copy with someone who resides at the rental unit
  3. Posting a copy in a conspicuous place on the rental unit

Note that Hawaii landlords aren’t required to mail an additional copy of the summons and complaint if it’s posted on the rental unit.

A few days to a few weeks. Hawaii state law doesn’t address how quickly the summons must be issued after the complaint is filed.

Step 3: Answer is Filed

Tenants in Hawaii are required to file an answer with the court 5-7 days after the date the summons was issued in order to appear at the hearing and state why they don’t feel they should be evicted.

If tenants fail to file an answer with the court, the judicial officer may issue a default judgment in favor of the landlord, meaning the tenant would have to move out and the eviction process will continue.

5-7 days. Tenants must file an answer to the complaint within 5-7 days of the date the summons was issued.

Step 4: Court Hearing and Judgment

Hawaii state law doesn’t address how quickly the eviction hearing must be held after the complaint is filed or the tenant’s answer is received.

However, tenants who fail to appear for the eviction hearing will not be allowed to remain in the rental unit. The judicial officer will issue a default judgment in favor of the landlord and the eviction process will continue.

If the judge rules in favor of the landlord, either through a default judgment or at an eviction hearing, a writ of possession will be issued and the eviction process will proceed.

A few days to a few weeks, depending on whether the tenant files an answer or appears for the hearing, and how busy the trial court’s hearing schedule is.

Step 5: Writ of Possession Is Issued

The writ of possession is the tenant’s final notice to leave the rental unit, and gives them the opportunity to remove their belongings before the sheriff returns to the property to forcibly remove them.

If the court has ruled in the landlord’s favor, the landlord will ask the court to issue a writ of possession. Hawaii state law doesn’t specify how quickly the writ must be issued.

If the tenant remains in the rental unit after the writ is issued, possession of the rental unit will be forcibly returned to the landlord.

A few hours to a few days. The landlord must request the writ of possession, but it could be issued as quickly as a few hours after the hearing to several days later.

Step 6: Possession of Property is Returned

Hawaii state law doesn’t specify how long officers have to enforce the writ of possession once it has been received from the court.

If the tenant remains on the property after any grace period in the writ expires (if there is one), they will be forcibly removed from the rental unit.

A few hours to a few weeks, depending on how many other evictions are already scheduled.

Questions? To chat with a Hawaii eviction attorney, Click here

Hawaii Eviction Process Timeline

Below is a summary of the aspects outside of the landlord’s control that dictate the amount of time it takes to evict a tenant in Hawaii. With that being said, these estimates can vary greatly, and some time periods may not include weekends or legal holidays.

  1. Initial Notice Period – between 24 hours and 120 days, depending on the notice type and reason for eviction.
  2. Issuance/Service of Summons and Complaint – A few days to a few weeks, depending on the service method.
  3. Answer is Filed – 5-7 days after the date the summons was issued.
  4. Court Hearing and Ruling on the Eviction – A few days to a few weeks, depending on whether the tenant files an answer and appears for the eviction hearing.
  5. Issuance of Writ of Possession – A few hours to a few days.
  6. Return of Possession – A few hours to a few weeks, depending on how many other evictions are already scheduled.

Flowchart of Hawaii Eviction Process

For additional questions about the eviction process in Hawaii, please refer to the official legislation, Hawaii Revised Statutes §§521-68 to 521-72, and §§666-1 to 666-41, for more information.