The Hawaii sublease agreement is a legal contract that allows a tenant to rent out all or a portion of the property to a subtenant in exchange for regular payments.
Does a Tenant Need the Landlord’s Permission to Sublet in Hawaii?
In Hawaii, a tenant does need a landlord’s explicit written permission to sublet. Even after consent is given, a landlord still has the right to reject a subtenant if they are unqualified, such as for having a criminal history or bankruptcy.
Standard Hawaii Sublease Agreements
Here’s what is generally included in a Hawaii sublease agreement:
- The Names of the Parties – The original tenant under the lease is named in the sublease and is called the “Sublessor.” The third party that is subleasing the rental unit is named in the sublease and is called the “Sublessee.”
- Rental Unit Location – The address for the rental unit as described in the original lease.
- Term – The exact date of the sublease beginning and ending date.
- Rent – How much the rent is, when it needs to be paid, and how to pay it.
- Utilities – The utilities that are to be paid by the Sublessee and those to be paid by the Sublessor.
- Security Deposit – Hawaii state law limits a security deposit to a maximum of one month’s rent. The security deposit is held by the Sublessor (not the landlord).
- Pet Deposit – A pet deposit may be an additional amount not to exceed one month’s rent. So, if a tenant has a pet, the landlord can collect a total of up to two months’ rent as a deposit.
- Return of Security Deposit – Hawaii landlords must return a security deposit by mail within 14 days after the lease term ends. If the landlord intends to make deductions, they must include an itemized statement of deductions.
- Liability – The sublessee will be liable for any damages to the Sublessor. The Sublessor has the ultimate responsibility to pay for any damages that impact the landlord as stated in the master lease agreement.
- Authorized Occupants – This identifies the new tenant(s) and those authorized to live in the rental unit including any policy about short-term guests.
- Inventory of Included Items – The list of items in the rental unit that are part of the sublease which may include furniture or appliances.
- Lead-Based Paint Notice – Under Federal Law, if the rental unit’s premises were built before 1978, the Sublessee must be given a written warning notice, called a Lead-Based Paint Disclosure.
- Master Lease Inclusion – A copy of the original lease is attached to the sublease. If any exceptions in the original lease are not included they should be clearly stated in this section.
- Disputes – A description of how disputes between the Sublessor and Sublessee are to be settled, which may include mediation and binding arbitration to avoid more expensive legal proceedings.
- General Conditions – A statement that the written sublease agreement contains all of the agreements between the parties and can only be modified by written consent of the parties to the agreement.
- Smoking Policy – If smoking is restricted in the rental unit and any designated smoking areas are identified in the sublease.
- Landlord’s Consent – This section describes how the landlord is asked to consent (if consent is not already included in the original lease). Tenants may create a signed sublease that is conditional on being accepted by the landlord before the sublease becomes effective.
- Signature: The signature and date for the Sublessor, the Sublessee, any Co-Sublessors, and Co-Sublessees (if they exist).
Tax Implications of a Sublease
In Hawaii, a sublessor may be subject to general excise tax (GET), transient accommodation tax (TAT), and other local taxes if they sublease for less than 180 days.
For example, on O’ahu, a sublessor may be required to pay:
- General Excise Tax – 4.5%
- Transient Accommodation Tax – 10.25%
- O’ahu Transient Accommodation Tax – 3%