New Hawaii Law Allows Property Owners to Collect Deposit for Pets that Reside in Rental Units

Effective Nov. 1, property owners and tenants will be able to negotiate their contracts to allow a household pet to reside on the premises. This provision will allow more Hawaii residents to adopt companion animals and bring them into their homes, and also decrease the number of pets surrendered to shelters in the future due to housing issues.

Property owners could not collect a pet deposit prior to the enactment of this legislation, and some landlords and building managers were reluctant to rent to tenants with pets because they were unable to add an additional deposit for any pet related damage.

The new provision allows property managers and tenants to negotiate a deposit, not to exceed one month’s rent, to allow a pet to reside in the rental unit. Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed Senate Bill 328, sponsored by Sen. Clayton Hee, on July 26, 2013, which allowed a six month period for rental contracts to be amended to allow for a pet.

SB328Inga Gibson, Hawaii state director for The Humane Society of the United States said: “We hope this new law will create access to more pet-friendly housing to keep pets and people together, and to reduce the number of pets surrendered to shelters or abandoned due to housing issues. Furthermore, property managers and tenants can now agree on a single deposit, rather than charging more each month in rent to have a pet as some property managers have been doing instead.”

Dale Bordner, President of the Hawai’i Association of REALTORS® representing more than 8,000 REALTORS® in real estate sales and property management, says: “This bill will allow for more pet-friendly opportunities as Hawai’i property owners may be more inclined to allow renters to have pets.”

Facts

  • More than 60 percent of Hawaii households have a pet
  • Housing issues, including lack of access to affordable pet-friendly rentals, are one of the leading reasons people surrender their pets to local shelters
  • Certified assistance animals providing a reasonable accommodation to a tenant are exempt from the deposit requirement per the federal Fair Housing and Americans with Disabilities Act
  • The HSUS provides resources for pet owners seeking a national list of pet-friendly rentals, and property managers seeking free model pet-friendly contracts and housing addendums.

 

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