May 10, 2016
Absentee Landlords. At one time most of our off-island owners who rented their units had local agents. This helped their tenants and provided the Association with a local contact in case there were problems with the unit.
The rapid development of the internet and of online sites allowing rentals by absentee owners has led many owners to abandon the practice of having a local agent.
This practice is a problem on several levels.
On the most basic level, an absentee owner renting her unit is in violation of Hawai‘i Revised Statutes (HRS) 521-43(f), which states:
Any owner or landlord who resides without the State or on another island from where the rental unit is located shall designate on the written rental agreement an agent residing on the same island where the unit is located to act in the owner’s or landlord’s behalf. In the case of an oral rental agreement, the information shall be supplied to the tenant, on demand, in a written statement.
Next, when problems arise with a unit or its tenants and there is no local agent we can contact, then those problems inevitably get worse instead of being resolved. We have encountered water leaks originating in units with absentee landlords and no local agent to address the source of the leak.
Finally, while online rental sites are attractive and easy for owners to use, they also open the door to scams and theft. We have, for example, run into several instances of tenants renting from an owner then going online and posing as unit owners in order illegally to sub-let the unit.
If you are an absentee landlord, please be aware of your legal responsibility to have a local agent who can act on your behalf.
Board Members. Mike McGuire’s recent resignation leaves a vacancy on the Board until next year’s Annual Meeting.
If you are an owner, or if you know an owner, interested in serving on the Board, please contact Board President Bob Ivanoff via email at bobATwaikikibanyan.org.