CATHERINE M. MATTHEWS (R), GRI
Broker-In Charge, Callahan Realty, Ltd.
Past President, Oahu Chapter
National Association of Residential Property Managers
During our NARPM-sponsored annual “mom & pop landlord” seminar last week, we held a question and answer period where members of the audience had an opportunity to ask questions of a panel of experts. With 250 in attendance, we had many more questions than time. As moderator, I’ve selected a number of submitted questions that require only short answers and included them in this week’s column. Whenever I refer to a lease, I am referring to the Hawaii Association of Realtors Standard Lease.
Q. Is it true that condominium insurance policies handle water claims regardless of who is at fault? A. Yes, this is true but only once the deductible is met. Deductibles can be $5,000, $10,000, or even higher. It is important that, as a condominium homeowner, whether an owner-occupant or an investor, you contact your agent and ensure that your homeowner’s policy covers the amount of the deductible. Law requires that the Homeowners Association provide each owner with an insurance summary on an annual basis. It is important to look at it closely; the property owner bears all responsibility for notifying their insurance agent. You can also obtain this information from the managing agent of the condo association.
Q. If your rental agreement originates as a 6-month lease, does it automatically become a month-to-month lease at the end of the term? A. This depends on how you completed your lease. Section 6: Rental Term has a couple of options. One option states that the lease automatically terminates on a specific date and the tenant is expected to vacate by that date, unless otherwise agreed in writing. The other option says the lease will automatically convert to a month-to-month unless otherwise agreed in writing 30 days prior to the expiration of the fixed term. There can be pros and cons to both approaches, so think about it and decide what is best for your business practice.
Q. Can a landlord put into their lease that they are allowed to go onto their property to harvest fruit, such as mangos? A. Yes, you can do that, but be sure to set parameters for yourself, preferably in writing. You do not want the tenant to have grounds for complaints against you for invading their right to enjoyment or privacy; nor should you want to disturb them. Just be clear, is it once or twice a month at specific times and will the tenant’s approval be required each time.
Q. Where can I get a copy of the Hawaii Association of Realtors Standard Lease agreement if I am not a Realtor? A. The Honolulu Board of Realtors shares only one of their copyrighted forms with the general public and this is the Hawaii Association of Realtors Standard Rental lease. It is available for purchase at the Honolulu Board of Realtors on 12th Avenue for $1.00.
Q. If I have a no smoking addendum in my rental agreement, does this mean I may legally prohibit the smoking of medical marijuana in the unit as well as other substances? A. Yes, if you prohibit smoking, that would cover the smoking of medical marijuana. However the person with the medical condition/ disability may utilize marijuana in other forms, such as edibles.