Landlord Tenant Q&A with CARL L. FRAZIER, B, (R)

CARL L. FRAZIER, B, (R), PB, RMP
Owner, Principal Broker
Cornerstone Properties
Past President, Oahu Chapter
National Association of Residential Property Managers and
National Conference Speaker

Q. I’m a landlord and recently my tenant just stopped paying rent so I went down to the courthouse and got the papers I needed to evict him. I filed the papers and got me one sheriff to server him. Well, I got to court and the judge asked me for a copy of the five days to pay or vacate notice. I asked him, “What’s that…?” The judge dismissed my case. So, what is that five day to pay thing?

A. That’s a good question. It’s basically the first step in the eviction process. And since you missed the first step, the other steps don’t count. According to the latest revision of the Hawaii Association of Realtors Standard Form, Rental Agreement, Standard Term 14-C-1: Failure to Pay Rent. If Tenant does not pay the rent or other sums due Landlord, Landlord may give Tenant written notice demanding payment. If the rent is not paid within the time specified in the notice (not less than five (5) business days) after receipt of that notice, Landlord may terminate this Rental Agreement.

The Landlord Tenant Code, 521-68 (a) and (b) states the following: (a) A landlord or the landlord’s agent may, anytime after rent is due, demand payment thereof and notify in writing that unless payment is made with a time mentioned in the notice, not less than five business days (So… don’t say payment is due immediately!) after receipt thereof, the rental agreement will be terminated. If the tenant cannot be served with notice as required, notice may be given the tenant by posting the same in a conspicuous place on the dwelling unit. If the tenant remains in default, the landlord may thereafter bring a summary proceeding for possession of the dwelling unit or any other proper proceeding, action, or suit for possession. (b) A landlord or the landlord’s agent may bring an action for rent alone any time after the landlord has demanded payment of past due rent and notified the tenant of the landlord’s intention to bring such an action.

So, before you can evict you must give the five days to pay notice, in writing. The key is five business days, not calendar days. Do this first, then file for eviction, if the tenant has not paid after the five business days after receipt of the notice have passed. Like it says above, “may bring action any time after…..” Good luck. I personally would suggest you use an attorney. There are attorneys that specialize in evictions.

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