Lawmakers prepare for when Hawaii eviction moratorium ends

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — An eviction moratorium is in place that is stopping landlords from evicting tenants for not paying rent during the pandemic. It ends on Tuesday, June 8, unless it is extended.

KHON2 follows up with lawmakers who have a plan in case that happens.

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Rep. Troy Hashimoto says they have a proposal that would hopefully help both tenants and landlords and not jam the court systems.

Hashimoto tells KHON2 if a landlord historically needed to evict a tenant because they could not pay their rent, they would have to file a court action and the court would then order both sides to go to mediation.

“We realized if we left it in that matter, the courts would get overwhelmed,” said Hashimoto. “What the courts are really afraid of is just going to be a really long line to get in front of a judge, and you’ll take months and months to to see some type of settlement.”

Lawmakers came up with a proposal that would make mediation a prerequisite to filing an eviction.

“Mediation we believe is going to be a big part in trying to make sure that people can talk with their landlord, with their tenants, to come to an agreement on what type of payments should be made,” he said.

There would be no charge under the measure.

“We’ve been able to secure funding some federal funds to ensure that all these mediations can be free for the next year,” Hashimoto said.

Hashimoto says the measure would not go into effect until the governor’s eviction moratorium ends.

“We’re hoping he will stop that sooner than later, possibly as early as maybe mid July to August, so that we can hopefully get to normal symptoms, some type of normalcy in the eviction process and the landlord-tenant relationship.”

The proposal is not meant to be permanent if it passes.

“It is to be repealed no later than December 31, 2022. So this is not something that will stay on the books forever. It is specifically designed to help because of the pandemic and the situation we have here in Hawaii,” said Sen. Rosalyn Baker.

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