Real Estate Law Journal

Landlords Can Require Security Deposit for Animal Damage

By Bruce Voss

Hawaii landlords worried about out-of-control pets damaging their rental units can now require renters to post a security deposit for animal damage.

Under Act 206 of the 2013 Legislature, as part of a rental agreement a landlord may require a security deposit in an amount agreed upon to compensate the landlord for any damages caused by any pet animal allowed to reside in the property.  The “pet deposit” cannot be an amount more than one month’s rent.  A landlord cannot require a pet deposit for an “assistance animal that is a reasonable accommodation for a tenant with a disability.”  Given the disputes that have arisen over service and comfort animals in condo projects, there likely will be similar disagreements over assistance animals in the rental context.

Landlords looking to collect for damage caused by misbehaving pets should carefully document the damage with photographs, and if applicable save portions of the damage (such as the carpet or other flooring) for evidence.

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