DCCA NEWS RELEASE: New Tenant Screening Fee Law to Take Effect on May 1, 2024Posted on Feb 6, 2024 in Latest Department News, Newsroom
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND CONSUMER AFFAIRS
KA ʻOIHANA PILI KĀLEPA
OFFICE OF CONSUMER PROTECTION
JOSH GREEN, M.D.
GOVERNOR | KE KIAʻĀINA
NADINE Y. ANDO
DIRECTOR | KA LUNA HOʻOKELE
THOMAS MANA MORIARTY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 6, 2024
New Tenant Screening Fee Law to Take Effect on May 1, 2024
HONOLULU — In an effort to protect renters and promote transparency in the rental application process, a new law governing tenant screening fees is scheduled to take effect May 1, 2024. The law, enacted as Act 200 (SLH 2023) and codified in Hawai‘i Revised Statutes § 521-46, prohibits a landlord from charging an applicant for a residential dwelling unit, a tenant screening fee that is more than the actual cost to obtain information about the applicant.
Under the new law, charges that exceed the cost of obtaining information about the applicant must be returned to the applicant. Landlords must refund the tenant any fees not used for authorized costs within 30 days of submitting the screening request. The fee can only be charged at the time the rental application is processed and may only be charged to an adult 18 years and older or an emancipated minor who is applying to rent the residential dwelling unit.
The law aims to ensure fairness in the tenant screening process and protect applicants from unreasonable fees. Landlords are encouraged to familiarize themselves with these new requirements to remain compliant with the law. For more information, landlords and tenants can refer to Hawai‘i Revised Statutes § 521-46; visit https://cca.hawaii.gov/ocp/landlord-tenant/, where OCP has published Frequently Asked Questions, or call the Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) at the numbers listed below.
A Frequently Asked Questions document regarding tenant screening fees will be disseminated to real estate industry stakeholders, tenant-advocacy groups, and legal services organizations and is available online at https://cca.hawaii.gov/ocp/TenantScreeningFeeFAQ.
OCP operates the Hawai‘i Residential Landlord-Tenant Information Center. This free service offers information to the general public about Hawai‘i’s Residential Landlord-Tenant Code and other laws affecting residential landlords and tenants. Callers can access the Information Center via one of the numbers listed below between 8:00 AM and 12:00 PM:
- Honolulu Office (O‘ahu/Kaua‘i): 808-586-2634
- Maui Office (Maui/Moloka‘i/Lāna‘i): 808-243-4648
- Hilo Office (Hawai‘i Island): 808-933-0910
If you encounter a pre-recorded message, please leave a message and your call will be returned in the order it was received on the same or next business day.
Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs
Email: [email protected]