Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024|
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Hawaii Island’s two nonprofit mediation centers have teamed up to continue free Zoom mediation for landlords and tenants now that landlords are no longer required to send a 15-day eviction notice.
The Free Hawaii County Landlord Tenant Mediation Program can help landlords and tenants negotiate a variety of issues, including payment plans for back rent, plans for rent going forward, applying for rental assistance together, move-out options, repairs and damages, security deposits, and other agreements to meet the needs of both landlord and tenant.
The new Hawaii County program runs from Sept. 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023. Mediations are at no cost and have a quick turnaround time, usually two to six weeks, so that issues can be discussed when they are the most helpful for the parties.
Referrals can be from any source, including self, attorney, or court.
“The need for this program in the county is still there and luckily the funds are there, too,” said Ku‘ikahi Mediation Center Executive Director Julie Mitchell. “This is a good option for both parties, because sometimes opening lines of communication between renters and owners can resolve the issue and we’ve seen it happen for the past year.”
Mediation provides a neutral setting for landlords and tenants to discuss how to move forward and come to a decision themselves.
“Our goal is to help renters and property owners or managers work together to find solutions, ideally saving both from a potentially lengthy and costly court process,” stated West Hawaii Mediation Center Executive Director Eric Paul. “Through mediation, landlords and tenants are often able to identify positive steps each can take to avoid court altogether.”
Although landlords are no longer required to send a 15-day request-to-vacate notice for non-payment of rent, other notices are still in effect as outlined in the Hawaii Residential Landlord-Tenant Code.
Throughout the first mediation program, hundreds of Hawaii County cases were successfully diverted to mediation and prevented courts from being inundated with summary possession cases for unpaid back rent as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the mediation centers.
For rental units in East Hawaii, contact Ku‘ikahi Mediation Center at (808) 935-7844 ext. 8, firstname.lastname@example.org, or hawaiimediation.org/landlordtenant.
For rental units in West Hawaii, contact West Hawaii Mediation Center at (808) 885-5525, email@example.com, or whmediation.org/our-services/landlord-tenant.
Email Kelsey Walling at firstname.lastname@example.org
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