Honolulu, Hawaii



RE:    H.B. No. 858

       H.D. 2

       S.D. 1




Honorable Donna Mercado Kim

President of the Senate

Twenty-Eighth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2015

State of Hawaii




     Your Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection, to which was referred H.B. No. 858, H.D. 2, entitled:




begs leave to report as follows:


     The purpose and intent of this measure is to:


     (1)  Permit the termination of residential rental agreements in cases of domestic violence; and


     (2)  Specify additional procedures under the residential landlord-tenant code for instances of domestic violence.


     Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from PHOCUSED, Catholic Charities Hawaii, Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice, Ala Kuola, and four individuals.  Your Committee received testimony in opposition to this measure from one individual.  Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Hawaii Association of REALTORS.


     Your Committee finds that housing is a critical issue for domestic violence victims.  Inability to exit a rental agreement quickly and without penalties or fees may serve as a barrier that prevents a domestic violence victim from leaving an abusive relationship.  Domestic violence victims who break a rental agreement in an effort to exit a dangerous situation may be unable to pay fees or other associated penalties.  This can have a negative impact on a victim's credit, which may make it more difficult to secure housing at a later date.  Your Committee further finds that this measure enables victims of domestic violence to terminate residential rental agreements and specifies procedures under the residential landlord-tenant code for instances of domestic violence, thereby strengthening protections for domestic violence in the community.


     Your Committee has amended this measure by:


     (1)  Clarifying requirements for a landlord to refund security deposits or prepaid rent following the termination of the rental agreement;


     (2)  Specifying that the percentage of any security deposit to be returned shall be determined by the court or by the parties in writing, but permitting the landlord to refund the security deposit in equal shares to each tenant on the rental agreement, if there is no court determination or agreement from the parties in writing;


     (3)  Inserting an effective date of November 1, 2015; and


     (4)  Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.


     As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 858, H.D. 2, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 858, H.D. 2, S.D. 1, and be referred to the Committee on Judiciary and Labor.


Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection,