How to Evict a Tenant (Process)
A tenant residing in Hawaii can be evicted if they fail to vacate a residency or correct a violation of their rental agreement. The landlord may take action against the tenant by filing a Complaint for Summary Possession with the district court. If the court rules in favor of the landlord, a Writ of Possession (a.k.a. Forcible Entry and Detainer) will be issued. This document authorizes the sheriff or other law enforcement to remove the tenant from the rental unit.
Step 1 – Choose the Correct Notice Type
You will need to give the tenant an eviction letter, referred to as a “Notice to Quit,” indicating the period in which they must vacate the premises or resolve the issue for their eviction. Review the information below to determine the notice type which suits your eviction circumstance.
5-Day Notice to Quit – If the tenant fails to pay rent by the predetermined due date.
5-Day Notice to Quit – If the tenant, or invitee or employee of the tenant, causes a nuisance.
10-Day Notice to Quit – If the tenant is non-compliant with the rules of the dwelling.
45-Day Notice to Quit – If the landlord decides to terminate a month-to-month tenancy.
A notice period of one-hundred and twenty (120) days shall be given to the tenant if their lease is being terminated due to a voluntary demolition or if the dwelling is being converted to a condominium or transient vacation rental.
Note: A tenant who causes irremediable harm to the property or a person residing therein may be evicted without notice.
Step 2 – Deliver the Notice to Quit
Fill out the notice and make a photocopy of the form once completed. The original document must be served to the tenant by certified mail, personal delivery, or left in a conspicuous location on the premises of the dwelling.
Step 3 – Prepare Complaint
If the tenant fails to exit the dwelling or resolve the issue of their eviction (e.g., pay rent, comply with obligations), legal action may be taken by filing a Complaint for Summary Possession. Begin this process by downloading the Complaint form for your county.
Complaint for Summary Possession:
Maui, Molokai Lanai County
Step 4 – File the Complaint
Complete the Complaint for Summary Possession and bring it to the district court in your county. Your filings must also include a copy of the tenant’s rental agreement and all amendments (if applicable), a copy of the Notice to Quit, a Civil Information Sheet, and a filing fee of $155. All items must be filed with a clerk.
Sample Complaint for Summary Possession
Step 5 – Serve Summons
After filing, the clerk will arrange a trial date for your case. You will then be issued a Summons that must be served to the tenant; a Summons will inform the individual that they have been requested to appear in court. Serve the paper to the tenant and await your trial (view the District Court Rules of Civil Procedure to learn how a summons must be served).
Step 6 – Attend Initial Trial
Attend your hearing and present your eviction information to the court. The tenant may choose to enter a General Denial plea allowing them to dispute their eviction at a subsequent hearing.
If the tenant fails to appear in court, the judge will issue a Default Judgement settling the case in your favor. You will receive a Writ of Possession indicating the amount owed by the tenant including any additional fees or expenses. This document also permits the sheriff, deputy sheriff, a police officer, or an independent civil process server to remove the tenant and their possessions from the dwelling.
Step 7 – Prepare for Eviction Trial
A second trial may be needed if the tenant disputes the eviction. Prepare for the hearing by gathering all relevant documentation and conferring with your witnesses (if any). Depending on the county, the judge may schedule a pre-trial hearing during which both parties will present the evidence they plan on submitting to the court.
Step 8 – Attend Eviction Trial
Visit the courthouse for your eviction trial and present your case before the judge. If the ruling is in your favor, a Writ of Possession will be issued and served to the tenant by an independent process server, the sheriff, deputy sheriff, or a police officer. In the event that the tenant continues to occupy the residency, the sheriff or another authorized individual may assist you in removing the tenant and their property from the dwelling.
Sample Writ of Possession