Property owners who rent out their homes often struggle with the issue of whether or not they should allow pets into their rental properties. Prior to 2013, Hawaii law limited the amount that a property owner could collect as a security deposit to the amount of one month’s rent. This limitation caused many property owners to restrict renting their properties to owners who had pets. However, in 2013 the Hawaii state legislature passed SB 328 which allows a property owner to collect an additional pet deposit no more than one month’s rent in addition to the regular security deposit. The purpose of the bill was to encourage property owners to allow pets in their rental properties.
The Hawaii Humane Society estimates that nearly 60% of the households on Oahu own at least one pet. Therefore property owners who do not allow pets could turn away over 50% of their potential applicants from their rental. Some Home Owner Associations and AOAO’s may have additional restrictions on pets and property owners should be aware of these restrictions when considering whether or not to allow pets into their rental property.
Property owners can also limit the amount of pets or size of pets they will allow into their rental properties. This is another way for property owners to limit the impacts a pet or pets may have on the property. Please note that assistance animals are not subject to either the pet deposit or any pet restrictions and property owners cannot refuse to rent to a tenant who has an assistance animal that provides a reasonable accommodation for a disability.
Ultimately it is up to the property owner’s preference and discretion whether or not to allow pets into their rental units. In today’s tight rental market, an owner can rent their unit with pet restrictions, however as the rental market changes, property owners may want to reconsider any pet restrictions.