Kihei, HI asked in Criminal Law and Landlord - Tenant for Hawaii

Q: Can a landlord make a police report on a tenant for criminal property damage? Tenant and guest damaged rental property.

Tenant and tenant's guest severely damaged glass windows and removed window screens of rental property. Tenant has overstayed their 45 days notice to vacate and has not paid any rent has become a nonpaying holdover tenant.

1 Lawyer Answer
Mark Simonds
Mark Simonds
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Haiku, HI
  • Licensed in Hawaii

A: In Hawaii, under your scenario, a person commits the offense of criminal property damage if by means other than fire (which would be arson), the person intentionally or knowingly damages the property of another without the other's consent. As the rental unit is your property you are well within your rights to make a police report. The police may advise you it is a “civil matter” but that does not mean you cannot request the police and prosecutor’s office pursue charges.

Also, please keep in mind that you, as Landlord, you have remedies under Chapter 571 HRS with respect to withholding all or part of the tenant security deposit to make repairs to the rental unit. I wish you the best of luck.

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