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Hawaii News | Kokua Line

Kokua Line: PUA won’t save Hawaii landlords whose tenants skip rent during pandemic

Question: My tenants aren’t paying their rent. I have four small units, and under the current situation I don’t want to evict anyone and I couldn’t even if I wanted to, but what little monthly income I had earned after expenses is gone. Can I file for PUA?

Answer: No, landlords generally aren’t eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance to offset unpaid rent, according to the program’s website.

The Hawaii program has posted a clarification online about what counts as self-employment and self-employment income, which states:

“An individual is ‘self-employed’ if the individual performs services for the individual’s own business. A recipient of rental or other passive income is not considered ‘self-employed’ for the purpose of PUA. You will need to provide your 2019 IRS Form 1040, Schedule C, to show the net income from self-employment. Rental and other passive income reported on Form 1040, Schedule E, is not qualifying income for PUA. If you began self-­employment in 2019 that was impacted by COVID, you will need to have business contracts to demonstrate that you were self-employed.”

PUA periodically posts tips and updates at port/s/, which is where we saw the note. From the main PUA website ( pua., find the updates by clicking on the question mark in the top right corner, then clicking on the word “help.”

As you indicated in your question, Gov. David Ige’s Ninth Supplementary Proclamation related to the COVID-19 emergency prevents a landlord from evicting a tenant for failing to pay rent during the emergency period. A landlord can’t raise the rent during the covered period, either.

However, the proclamation does not absolve a tenant from having to pay rent; tenants are obligated to do so. Landlords and tenants are urged to work out feasible payment schedules together. We’ve heard from several tenants — not yours — who said they intend to pay their rent as soon as their unemployment benefits come through.

Find links to the governor’s emergency proclamations on his website, Click on the “News” tab in the blue header, then click on “Emergency Proclamations” under the “Navigation” header in the far right column.

Q: Regarding the public libraries (Kokua Line, June 25), are they taking book donations again?

A: No, you can’t drop off books you want to donate at your local public library; branches that previously offered this service have suspended it for now because of the pandemic.

However, you can donate books to the Friends of the Library of Hawaii, a nonprofit group that supports the public library system. It has resumed accepting book donations at its Aiea warehouse by appointment only, Tuesdays through Thursdays. Call 536-4174 to make an appointment. For more information, see friendsofthe

Q: Did they reschedule the book sale at McKinley High School? They usually have it by now, every summer.

A: No. The Friends of the Library of Hawaii canceled what would have been the 73rd annual book sale months ago, due to the pandemic. The popular annual event, first held in 1947, had been scheduled for mid-June.


Mahalo to the gentlemen who helped get our soccer ball and kite from the “kite-eating tree” at Kapolei Regional Park on Saturday. We tried everything we could to get those things out of the tree, but we did not succeed. Without them the kids would have left the park in disappointment. It was a great experience for all of us to understand what it means to help one another. — P.W.

Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email

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