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Hawaii News

Survey to explore COVID-19 impacts on rental housing

University of Hawaii researchers are seeking residential landlords and property managers to participate in a survey aimed at understanding COVID-19 impacts on rental housing in the islands.

The effort seeks to gather empirical data each month on the number of rental households struggling to pay rent and the number of rental properties at risk of being removed from the market.

The University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization is conducting the statewide survey with assistance of property management and landlord organizations.

UHERO said it is particularly interested in reaching “mom and pop” landlords and other small rental housing operators.

The survey, which UHERO said should take about 15 minutes to complete, is at hawaii.surveyshare.com/s/AYAS2KB.

Since April, residential landlords in Hawaii have been prohibited by a state emergency order from evicting tenants over a tenant’s failure to pay rent or other charges that include utilities, late fees and taxes. Raising the rent also is prohibited. However, unpaid rent is not forgiven.

Legal advocates representing tenants said last month that there is a growing problem of illegal eviction threats aimed at displacing tenants.

Violating the order can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor, with penalties of up to a year in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.

There also have been claims that some tenants are abusing the order, which is intended to protect tenants who have lost jobs and wages, by not paying rent even though they have no financial hardship.

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