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VIDEO: Eviction moratorium in Hawaii to end in August, Ige says

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                                Gov. David Ige announces an end to the state’s eviction moratorium.


    Gov. David Ige announces an end to the state’s eviction moratorium.

A moratorium on evictions that Gov. David Ige imposed in April 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic began strangling Hawaii’s tourism-based economy will be lifted on Aug. 6, allowing renters and landlords to tap into federal rental assistance and free mediation services on all islands intended to make landlords whole.

Renters will have a 30-day pause on evictions after receiving an eviction notice and Ige urged both renters and landlords to contact their local mediation centers about their rights.

“We do note that the pandemic is not over, but thanks to safe and effective vaccines, more people are back at work,” said Ige. “Renters and landlords have been encouraged to seek and accept rental relief.

“Still, there are those who may not have been able to catch up on their rent. … Hopefully we can mitigate mass evictions.”

Ige added there are “significant resources to allow tenants to get help with the rents past due.”

Tracey S. Wiltgen, executive director of The Mediation Center of the Pacific, Inc., said initial estimates are that 10,000 isle households are behind on rent and that 1,500 to 2,000 of them will receive initial eviction notices once the moratorium is lifted.

The hope is that 50% of the households that receive the first round of eviction notices will seek the services of their local mediation center “and ideally we’d like to see more,” she said.

The easiest and simplest solution would be to get landlords to accept federal funding to cover their overdue rent, Wiltgen said. Other options include mediating payment plans to make up for the overdue payments and renegotiating agreements.

Solutions are intended to be worked out in one mediation session lasting no longer than 90 minutes, she said.

Ige reminded renters and landlords that a recent change to the law will result in different procedures for all those involved.

“Act 57 makes significant changes to the landlord tenant code and incentivizes mediation,” said Ige.

Ige extended the eviction moratorium for what he said at the time would be a final 60 days through an COVID-19 emergency proclamation issued June 7.

While evictions have been banned for over a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, renters and people who pay mortgages will be required to cover their missing payments unless they reach agreement with their landlords or lenders once the moratorium is lifted next month.

Ige was joined at the Hawaii State Capitol by Wiltgen, state Sen. Sharon Moriwaki and state Rep. Troy Hashimoto, along with state Office of Consumer Protection executive director Stephen Levins.

Watch a replay of the press conference via the video above, or go to the governor’s Facebook page.

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