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Can a Landlord Charge a Tenant Extra for a Dog?

Happy Lunar New Year all! It is that time of year again. Like last year, where I covered chickens for Year of the Rooster, and monkeys for Year of the Monkey prior to that, I will be talking about laws related to dogs here in Hawaii. I am not going to cover dog bite law for this post. I think that would be too obvious and simple even though we do personal injury cases at this firm. Further, it probably is best a discussion to have with my litigation partner, Trejur. If you are curious though about the dog bite laws for Hawaii, consider reading the following: 663-9, 663-9.1, 142-74, and 142-75. Those are the most relevant to that subject matter.

Anyway, with regard to this post’s discussion, let’s get to it.

Can a Landlord Charge Extra for a Dog?

Sometimes, I work with landlords who want to review/update their leases or consider forming LLCs for rental properties. When assisting them, they want to know their rights with respect to tenants. As a fellow landlord, I understand you want to be informed when dealing with tenants, especially given the law. A question about Hawaii rent law I get now and then is: “So I have a potential renter, but they have a dog. Can I charge them more?” My lawyer response is: it depends.

The Pet Deposit

Generally, with regard to the landlord’s question, what they can do is ask for more of a deposit. Obviously, their concern is that when tenants have animals they, the landlord, might be stuck with additional cleaning costs and fees after that tenant leaves. Hawaii does allow landlords and property managers to collect an additional security deposit to address this issue.  In the past, the were not able to do so. Prior to November 1, 2013 landlords could only collect a maximum of one (1) month’s rent to cover any damages by the tenant, and that amount included pet damage. So the Hawaii State Legislature amended the law* so that after November 1, 2013, landlords and property managers could collect an additional security deposit on top of that one (1) month’s rent.

Except …

So if you noticed, I said, “It depends.” Why? Well, because you cannot collect this additional security deposit in two instances. One, if the tenant does not have a pet animal that resides in the rental unit. Second, when the pet is an assistance animal that is a reasonable accommodation for a tenant with a disability. Some times dogs are assistance animals for people with disabilities and in those cases the landlord will be unable to collect this additional pet security deposit.

Other Things to Consider

So if you have a potential tenant with a dog, then yes, you can ask them for an additional deposit. This additional deposit is on top of the one (1) month’s rent deposit and can be a condition of the rental agreement. However, if that dog is an assistance animal, then you are prohibited. Even if you can extract this additional pet security deposit, as a landlord, you may wish to consider other aspects of allowing dogs into your rental units. For example, if it is a condo situation and you as the owner are a part of a condo association are you violating the house rules? Or in general, consider your insurance policy, does it cover pet allowances in your rental units? Along this insurance questioning, remember not all dog breeds are the same, and you as the landlord may be liable for injuries due to the animal. The costs and damages associated  with the animal may exceed your deposits. So best to be thoughtful in your consideration and plan ahead.

Random Facts

*Interesting fact, I worked for the Hawaii State Legislature during the year the law was amended and a part of the drafting process. If you want to read the law, please click here. Another interesting fact, I’ve had six dogs throughout my life time. So I’ve definitely seen this law from a variety of points of view.

Thanks for reading and have a Happy Lunar New Year celebrating the Year of the Dog!  新年快乐!

-RKH

DISCLAIMER: This post discusses general legal issues, but does not constitute legal advice in any respect.  No reader should act or refrain from acting based on information contained in this post without seeking the advice of  an attorney in their relevant jurisdiction.  Hew & Bordenave, LLLP expressly disclaims all liability in respect to any actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this post.

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Can You Own a Monkey in Hawaii?

Happy Lunar New Year! It is the year of the Fire Monkey! Supposedly, fortune tellers say it is an ear of market volatility, so it is best to make contingency plans and not monkey around! However, enough punning, this post is about owning a monkey in Hawaii.

*Disclaimer:  This post discusses general legal issues, but does not constitute legal advice in any respect.  No reader should act or refrain from acting based on information contained herein without seeking the advice of counsel in the relevant jurisdiction.  Further, no tax advice is given in this post, and you are urged to seek a tax attorney, accountant, and/or tax professional to help you with your tax and accounting needs. Ryan K. Hew, Attorney At Law, LLLC expressly disclaims all liability in respect to any actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this post.

Happy Lunar New Year!

I hope it shall be a prosperous one for you! To celebrate that this is the year of the Fire Monkey, I decided to do a fun post,  as I am born in the year of the monkey (I am sure you can now guess my age, haha). So for this post, I thought a fun question to answer is one that that comes up and now and then among pet-loving friends: “Can I own a monkey, here in Hawaii?”

The answer is: yes, but not as an individual … and certainly not as a pet. 

Hawaii Department of Agriculture and Importation of Animals

As you probably could guess this is a regulated area. So it is not as easy as in you can fly in any monkey you want, then take it home, especially given that Hawaii laws are aimed at preserving nature and preventing invasive species.  Obviously, monkeys are non-native species to the island, so you are you going to have to import one and play by the rules. So none of that “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” shenanigans with the government agents.

To begin with, the importation of non-domestic animals is under the jurisdiction of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (DOA). See HRS 150A-6.2.  Some animals are banned outright, while others are allowable by permit. Monkey importation is allowable by permit but has an extra step. That step being bonding.

I had to use this image for this post. It is a monkey in a suit at a desk with paperwork. I know what people think of attorneys. Further, I think it was apt for this post. Lastly, I paid licensing fees for the image and had to make use of it (don't worry one post I will devote to licensing fees for you graphic designers, photographers, etc . . . but enjoy and laugh! I had to use this image for this post. It is a monkey in a suit at a desk with paperwork. I know what people think of attorneys. Further, I think it was apt for this post. Lastly, I paid licensing fees for the image and had to make use of it (don’t worry one post I will devote to licensing fees for you graphic designers, photographers, etc . . . however, enjoy and laugh!

 

Hawaii Administrative Rules Chapter 4-71 and Bonding

We turn to the Department of Agriculture’s Administrative Rules, in particular, Chapter 4-71, as the objective of these rules are to implement HRS Chapter 150A. See HAR 4-71-1.  So what do the specific rules say about monkeys?

If we go to HAR 4-71-6.5, we see that we would need a permit, but more specifically we see in Section (a)(3) that certain animals need the securing of a bond, as specified in 4-71-7.  Scurrying down to HAR 4-71-7(1) it indicates that an applicant (for the permit) shall secure the appropriate bond for:

Monkeys, apes, baboons, chimpanzees, gibbons, lemurs, pottos, wallabies, and any other animal that the board or chairperson may require to be bonded as a condition for importation or possession;

Bonding Procedure and Conditions for Bonding

So how do you get a bond, and are there specific requirements? Well, the Administrative Rules continue from 4-71-7 to 4-71-8, Bonding Procedure and 4-71-9, Conditions for Bonding.  In these two sections, you will see much of the specifics you would need to fulfill to get a bond, which would go with the permit, which would, in turn, allow you to own a monkey.

Of course, even if you meet these requirements, and successfully import and own a monkey, you have to realize you have to comply with all the bond conditions. Failure to do so would mean the Department could seize it, as given their power under HAR 4-7-10.  Interestingly enough, if your monkey were to escape it is your responsibility to recapture it, and you have a week to do so, or else the Department will use its resources to recapture. Additionally, they can sell, ship, donate, or destroy it.  See HAR 4-71-10.

Are there Any Other Restrictions?

Yes, one of the biggest caveats to all this is that monkeys as a species are placed on the DOA’s List of Restricted Animals – For Private and Commercial Use.

What does “Private and Commercial Use” mean? In the case of the definition section of the Administrative Rules “Private Use” is for example, non-profit research, but is specifically not for “individual possession of an animal as a pet.” Further the restrictions makes clear that all members in the order of primates can only be brought into the state for primate sanctuaries or for research by universities or government agencies, exhibition in municipal zoos, etc … Also a primate sanctuary must maintain a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit federal tax-exempt status and have any permits or licenses required by federal state, or municipal law.  Therefore, if you are intending to bring a monkey into the State of Hawaii it has to be with the purpose of this Private and Commercial Use, which in turn you can see means you will have to jump through additional regulatory procedures (i.e. setting up a non-profit corporation and gaining tax exemption status).

Clearly, “owning” a monkey in the State of Hawaii not a process of monkey see, monkey do like with dogs or cats, but a Department of Agriculture procedure of permitting and bonding and understanding that an individual cannot possess the monkey as a pet, but that the importation of them would be solely for Private and Commercial Use.

Mahalo for reading!

-RKH