A lot of people ask me about why I charge a Consultation Fee of $300. Employment Law is different from other areas of the law. For example, with a traffic accident case, a lawsuit can be filed shortly after the accident. So a number of attorneys provide free consultations to individuals because a decision on filing a lawsuit can be made shortly after.

For people with Employment Law issues, the situation is a lot more complicated. Employment law requires employees and former employees to follow a “process” or protocol in order to address their issues. The purpose of meeting with me is to find out where you are in that required process and what options you may have.

The consultation fee is to make sure that only people who are serious about pursuing a path that may result in a lawsuit meet with me. The fee is also based on my years of training and experience to help guide you to the next steps. You are getting the benefit of my real world experience in employment law and other areas of the law. That is why a Consultation Fee is required.

When can I keep the security deposit?

On Behalf of | Nov 23, 2021 | Real Estate Law |

Landlords in Hawaii wear many different hats, often including handyman, landscaper and more. The financial burden landlords take on are often complicated by tenants who fail to care for a home as if it is their own. The security deposit made at the time of signing the rental agreement can help cover tenant related damages, but there are limitations that landlords must be aware of.

Keeping the security deposit

The security deposit is intended to cover damage or problems that go beyond the normal wear and tear of life. For example, a landlord cannot keep the security deposit to replace an old toilet that needs replacing because of its age, but it can be kept if the toilet stopped working due to misuse. Other examples of when it is appropriate to keep the security deposit include:

  • Broken walls
  • Broken bathroom tiles or fixtures
  • Tears, burn marks or holes in the carpet
  • Animal stains
  • Broken locks or doors
  • Damage caused by misuse

Returning the security deposit

Landlords should always return security deposits to tenants who caused normal wear and tear. Items that need regular maintenance or replacing because of normal usage are not the tenant’s responsibility. The following do not call for keeping the deposit:

  • Furniture indentations in the carpet
  • Faded wallpaper or paint
  • Rug wear related to normal use
  • Wall dents from door handles
  • Non excessive picture or pin holes

Tenants are not always pleased to learn that they will not be receiving their security deposits back. Including a clear list of expectations and conditions for the return of the security deposit within the leasing agreement can help prevent any misunderstandings between tenants and landlords. Crafting such an agreement can be tricky though, so landlords may want to first consult with an attorney who is experienced in Hawaii real estate law.