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What is a Hawaii Sublease Agreement?

In Hawaii, a sublease agreement is a legal document that officiates an agreement between two tenants: a sublessor and sublessee. These agreements are used when the original tenant of an apartment or rental property wants to lease the apartment to another tenant. Often, when a tenant needs to relocate or leave town for a period of time, finding a sublessee is one way to avoid breaking the lease. Breaking a long-term lease can be expensive. Doing this can cause a tenant to lose his or her deposit and incur costly fees while subleasing the unit can avoid these things, still fulfilling his or her obligation to pay rent through the end of the lease. With a sublease agreement, the sublessee will move into the unit, paying rent and residing in the unit for a predetermined period of time until the sublessor returns to live in the unit or until the lease term ends. Regardless of the terms of the agreement, it is very important for both the sublessor and sublessee to have the agreement in writing to protect both parties and ensure that both parties clearly understand the terms of the agreement. In addition, it is important for the tenant to have written permission from the landlord that permits subleasing. Regardless of who the sublessee is, the sublessor is, the sublessee will still be held responsible for any late payments or damage that occurs even while the sublease agreement is in effect, as the original tenant’s name will remain on the lease until the term ends.

Hawaii Sublease Laws

Tenant/Landlord Laws in Hawaii provide sublease provisions unless blatantly expressed otherwise in the lease. Tenants are encouraged to receive written permission before subletting a rental to avoid problems down the road and to protect all parties involved.

A Sample Hawaii Sublease Agreement with Examples of Each Step

A sublease is an agreement between the original tenant (sublessor or sublandlord) under a lease agreement for a rental unit and a new individual (sublessee or subtenant) who does not have a direct connection with the original lease agreement. The sublease agreement is tied to and incorporates the original (master) lease. In Hawaii, if the original lease does not contain language giving permission for the tenant to enter into a sublease, the original tenant (sublessor) should obtain written permission from the landlord to do so as an addition to the original lease. The original tenant (sublessor) is still bound by all the requirements/obligations under the original (master) lease agreement.

A Hawaii sublease agreement should include the following sections:

  • Name of Sublessor (Sublandlord)/Name of Sublessee (Subtenant)/Name of Original Landlord: Both parties to the sublease agreement should be identified by name in the document, as well as any co-sublessors or co-sublessees. In addition, the sublease agreement in Hawaii should include the name and address of the landlord, as well as contact information for the landlord or manager of the property.
  • Names of All Other Adult Occupants: The sublease agreement should include the names of all adult persons who will be residing in the unit.
  • Description/Site of Rental Unit: This section should include the complete address and description of the rental unit as it appears in the original (master) lease, as well as a list of items in the unit that are covered by the sublease agreement.
  • Sublease Agreement Term: This section defines the length of the sublease agreement: the precise start date and end date must be noted.
  • Amount of Rent/How Paid: This section includes the amount of rent to be charged, whether it will be paid by the week or by the month, the day the rent is due, how the rent will be delivered to the sublessor (e.g., by a mailed check), if there will be a fee for late payment or insufficient funds, and the amounts of those fees.
  • Utilities/Maintenance and Repair: This section delineates the specific utilities and maintenance/repair items that are the responsibility of the sublessor and those that are the obligations of the sublessee.
  • Damages/Liability: This section declares the sublessee's liability for damages to the sublessor, who is still responsible for any damages that affect the landlord under the original (master) lease.
  • Security Deposit/Pet Deposit (if any): This section states the amount of the security deposit under the sublease agreement and that it is given to the sublessor. An additional pet deposit may be charged, as can a deposit for any use of the rental unit that poses a risk to the property. In Hawaii, the security deposit is limited to one month's rent. The security deposit, less any lawful deductions, must be refunded within 14 days after the tenant/sublessee vacates.  
  • Disputes: This section states the method(s), short of legal action, by which the sublessor and sublessee will resolve any disputes that arise.
  • Events of Default and Remedies: This section defines the actions on the part of the sublessee that will constitute a default or breach of the sublease agreement and the options available to the sublessor in those situations, including legal action.
  • Attorney's Fees: This section states that if there is a breach of the sublease agreement or legal action taken by either party, the party who secures a judgment can recover attorney's fees and court costs.
  • Disclosures: Applicable state law may require that certain disclosures be made to the sublessee in the sublease agreement, in addition to the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirement to disclose the possible danger of lead-based paint if the structure was built prior to 1978. In Hawaii, a written Lead-Based Paint Disclosure is required if the rental unit in question was constructed prior to 1978, informing the sublessee that the premises could contain lead-based paint.
  • Master Lease/Termination of Master Lease: This section states that the original (master) lease is incorporated in its entirety in the sublease agreement; all of the provisions and requirements/obligations in the master lease are deemed part of the sublease agreement. The master lease should be attached. This section also states that the sublease agreement will terminate simultaneously if the master lease is terminated.
  • Rules and Regulations: This section states the activities that are prohibited and/or regulated, including illegal activities, smoking, and pets.
  • Consent of Landlord: This section states the manner in which the landlord is giving consent to the sublease agreement, should the original (master) lease not include consent.
  • Governing Law: This section states that the sublease agreement is governed by Hawaii state law, including all the provisions/requirements in the applicable state code sections.
  • Entire Agreement: This section states that the sublease agreement represents the complete agreement between the sublessor and sublessee; the sublease agreement may not be altered except by mutual agreement of the parties in writing.  
  • Dated Signatures: This section includes the dated signatures of the sublessor (and any co-sublessors), sublessee (and any co-sublessees), and the landlord, who hereby gives written consent to the sublease agreement.

Sublease Resources for Tenants in Hawaii

Download a PDF or Word Template

Hawaii Sublease Agreement

Hawaii Lease Agreement

Hawaii Month-to-Month Lease Agreement

Hawaii Rent Receipt