Notice to Enter
I got a couple of questions about Notice to Enter here on Oahu. I am trying to get access for my rental property for rental photos purpose. However, the tenant was out of town and did not respond. There’s couple things that I have done to get access.
1. On the first day, I asked for the tenant’s availability via text message but no response.
2. Two days later, I opened the tenant’s mail box, put in a Notice to Enter, and called the tenant and left a voicemail (still not getting response).
Apparently, tenant was out of town, did not receive any notice and not able to be there during my entry. My questions are, first, did I violate any laws by opening the tenant’s mail box? All I did was open the mail box, put in the notice, and closed the mail box. Nothing else. Second, how do I prove that nothing is damaged or missing because of my entry? More importantly, how should I handle this situation better in the future?
Mahalo for any input.
To add more details on this story. The tenant replied via text message on one day before my entry. She states that I’m liable for any damages, including theft. Therefore, I want to avoid any future disputes by providing proof. Or it’s unnecessary?
Technically, opening anyone else's mailbox is a Felony. We are required to give two days notice prior to entry, except in case of an emergency. The Tenant cannot unreasonably deny access, but if they do not allow it, your only recourse is a Court Order. Your Rental Agreement should have a clause addressing entry AND proper notice. Notice should be either by mail (Certified, Return Receipt Requested for critical issues), email (if Tenant is normally responsive) or posting on their door ( I tape a full page notice across from the door to the door jamb so no one can enter or leave without disturbing it. Take a picture showing it in place for your records). Your Rental Agreement should also address entry when Tenant is not present...this is something I have NEVER done except under actual emergencies or requested wellness checks. Calling and texts are generally not adequate, nor are they particularly useful over the long term.
If your Tenant is aware that you entered without their knowledge and is now claiming something missing, that is EXACTLY why I never do it. Nor do I allow Contractors to enter or work in a unit unless the Tenant is home, except for major multi-unit repair or upgrades affecting an entire building or stack.
Quote from @Kwok Wong:
Hawaii law requires you to give notice; it does not require you to get permission. Keep that in mind.
Here's a guide to Hawaii laws: https://cca.hawaii.gov/hfic/fi...
Talk to your tenant about how you serve notice. If they are going to be out of town for a while, they need to let you know in case you have to enter the home for an emergency.
Do not put anything in a mail box as that is illegal. I always notify by email or text. If I don't get a response, I tape the notice to the door (tape it well so it can't blow away) and take a picture of it as proof.