Steps can be taken to avoid eviction

LIHUE — Kauai renters and landlords have a new resource at their fingertips now that the state Judiciary has expanded an aid program for tenants and landlords.

The program, known as Steps To Avoid Eviction, helps landlords get paid and helps keep tenants from being evicted by guiding them in dispute resolution without going to court. Goals are to teach renters how to avoid evictions and to ensure that landlords can consistently collect rental income that is due.

“When landlord-tenant cases enter the judicial system, it is often too late to amicably resolve their issues,” said Fifth Circuit District Court Judge Michael Soong. “We hope that by providing advance information and available resources, all parties may address their problems before someone files a lawsuit.”

According to a state Judiciary press release, the program has potentially strong impacts on Kauai.

The agency cited a recent U.S. Census Bureau study which indicated that 25 percent of the island’s 30,238 total housing units are occupied by renters. Furthermore, the population of 71,735 residents is growing an average of three people daily, the bureau reported.

The Judiciary has already put out a brochure for Kauai, including a quick-step guide on how tenants can keep their rentals. Some of those tips include knowing what amounts are due on what dates for bills like rent and utilities, home maintenance, and how to be a good neighbor.

Also included in the brochure are contacts for legal information and mediation, as well as housing organizations on the island.

Kauai Self Help Center, Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, Kauai Economic Opportunity Mediation Services, County of Kauai Housing Agency, Mental Health Kokua, Catholic Charities, Women in Need, Family Life Center Kauai and The Salvation Army are all providing support for the STAE program.

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