Owning a rental property in Hawaii while you live somewhere else isn’t a problem. We work with a lot of investors who are outside of Hawaii and even outside of the U.S. When you’re not in the same location as your property, it’s difficult to know whether the home is in good condition and if the residents living there are taking care of it. You might worry about unreported maintenance or long vacancy periods.
It’s hard to manage a property from afar, and being an absentee landlord makes professional property management even more critical. You’ll need to work with a local expert who understands the markets and the unique requirements of your investment home.
Legal Requirements for Out-of-State Owners
Working with a local property management company when you don’t live on the island is not just a luxury. It’s actually a legal requirement.
Here’s what Hawaii Revised Statutes Section 521-43(f) has to say about it:
“Any owner or landlord who resides out of State or on another island from where the rental unit is located shall designate on the written rental agreement an agent residing on the same island where the unit is located to act in the owner’s or landlord’s behalf.”
This is an important legal requirement. If you own a rental home and you’re not living in Hawaii, you have to hire a local property manager on the same island as your property. This is designed to protect your property, your resident, and your financial interests.
Technology and Communication Protect Your Property
It’s always important for property managers to communicate well with their owners, but when those owners live far away from their investments, it’s even more essential. Your property manager will need to facilitate easy communication so you know how your property is performing. If there’s a major problem at the home or an expensive repair that needs to be made, you’ll want to know about it, and you’ll want to respond to it.
Find a management company with a great online software system so you can log in from anyplace in the world and at any time and see how your property and your tenants are performing. You should have access to accounting statements, repair records, leasing documents, and anything else you need to know that your property is in good condition and bringing in rental income.
Responding to Routine and Emergency Maintenance
As an out-of-state investor, you need the peace of mind that your property will be well-protected. You cannot respond to maintenance issues from where you are, even if they’re emergencies. So, you’ll need a management company that answers their phone 24 hours a day in case there’s a fire or a flood or some other disaster at the home which requires an immediate response.
Talk to your property manager about the concerns you have for maintenance. Routine maintenance should be taken care of as it’s needed, and it should always be done using professional, licensed vendors who are cost-effective. Emergencies should inspire immediate action.
You also want to know there are preventative plans in place so that your investment remains in excellent condition and growing in value. Ask about inspections and whether you’ll be able to see photos and reports pertaining to your property. Look for a property manager who makes you feel like they’re taking care of the property as well as you would yourself.
Our company provides an extra benefit, which is the Homewatch program. Hawaiian Dream Properties is the only property management company in Hawaii accredited by the International Home Watch Alliance. We’ll inspect your vacant property regularly and make maintenance plans for any issues that may be on the horizon. You can use this with our full service property management plan or get in touch with us when you own a Hawaii vacation home and live out of state.
These are a few things that long distance landlords and investors must really think about to protect their Hawaii investment properties. If you have any questions or you’d like some help with Hawaii property management, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Hawaiian Dream Properties.