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									        housing
RENTAL GUIDE
               FOR
  BYU-HAWAII
OFF-CAMPUS STUDENTS

                 By
             BYU-HAWAII
      OFF-CAMPUS HOUSING OFFICE



 LORENZO SNOW ADMINISTRATION BUILDING
    BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY HAWAII
              LAIE, HAWAII
                 96762
 UNDERSTANDING LEASES AND RENTAL AGREEMENTS
What Is a Lease?
A lease is an agreement, either written or oral, between a landlord
and a renter. The lease or rental agreement creates the legal relation-
ship between the two parties. For the length of time the rental
agreement specifies, the renter has the duty to pay rent and live in a
way not harmful to the premises or the neighbors. The terms of the
rental agreement are subject to state rental statutes and ordinances.
It is important to note that rental applications and agreements to
hold an apartment or rental unit are usually not the same as the
lease; however, their terms and conditions may be legally binding.
Read Your Rental Agreement Carefully
Before signing any rental agreement, read it carefully. Remember
that it is a legal document that may commit you to circumstances
with which you don’t agree. If you do not fully understand any part
of the rental agreement, get advice before signing it. BYUH Off-
Campus Housing officials are a good source of free information
and help. Bring a copy of the lease in for review.
Beware of Verbal Agreements
In an oral agreement, both parties agree to rental terms without
having anything in writing. Obviously, this can cause problems if
one party remembers the agreement differently from the other. We
advise that lease agreements always be in writing, including any
additional verbal promises made by the parties that are not in the
written lease. A rental agreement for more than one year must be in
writing to be enforceable.
If a landlord and renter have made any agreements about changes
to the unit, such as new furniture or renovation, get them in writ-
ing. Those really intending to follow through on such promises
should not object. Some may balk at the idea, however, and you
will have to decide if you want to risk going ahead and then dealing
with problems, if they do develop, once the tenancy begins.




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Types of Rental Agreements
In general, almost all rental agreements fall within two categories:
(1) fixed-term agreements and (2) periodic or month-to-month
agreements. Both fixed-term and periodic agreements have advan-
tages and disadvantages for landlords and renters.
1.   Fixed-Term Agreements
The fixed-term agreement allows the renter to occupy the premises
for a specific period of time, including a date of commencement
and a date of termination. To be released from the fixed-term agree-
ment, the renter must have the permission of the landlord to assign
the contract to another person. Finding a replacement tenant in the
middle of a semester is very difficult. If a renter abandons the rental
unit before the expiration date of the agreement without finding a
replacement, he or she could be held liable for the rent the landlord
loses. Landlords usually include clauses in their contracts allowing
students to terminate before the contract expires provided they find
suitable replacements. Most rental agreements are of this type.
2.   Periodic Agreements
The periodic agreement has the advantage of flexibility. Renters
can, with proper notice, terminate the agreement for any reason
and in any month they desire. Landlords can do the same and can
raise the rent any month they wish. A periodic agreement usually
extends from month to month. Unless stated otherwise in the con-
tract, the notice required to terminate such an agreement is 28 days
before the end of the rental month.
Apartment Rules and Regulations
The landlord has the right to set reasonable rules and regulations
for the management of dwelling units, shared areas and facilities,
and the grounds. Such rules must be designed to ensure the con-
venience and safety of renters, to preserve the property, or to allo-
cate or govern the fair use of joint services and facilities such as
laundry rooms, storage areas, swimming pools, or parking areas.
Such rules and regulations concerning the renter’s use and occupan-
cy of the premises are usually enforceable against the renter only if:

                                   2
1. The purpose is to promote the convenience, safety, or welfare
   of all renters on the premises; to preserve the landlord’s proper-
   ty from abusive use; or to make a fair distribution of services
   and facilities for all renters.
2. They apply to all persons occupying the premises in a fair and
   nondiscriminatory manner.
3. They are sufficiently explicit in their prohibition, direction, or
   limitation of your conduct.
4. They are not for evading the obligations of the landlord.
5. The renter has been given notice of them at the time he or she
   entered into the rental arrangement.
6. They do not directly contradict lease provisions.
Unlawful Provisions
Although most landlords are fair, there may be some who will take
unfair advantage of a renter. Consequently, some leases may con-
tain some provisions generally forbidden by law. The following are
examples:
•   A provision that forces the renter to agree to accept the blame
    in any future dispute with the landlord. Such a clause will usu-
    ally stipulate that you will pay your landlords legal fees in any
    court action taken against you.
•   A provision permitting the landlord to exert leverage on the
    renter, such as requesting and failing to return "security
    deposits" or "prepaid rent" under false pretense or unproved
    evidence.
•   A provision permitting the landlord to take possession of the
    renter’s personal property for lack of payment of rent without
    following legal procedures.
•    A provision freeing the landlord from responsibility for negli-
     gence in causing the renter or renter’s guests injury.
Even though these unlawful clauses may not be binding the renters
may be forced to go to court to pursue their rights, and therefore, it
is better practice to try to strike illegal clauses before signing the
lease agreement. A landlord who offers a lease containing illegal
                                  3
clauses and refuses to strike them when asked may not be the type
you wish to rent a unit from.
If You Move Before the Rental Agreement Expires
If you, as a renter, move from the apartment before the contract
expires, please realize this breaches a legal agreement, and the land-
lord may be entitled to damages. Although your reasons seem valid
to you, you might forfeit your security deposit and be sued for the
rent owing through the end of the contract.
The signed rental contract is a legally binding document that can
be terminated only for reasons expressed in the contract. Marriage,
mission, or moving to another apartment is not a valid reason for
breaching a rental agreement unless written in the contract. A con-
tract should never be signed with the intent of breaking it before
the expiration date.
The renter should not assume that he or she may vacate the apart-
ment anytime without penalty just because there is no language in
the agreement about early termination. When a contract does not
express any terms for early termination, it implies a legally binding
commitment to pay rent from its commencement date to its termi-
nation date.
If you must move, you may lessen the damage of breaking your
contract and reduce your risk in the following ways:
1. Negotiate. You can try to negotiate with the landlord to allow
   you to move and to lose only your deposit or prepaid rent. If
   you and your landlord reach a compromise, make sure that the
   agreement is in writing and signed by both parties.
2. Find a Replacement Renter. To be released from your contract
   obligations, you must find a person who is willing to "buy" the
   remainder of your contract. However, do not rely on the land-
   lord to find your replacement renter. Make arrangements with
   the landlord to either (1) assign your contract to the new renter
   or, better, (2) create a new contract between your replacement
   renter and your landlord. By the way, a landlord can refuse
   either method if the cause is just. If a new contract is created,
   your contract obligations terminate; however, if your contract is
   assigned to the new renter, your obligation remains. If the new
                                  4
    renter defaults you can be held liable. After the transfer is com-
    plete, you are entitled to your security deposit, less damages
    and other contracted deductions, within 14 days after moving
    out and leaving a forwarding address.
3. Subletting. In a sublease, you become a sub-landlord and rent
   your apartment to another person-but only with the owner’s
   permission. When subletting, you are still responsible for the
   apartment, including unpaid damages and the rent of your sub-
   renter. You are not entitled to receive your security deposit until
   your contract term ends. Subletting is recommended only when
   you want to return to your apartment after being absent for a
   period of time.

            UNDERSTANDING RENTAL DEPOSITS
Prepaid Rent and Deposits
Landlords will usually require some form of payment in advance-
such as, the first month’s rent, the last month’s rent, a security
deposit, or all three when they enter into an agreement to rent.
These advance payments are held as security by the owner in the
event the renter damages the apartment or fails to pay rent.
In general, deposits (security deposits, key deposits, and cleaning
deposits, etc.) are refundable if contractual conditions are met.
However, payments and fees, such as prepaid rent or carpet and
drapery cleaning fees, are not refundable. If any part of a deposit is
made nonrefundable in order to obtain payment of fees, it must be
so stated in writing to the renter at the time the deposit is taken.
You should clarify the nature of the payments and deposits being
made and the conditions for either their return or forfeiture.
Use of the Deposit
A security deposit may be used by the landlord to recover payment
for:
1. Damage to the premises beyond normal wear and tear.
2. Accrued rent.
3. Cleaning of the unit.
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4. Other costs provided for in the contract.
If a deposit is specifically designated for "cleaning" or "keys," it
should then be used only for that purpose.
Deposit Refunds
Your contract requires the owner to return the security deposit to
the renter within 14 days of termination of tenancy or within 14
days after receipt of the renter’s new mailing address, whichever is
later, or send a written statement explaining why the deposit or any
part of it is being withheld. The renter must notify the owner or
agent of the location where payment and notice may be made or
mailed. An exception is allowed when the premises are damaged-the
time period is extended to 30 days.
Here are seven simple steps that could prevent security deposit
nightmares for the renter. Follow these steps closely, and the
chances are good that your deposit will not be withheld:
1. Complete a cleaning and damage evaluation within five days of
   checking in the apartment. Note all damages and dirty areas
   left in the apartment. Give a copy to the landlord; if possible,
   have the landlord sign it. Keep a copy for your records.
2. Keep the property clean and thoroughly clean it just before
   moving out.
3. Promptly pay the rent and utility bills.
4. Do not abuse the property or allow your friends to.
5. Report all problems as they occur, even if you are at fault.
6. Give the landlord proper, legal written notices, if necessary,
   before moving.
7. Leave a forwarding address with your landlord in writing.
Legal Remedies for Deposits Not Refunded
If the landlord or agent in bad faith fails to return the deposit with-
in the legal limits described above, the law provides for recovery of
the deposit in full! as well as a civil penalty of $100 and court costs.
However, the landlord must receive the renter’s new address within
30 days of termination of tenancy for this law to be effective. In
                                   6
such case, the renter should respond in writing. It is wise to
respond by registered or certified mail and keep a copy of your let-
ter. In making a response, we suggest you include the following;
1. Your name.
2. The address of the former rental (including apartment number).
3. The dates of the tenancy.
4. The amount of the deposit.
5. That no refund has been received.
6. The general condition of the vacated unit.
7. A demand for payment.
8. An address to which payment may be sent.
9. A deadline for receiving payment.
10. A reminder that bad faith retention carries a penalty.
If the landlord does send you an itemized list of deductions within
30 days, but you disagree with the claims, you should also respond
in writing and seek to negotiate a settlement. If you cannot reach a
settlement, you may consult with the BYUH Off-Campus Housing
Office to determine what further steps may be taken.
Assessing Damages to the Rental Unit
Renters are responsible for any damage to the premises beyond
ordinary wear and tear. Differences in interpretation of this term
cause numerous conflicts between renters and landlords. The stan-
dard of reasonableness must be applied by each party. It is unrea-
sonable to expect a dwelling to look exactly the same after use by
the renter as it did when the renter took possession. It is also unrea-
sonable for the renter to attribute all problems to ordinary wear and
tear without having exercised care in the use of the property.
Regular cleaning during the tenancy is necessary to protect carpets,
paint, and fixtures from excess wear.
There is no exact definition of what is normal or ordinary. Some of
the guiding factors should be:

                                  7
•   Quality of and life expectancy of the item. Paint, drapes, or
    materials of inferior quality should not be expected to last as
    long as those of top quality.
•   Length of tenancy. The longer the tenancy, the more wear
    should be expected.
•   Number of residents. One person does not create as much wear
    as three.
•   Use as opposed to abuse. Has the item been treated with care
    or negligence in regular use? It is unreasonable to expect renters
    to live in a dwelling with bare walls and no decorations. Some
    acceptable method of hanging art works and posters should be
    determined by management and communicated to each new
    renter. On the other hand, an excessive number of holes or
    unusually large holes may be considered abuse.
•   Effort exerted in final cleaning. One appropriate standard may
    be a thorough cleaning with common household products.
    Renter labor should be expected.
•   Generally, stains, burns, dents, holes, and dirty fixtures and
    appliances are beyond ordinary wear and tear.

                         CHECK-IN TIME
Conditions When Moving In
Usually, the renter accepts the premises “as is” at check-in unless
otherwise agreed (either verbally or in writing) at the time the con-
tract was made. Before a rental agreement is filled out and signed
by both parties, the student and the landlord should come to a
complete understanding on the condition and cleaning of the rental
unit. Of course, it is much better that such an agreement be in
writing- although an oral agreement, can be legally binding unless
there are problems of proof or a misunderstanding. Thus, if the
conditions are not seriously unfit and if the landlord had made no
promise to deliver the rental unit in a clean condition, the tenant
would probably be bound by the contract.



                                  8
Check-in Evaluation
Just before, or at the same time the tenancy begins, an evaluation
should be taken on the condition of the apartment. As the apart-
ment is inspected, a list should be made of any damage to the
apartment and its furnishings and of
any uncompleted cleaning. If possible, the landlord or manager
should be present and sign the evaluation sheet when the inspection
is completed. If not, a neutral third party, such as a neighbor, may
witness the condition of the dwelling and sign and date the evalua-
tion sheet.
A copy should be kept by the tenant and a copy delivered to the
landlord. Evaluation check-in sheets are available free of charge at
the BYUH Off-Campus Housing Office.
Moving Out
There is more to moving out than just finding two friends to help
you pack and haul your belongings. For example, a hard reality of
moving is that you are responsible for cleaning the entire place
before you completely vacate. Two cleaning methods are recom-
mended as you move out. For method one, you pack up the room,
clean it thoroughly, and then move to the next room, etc. In
method two, you pack up the whole apartment, move everything
out, then return and clean up, free of cumbersome packing materi-
als and unmoved items.
Having the landlord inspect the apartment usually works best if the
date of the inspection is scheduled at least a week in advance.
During this inspection, the two of you can discuss all the arrange-
ments for the return of your security deposit. Complete a check
list similar to the one used when you moved into your apartment.
Give a copy to the landlord; if possible, have him or her sign it.
Keep a copy for your records. If circumstances prevent a meeting,
at least send your forwarding address in writing to the landlord and
don’t forget to return the keys.
Finally, the utility companies and the post office require notifica-
tion of your move at least one week in advance. In this way “final
readings” can be made and/or the service disconnected on the
move-out day, and your mail will be forwarded promptly.
                                  9
                  MAINTENANCE PROBLEMS
Landlord and Renter Responsibilities for Maintenance
Both landlords and renters have maintenance responsibilities. A
landlord of BYUH contracted housing is obligated to keep rental
property in reasonable repair and to comply with any applicable
laws and ordinances. Student renters are generally expected to assist
the landlord in maintaining the premises in a safe and clean condi-
tion, to promptly notify the landlord of maintenance problems that
require attention, and, except for normal wear and tear, to leave the
premises in good condition.
Types of Maintenance Problems
Maintenance problems fall into three categories: (1) emergencies,
(2) major problems and (3) minor problems. Emergencies are situa-
tions that require immediate action (within 24 hours) because they
pose a threat to the health and safety of the residents. Leaking gas,
flooding, and electrical breakdown are examples of emergencies.
Major problems are conditions which affect the quality of the resi-
dential premises but do not pose an immediate threat to the safety
of the residents. Examples: a clogged drain, and a defective water
heater.
What to Do When You Have Maintenance Problems
1.   Contact the Landlord
If your landlord isn’t maintaining his or her rental property accord-
ing to the lease/rental agreement, you should first discuss it with
your landlord. Many landlords aren’t aware of the existence of prob-
lems until the renter notifies them. The renter has an obligation to
inform the landlord of such problems. If your landlord agrees to
make the repairs, ask for a date by which the repairs will be com-
pleted. If the landlord says you may make your own repairs and will
reimburse you or allow you to deduct the costs from a rent pay-
ment, get such an agreement in writing. Always remember to be
courteous in discussions with your landlord.
If after your initial discussion with your landlord, you feel that she
or he may not cooperate, write your observations in a letter and
                                  10
mail it to him or her, and keep a copy for your files. Restate the
problem and mention the previous discussion. State that you will
take action if the problem isn’t resolved promptly.
2.   What If the Landlord Won’t Make Repairs
If you live in a BYUH contracted rental facility, you should report
the problem to the BYUH Off-Campus Housing Office, but only
after (1) you have adequately informed the landlord of the prob-
lem, (2) you’ve given the landlord a reasonable time to repair, and
(3) the landlord has failed to act. Depending on the severity of the
problem, the BYUH Housing Office can take action against the
owner even to the point of disapproval, if warranted.
In addition to the sanctions of the BYUH Off-Campus Housing
Office, you may be able to take action against the landlord for
breach of contract if there is sufficient cause. Rental agreements of
university-contracted housing off campus have a mediation clause
which empowers the BYUH student tenant to demand a hearing
before the BYUH Housing Mediation Board for redress against the
landlord. The decision of the mediators can be enforced through
university sanctions. Consult the Off-Campus Housing Office for
advice on how you should proceed.

             RESIDENTIAL LIVING STANDARDS
This may be the most important set of guidelines which the BYU
Hawaii student may have to know. The BYUH administration has
great concern for and have given a high priority to the moral and
spiritual growth of students. A BYUH-contracted landlord does not
simply provide an apartment. The BYUH-contracted landlord has a
share of the responsibility in maintaining and promoting BYUH
living standards.
Many students want to maintain the standards not only because it
is a requirement but also because maintaining the standards usually
makes a better rental unit. Generally, apartments that provide a
favorable moral and spiritual climate in addition to a well main-
tained physical environment attract more--good renters--those who
are more law-abiding, peaceable, and financially stable. A morally
degraded living situation adversely affects landlords and students,

                                 11
and when the moral climate of a rental building declines, it is diffi-
cult to restore.
What are the Residential Living Standards?
The three simple paragraphs teach the ideals and principles of
behavior expected of BYUH students living off campus. ALL TEN-
ANTS living in BYUH-contracted housing make a commitment to
observe these standards by legal contractual obligation in the rental
agreement.
    Off-Campus Visiting Hours: Visitors of the opposite sex are per-
    mitted in living rooms and kitchens, but not in the sleeping-room
    area in off-campus living units. Visiting hours may begin after
    9:00 a.m. and extend until 12:00 midnight. Landlords may estab-
    lish a shorter visiting period within the time frame stated above if
    proper notice is given to residents. This policy applies to all univer-
    sity-contracted housing units occupied by single students.
Notice that the visitation hours above are applicable to all single
students, not married students.
    Conduct: All students shall be required to conduct themselves in a
    manner consistent with the principles of the Church of Jesus Christ
    of Latter-day Saints and the BYUH Honor Code. Furthermore, all
    students living in University-approved housing are required to
    abstain from possessing, serving, or consuming alcoholic beverages,
    tobacco, tea, coffee. and harmful drugs, Involvement with gam-
    bling, pornographic, erotic or indecent material. disorderly, obscene
    or indecent conduct or expressions, or with other offensive materi-
    als. expressions or conduct or disruption of the peace which, in the
    sole discretion and judgment of the University, is inconsistent with
    the principles of the Church and the BYUH Honor Code is not
    permitted in student housing. All guests of students must comply
    with the Residential Living Standards while on the premises of
    University-contracted housing.
These principles of conduct above are applicable to ALL STU-
DENTS, whether married or single.
    Dress and Grooming Standards: All students of University-con-
    tracted housing are required to know the BYUH dress and groom-
    ing standards and abide by them.
                                    12
Please note that the dress and grooming standards are applicable to
ALL students.
What are the BYUH Dress and Grooming Standards?
The following are the BYUH dress and grooming standards:
•   The dress and grooming of both men and women should
    always be modest, neat and clean, consistent with the dignity of
    representing Brigham Young University Hawaii and The
    Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
•   Modesty and cleanliness are important values that reflect per-
    sonal dignity and integrity, through which students, staff and
    faculty of BYUH represent the principles and standards of the
    Church. These members of the BYUH community commit
    themselves to observe the following standards, which reflect the
    direction of the BYUH Board of Trustees and the Church pub-
    lication For the Strength of Youth.
•   Clothing should be modest in fabric, fit and style, and appropri-
    ate for the occasion. Skirts and shorts should be knee length or
    lower. Clothing which is sleeveless, strapless, or revealing is not
    acceptable. Footwear should be worn in public campus areas.
•   A clean and well-cared for appearance should be maintained.
    Hair styles should be clean and neat, avoiding extreme styles.
    Men’s hair should be trimmed above the collar, leaving the ear
    uncovered, If worn, mustaches should be neatly trimmed.
    Earrings for men are unacceptable, and beards are not accept-
    able, except for certified medical reasons.
•   Rental facilities with swimming pools, hot tubs, Jacuzzis, sun
    bathing areas, or on the beach can establish specific rules for
    swimwear. To help you establish swimwear guidelines, we sug-
    gest using the following rules around these areas:
    1. Bikinis and immodest or very brief swimsuits are not per-
       mitted for men or women.
    2. Bikinis, suits made of sheer material, and deep-cut suits (i.e.,
       high-cut legs or low-cut backs and fronts) are not to be worn
       in the above mentioned areas or the exterior of the building
       unless a full-length T-shirt is worn over the swimsuit.
                                  13
    3. All swimsuits and other clothing with straps and ties are to
       remain fastened or tied while swimming, sunbathing, or
       lounging.
What is the BYU Honor Code?
In the “conduct” paragraph of the Residential Living Standards (see
above), the first sentence states, “All students of university-approved
housing shall be required to conduct themselves in a manner consis-
tent with the principles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints and the BYUH Honor Code.” You should know what is con-
tained in the BYUH Honor Code since its principles are part of the
rental agreement to which your students have agreed to abide.
    The BYUH Honor Code: Brigham Young University exists to pro-
    vide a university education in an atmosphere consistent with the
    ideals and principles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
    Saints. That atmosphere can be preserved through commitment to
    conduct that reflects those ideals and principles. As a matter of per-
    sonal commitment, students, staff and faculty of Brigham Young
    University Hawaii seek to demonstrate in daily living on and off
    campus those moral virtues encompassed in the Gospel of Jesus
    Christ, and will:
      •   Be honest
      •   Live a chaste and virtuous life
      •   Obey the law
      •   Use clean language
      •   Respect others
      •   Abstain from alcoholic beverages, tobacco, tea, coffee, and
          drug abuse
      •   Help others fulfill their responsibilities under the Honor
          Code




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05/03/06.12008

								
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