Ige put the moratorium in place last year after stay-at-home orders prompted by the pandemic put hundreds of thousands of people out of work. Hawaii still had the highest unemployment rate in the nation as of April, but the state has been opening back up and encouraging tourism again now that the COVID-19 vaccine is more widely available.
Although the moratorium has helped renters keep their housing, it’s been frustrating for landlords who haven’t been able to count on rental income. The Legislature passed a bill this year that creates a pathway for lifting the moratorium and requires landlords to participate in mediation if a tenant requests it. The bill is sitting on the governor’s desk.
Ige said he didn’t know how many people lifting the moratorium would affect but said he thinks mediation and rent relief could help renters who are behind on rent.
“Hopefully we won’t see just a huge increase in those who are evicted or become homeless,” he said.
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