buildings and Honolulu skyline with Diamond Head in background

Hawaiʻi rental property owners continue to see elevated rates of rent debt owed and vacancies over the past six months, however they are more optimistic about the future, according to new findings from a survey released by the University of Hawaiʻi Economic Research Organization (UHERO).

UHERO estimates that 20% of renter households are late on rent, which translates to roughly 30,000 households, despite the active participation of nearly 40% of landlords in various rent relief programs. Landlords and property managers self-reported a high level of willingness to help address the situation, with two-thirds saying they were open to working on a payment plan.

In total, 181 landlords and property managers provided data on 6,167 rental units in the state as of November 2020. The report was authored by Philip Garboden, Hawaiʻi Community Reinvestment Corporation professor in affordable housing, and assistant professor in UHERO and UH Mānoa’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning in the College of Social Sciences.

Landlord optimism

While a third of survey respondents reported they are struggling to keep their portfolios profitable, this is a slight decrease from August 2020. A similar trend can be seen in anticipated rent changes, with nearly a fifth now saying that rents in their niche will likely start an upward trend.

Read the full blog post on UHERO’s website.

UHERO is housed in the College of Social Sciences.

This effort is an example of UH Mānoa’s goal of Excellence in Research: Advancing the Research and Creative Work Enterprise (PDF), one of four goals identified in the 2015–25 Strategic Plan (PDF), updated in December 2020.