Hawaii’s narrow eviction moratorium means not everyone is protected

Waianae couple evicted after foreclosure, exposing hole in coronavirus moratorium

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Evictions are on hold as part of Gov’s David Ige’s supplemental emergency proclamation — but only evictions for non-payment of rent.

Larry Tinay, 78, and his wife, Caroldeen, 68, learned that the hard way.

They’re now living in their truck.

On May 8, three weeks after the moratorium was issued, sheriff’s deputies arrived at their home on McArthur Street in Waianae.

“They told us that we had to get out,” Caroldeen said. “We had our clothing and stuff and came out here and started sleeping in the car.”

The locks to the home were changed and the couple was warned that they’d be arrested if they entered.

Waianae couple evicted despite moratorium
Waianae couple evicted despite moratorium (Source: None)

The home once belonged to Larry’s grandfather.

After he died, other family members disagreed on what to do with the property.

The Tinays were allowed to live in the home for the last five years, then it fell into foreclosure.

“Foreclosures are not covered by the supplemental proclamation what we have is a landlord-tenant law in Hawaii’s Revised Statutes,” said Attorney General Clare Connors. “So foreclosures are a court process, it’s a separate process, so right now it’s not covered, in part, because our statutes don’t cover that area."

The Waianae foreclosure was approved by a judge before the moratorium — and ahead of the COVID-19 shutdown. And the eviction was followed through with despite concerns about adding to the homeless population amid a pandemic.

Waianae couple evicted despite moratorium
Waianae couple evicted despite moratorium (Source: None)

The Tinays have been married for 50 years. They are both retired and live off Social Security.

They are worried because they are no longer able to self-isolate during the outbreak and both have underlying health conditions. “I’m asthmatic," said Caroldeen Tinay. “(Larry) has got a stent in his heart.”

She says her husband is also diabetic so she’s constantly having to get ice to keep his insulin cold.

For now, they are being allowed to park their truck on the property. They just can’t go inside.

There have been several evictions due to foreclosures this month.

In some cases there are federal protections. The Legal Aid Society of Hawaii has a COVID-19 help section with more information.

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