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David Robert Squeri III

David Squeri’s Answers

225 total

  • Lease says "2 bedroom/1 bath/1 parking..." but landlord says parking can only be used if lessee owns a car and not by guests.

    David’s Answer

    Of course, it is not possible to determine what the Tenant is entitled to without reviewing the Lease.

    However, generally, unless there is some kind of restriction in Lease, the Tenant is entitled to whatever is allotted to them under the Lease terms. For example, if the unit has two bedrooms but only one bedroom is being used, the Landlord cannot unilaterally decide to rent out the unused bedroom as storage space to others. The same principle applies here. If the Landlord is going to rent out your spot, you are probably entitled to a deduction in the rent. As the Landlord has breached the Lease, you could probably terminate your tenancy and move out, and then may be able use the Landlord’s prior breach as a defense if legal action is taken against you. (Please understand that there may be lawful restrictions on the use of the parking space depending on the contents of the Lease, and perhaps also the building rules.)

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  • Ive been given 30 days to vacate rental but have not found another place to move, paid rent on time.

    David’s Answer

    If you have the financial means, you may want to hire an attorney to assist you in this matter. I am not currently able to take on additional clients, but you can probably find an attorney on AVVO or the Hawaii State Bar Association Lawyer Referral & Information Service (LRIS). You can contact the LRIS office at (808) 537-9140 or by email at [email protected]

    If you are not able to afford and attorney, I believe that the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii (536-4302) offers assistance to people with low incomes that meet certain financial criteria. I also believe that they handle Landlord – Tenant issues for those that qualify. The Legal Aid site can also be a good source of information that you may find helpful:

    In addition, Volunteer Legal Services (528-7046) may also be able to provide low cost legal support.

    Due to COVID-19, I believe that currently there may be State and/or Federal restrictions on evictions. As these COVID-19 Government rules change quickly and do not pertain to my current cases, I am not able to comment in detail. However, you should investigate and see if there are any government restrictions in place that may pertain to your situation.

    I am sorry for your loss, and which you the best of luck.

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  • Can I sue a company that is charging me monthly without I order?

    David’s Answer

    Contract your credit card company, they will probably resolve the issue for you. The cost of trying to sue an out of state company for these minor (under $100) charges is likely to cost far too much to be feasible. You could also try contacting the State of Hawaii DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND CONSUMER AFFAIRS OFFICE OF CONSUMER PROTECTION.

    Hope this helps. Good luck.

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  • Can I file a lien, or claim against a general contractor after 45 days of non payment? I am a licensed subcontractor.

    David’s Answer

    I do not know the details of your case, but generally your options would be to take legal action against the general contractor and/or file a mechanics lien on the property of the project.

    In Hawaii there are deadlines associated with the filing of a mechanics lien, and you may have missed the window for filing. However, the start of the filing deadline (45 days) is likely to be dependent on the filing of a Notice of Completion. If it was not filed you still may be able to file the Mechanics Lien (we would need to know the facts in detail and may need to do some legal research to make a determination.)

    If the filing deadline has expired, it is likely that your options may be limited to taking legal action against the general contractor. Depending on your contract with the general contractor, you may be subject to an agreement to arbitrate your dispute.

    If you require legal assistance, please feel free to give me a call to discuss how we can help.

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  • My partner gave his business to a friend last June. He now wants to restart the same kind o business as a new entity.

    David’s Answer

    It does not sound like your partner has exposure to liability. However, without closely examining the facts, documents, and/or communications related to the transaction it is not really possible to tell for sure. I would suggest that your partner consider retaining an attorney to review the transaction and see if here is any liability to be concerned about. In addition to the non-comp issue, there could also be other matters that potentially could cause headaches (or worse) later on.

    Hope this helps- good luck!

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  • What can I do if I feel as if I am being harassed in my apartment complex?

    David’s Answer

    It would likely be to your advantage to call the police regarding any harassment and/or illegal acts perpetrated against you. It would also likely to be advantageous if you ensure that the police create a written record documenting any incident, as you may require this as evidence at a later time if legal cation becomes necessary.

    If you discover who has taken this action against you, it is possible to attempt to obtain a TRO and then an Injunction against Harassment from the Court. You can either hire an attorney to assist you or do it yourself. If you decide to proceed pro se (without an attorney) there is a self-help desk on the third floor of the Hawaii District Court, Honolulu Division courthouse on Alakea Street downtown. There is also a lot if information regarding the TRO/Injunction against Harassment process available on the internet, but just make sure you are looking at Hawaii specific information and that you verify before relying upon any internet derived information.

    Good Luck.

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  • Can I request landlord of office space to sound proof the thin wall. I can hear every sound, sneezing, laughing from next door

    David’s Answer

    Your Lease is likely to be the best source of information and is also likely to determine what your rights are in this matter. As you stated that it is a “Office space nice building downtown”, I assume that the Lease was professionally drafted by the Landlord’s legal counsel, which means that they probably have an “AS IS” clause, that stipulates that you have inspected the location and have freely decided to sign the Lease, with no reliance on representations or promises of the Landlord that are not contained within the Lease. This is likely to normally preclude your claim. However, depending on the cost of repair, it might be worthwhile to retain Legal counsel to review the Lease to see if it is possible to find any terms, conditions, or provisions that could work towards your advantage. Overall, if the cost to repair is around $5000 or less, it is probably not worth hiring an attorney, but if the cost is above $5,000, you might want to consider getting professional assistance.

    FYI: when signing a commercial lease, it is usually best to have an attorney review the document prior to signing, as sometimes Landlords will agree to amend provisions that a prospective tenant finds problematic. In addition, having such a review is likely to give insight into the possible ramifications of some of the more stringent lease terms.

    Hope this helps, Good Luck!

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  • HOW?

    David’s Answer

    You might consider taking it in steps, advancing each one if the offending conduct does not stop (send all letters registered mail and save a copy and get copies of all reports):

    1) Start gathering evidence (witnesses, have the air tested, have building security write reports, etc.) As you progress, to the greatest extent possible document everything that occurs, and preserve all evidence. In all steps below, do not expect that anyone will take your word for what is going on, it is likely that you will need to show documentation and evidence to show that there is a recurring problem with marijuana smoke in your unit.

    2) Find out who they are and ask them nicely to stop. If this is uncomfortable, you might write them an anonymous letter, telling them that they are causing their neighbors hardship and asking them to stop.

    3) Complain to your Landlord/Property Manager/AOAO. If your building has security, call them every time that this occurs and make sure that they write a report.

    4) Complain to HPD, call when the incident occurs, and if the officers do not take action, write HPD a letter of complaint regarding the repetitive drug use. When officers arrive, confirm that they will document the incident in a report, and ask how to obtain a copy of the report.

    5) Find out if they own the unit, if not, send a demand to their Landlord/Unit Owner notifying them of the issue. You can consider telling them that if they do not make their tenants stop you may legal action against both the Tenants and the Landlord/Owner.

    6) Take legal action against the Tenants/Landlord Owner (private nuisance, etc.). I believe that this case can be filed in the District Court for the district in which the unit is located.

    Private Nuisance:

    Hawaii State District Courts:

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  • Am I responsible for 1/2 of the expenses of a house I don't live in that I inherited 50% of 6 years ago as a tenant in common?

    David’s Answer

    Depending on specifically what costs are included inthe demand, I believe that you may be responsible for at least some and maybe all of the costs related directly to the ownership of the property, such as property tax or normal maintenance and upkeep. However, the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals case of Curtis v. Dorn, 123 Haw. 301 (2010) may be of interest to you.

    The Curtis v. Dorn case ruled that when a cotenant out of possession (COTOP) "who was not ousted from the property, but from whom a COTIP [cotenant in possession] seeks contribution for unpaid maintenance and improvements, may be entitled to offset a proportionate share of the property's rental value during the COTIP's occupancy of the property." Curtis v. Dorn, 123 Hawai‘i 301, 303, 234 P.3d 683, 685 (App. 2010).

    Thus, the general rule appears to be that a co-tenant is not obligated to pay rent to other co-tenants for occupancy absent demand for ouster. However, a co-tenant may request rental reimbursement when the other co-tenant in possession affirmatively seeks contribution for improvement or maintenance expenditures.

    In addition, you are probably not responsible for any debt not directly related to ownership, such as Heloc debit (unless the money was used for the upkeep of the house).

    If they do not adopt a more reasonable, you probably will need an attorney to fully advise you of your rights and/or, if necessary, take applicable action on your behalf.

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  • How do I sell jointly owned property when the other owners whereabouts are unknown?

    David’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    If you cannot get the other owner to agree to a sale, it is likely that you will need to file a partition lawsuit under Chapter 668 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes. Such a lawsuit should provide for a judicial sale of the property by auction, with the proceeds then divided amongst the owners. However, to increase proceeds from the sale, often the parties to such a lawsuit will agree to a private sale of the property to ensure that they receive full market value.

    Regarding finding the other party: A process server and sometimes the attorney working the case (for example my firm subscribes to a proprietary database service that allows us to search public records) will likely be able to find this individual. If not, a motion to allow service by publication can be filed with the court, and after conducting an unsuccessful search for this person, the Complaint for the partition lawsuit can be deemed served on the other party by publication of proper notice in the newspaper.

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