Residential Property Management/Renatal deposit return

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Question
Hi...shot in the dark,
I winter in Hawaii, Big Island and am a Naturalist/Guide in a national park Summers.
Myself and 2 other guides have been renting houses for several winters in Hawaii.  Never a problem, it's referenced and documented.  We are mature individuals.  I am over 60, nobody under 40.
This winter's landlady and agent have not returned the security deposit, about $1600.  They are making outrageous claims as to the condition of the house upon our leaving.
They are well outside The Hawaiian State Limits for the return.
They have done nothing despite our attempts to communicate.  Most of the time they don't respond.  They think we will not be back and just give-up.  Any response has been a question asking what we think we are responsible for???  I, in the beginning said that of course I believed we were responsible for a final electric bill and carpet cleaning, but mind is changing, due to being jerked-along.
No bills or justification have been presented for anything.
I'm looking to find out if there is a small claims statute of limitations?  We will be back by October.
What is the maximum, above, our deposit allowed in small claims?
Do we have off-island options to resolve this matter, or apply pressure to receive some kind of answer?

Answer
Unfortunately, I'm in California and thus am not familiar with Hawaii's laws so I couldn't answer your questions regarding that state's regulations relating to security deposits (including requirements for security deposit accounting). However, i would certainly press the matter in small claims if you feel the landlord unfairly withheld the deposit. Prior to that, I would put your demands in writing as any judge will want to see that. Hopefully you took pictures upon your move-in and move-out to demonstrate the before and after condition of the house. Or, perhaps move-in and move-out forms were filled out. If not, you may have a difficult time proving your case.

Residential Property Management

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Mike Fortunato

Expertise

Very familiar with all aspects of property management (tenant/landlord issues, lease administration, facilities maintenance, financials, etc). 25+ years in property management

Experience

I have been in real estate management for 25+ years, both residential and commercial properties. Currently own and operate a commercial and residential real estate management company in southern California.

Organizations
IREM; BOMA; MLS; National Association of Realtors; California Association of Realtors

Education/Credentials
CPM (Certified Property Manager) and RPA (Real Property Administrator)

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