We provide help in the area of CONSUMER LAW to families and individuals who are struggling with a variety of different issues, including:
Auto purchase and loan problems;
Home Ownership Issues
Credit reporting problems;
Debt collection and debtor’s rights;
Garnishments and repossessions;
Pay day loans and other lending issues;
Pre-purchase counseling for home owners;
Student loan discharge and collection issues;
Tax disputes with the IRS;
and other consumer legal issues
Legal Aid’s staff of attorneys and paralegals provide assistance with these issues through a variety of different methods, including: legal advice, help in filling out paperwork, making phone calls, document preparation, classes on how to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and full representation in limited cases.
To download materials about CONSUMER LAW
To access over 120 self-help resource materials
to assist you with your non-criminal legal needs,
primarily in the areas of Housing, Family, Consumer,
and Public Benefits Law.
This website is designed to provide general information and should not
be utilized as a substitute for professional legal advice.
CONSUMER LAW BROCHURES
Low-Income Tax Project
The purpose of the intake Hotline is to provide easy access to services at the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii. Primarily, our clients can apply for services through our toll-fee state-wide phone service, which operates during the following times:
MONDAY - FRIDAY
9:00am to 11:30am in the morning, and
1:00pm to 3:30pm in the afternoon
536-4302 on OAHU, or
1-800-499-4302 on the NEIGHBOR ISLANDS
To see if you QUALIFY for Legal Aid services
EXCEPTIONS TO INCOME & ASSET ELIGIBILITY
Legal Aid is allowed to waive the financial tests for certain clients contingent on funding from other sources.
• Big Island or Maui Seniors: Any Income
Change the funding code to: BIG ISLAND: Hawaii County Title III; MAUI: Maui County Title III
Legal Aid has several federal grants to help the elderly (60+). Maui and the Big Island have Title III grants which pay them to do legal work for seniors. (UHELP has the Title III grant for Oahu.)
• Foreclosure/Reverse mortgage or Pre-purchase counseling: Any Income
Legal Aid has a federal grant from HUD to operate a housing counseling program. Anyone facing foreclosure should be routed to the HUD Housing counseling unit. You may call the general intake hotline during hotline hours.
• HUD Homeless – Oahu Only: Any Income
Callers who are homeless (being evicted within a week with no where to go; living on the beach, street, park or place not meant for human habitation; fleeing a domestic violence housing situation; living in an emergency shelter; living in transitional housing; or in a hospital or institution for a short stay or being discharged with no where to go) are eligible for legal services under this program.
• IRS Grant: Income up to 250% FPL
Legal Aid’s Low Income Taxpayer Clinic provides assistance with federal tax disputes (this means almost any problem with the IRS) provided that the taxpayer’s income does not exceed 250% of the Federal Poverty Level guidelines established for Hawaii residents. Assistance can be provided regardless of the dollar value of the taxpayer’s personal assets. There are other requirements to be eligible for tax controversy representation, primarily related to the size and nature of the tax liabilities owed. Please call our intake lines at 536-4302 on Oahu, or call 1-800-499-4302 statewide, if you have a tax problem and need help, to discuss your tax problem and determine if you qualify for free legal assistance with that problem. This is a statewide program, but all tax cases are handled by staff located in Honolulu.
• Housing Discrimination Grant: Any Income
Callers who are experiencing discrimination in any housing situation (renting a unit, financing a housing purchase, applying for subsidized housing, etc) can call our Fair Housing Enforcement Program 808-527-8024 on Oahu or 1-866-527-FAIR (3247) on the Neighbor Islands.
• KID’s 200 Grant: Income up to 200% FPL
Caller’s are eligible if they have children in the house or are a child themselves and meet one of the following six criteria: 1) There are legal barriers preventing self sufficiency, 2) There are children in the household confirmed by CPS for child abuse and neglect, 3) The children are in a violent household, 4) There are runaway or homeless children, 5) the children are being denied educational access, or 6) There are teenage parents involved. Eligibility forms need to be completed.
• Affordable Lawyers: Gap Group Income
(between 125% FPL and 250% FPL)
Legal Aid's Affordable Lawyers Project offers legal services for a below market rate fee. Give applicants who are eligible for this program the number of the Affordable Lawyers Project on their island to call themselves. Do not open a docket. NOTE: Honolulu handles affordable lawyers cases for Oahu; Maui, Kauai, Kona and Hilo each handle their own cases.
Legal Aid offers free tax assistance for people with limited income. We also offer information in a variety of languages.
This project addresses the legal and financial
issues facing renters, home buyers, and homeowners defaulting on their
mortgages, regardless of their income and assets.
Services provided through the HUD Housing Counseling Program are broken down into 4 main categories:
1) Renter’s Assistance, 2) Homeownership Counseling & Pre-purchase Issues, 3) Default & Foreclosure, 4) Predatory Lending Scams, and 5) Reverse Mortgages
1) THE RENTER'S ASSISTANCE PROGRAM - provides renters with a broad range of legal assistance (from advice only to full representation) about tenants’ legal rights and responsibilities.
2) THE HOMEOWNERSHIP COUNSELLING & PRE-PURCHASE ISSUES - provides basic pre-purchase counseling or default counseling coupled with negotiation assistance with lenders when necessary. Pre-purchase counseling prepares individuals for home ownership by assisting them in qualifying for a home loan and educating them on home ownership issues. Post-purchase counseling may include advice and counsel on reverse mortgages, foreclosure, prevention of foreclosure, forbearance, repayment plans, bankruptcy, and other possible remedies. Services may also include negotiation on behalf of individuals who have disabilities or who face other obstacles preventing them from handling negotiations on their own.
3) DEFAULT & FORECLOSURE - Default and Foreclosure counseling provides clients who are in default or in the foreclosure process with individualized assistance in analysis of each client’s situation, status of delinquency, amount delinquent, past and current financial situations, expected future financial situation, goals and realistic goals. Advice is provided on client’s loss mitigation options, how to proceed in terms of the option they choose, and consequences that may follow. In some cases additional assistance is provided by contactin their lenders, assisting with workout packages, assisting with writing letters on their behalf, referrals to private attorneys, and various other services to help clients achieve their goals.
4) PREDATORY LENDING SCAMS - Predatory lending counseling provides clients with a comprehensive review of loan documents whenever possible if predatory lending is suspected. As appropriate for each individual case, the clients are assisted in negotiations with the lender to restructure the loan, assist in facilitating refinancing, and/or refer the case to legal staff or a private attorney for legal representation. Finally, individuals may receive counseling to determine if loans they are considering are predatory.
5) REVERSE MORTGAGES - Reverse Mortgage Counseling provides clients with individual counseling either in our office through home visits when necessary. Clients are given information and were counseled about the various aspects of the reverse mortgage, other options that may be available to them, and the consequences of a reverse mortgage. Upon completion of the counseling, a certificate of HECM counseling is provided allowing clients to go forward with reverse mortgage financing.
To speak with an advocate about a housing issue, call: