Know Your Rights
R.I.G.L. § 34-18-19
- Your security deposit cannot be more than the value of one-months’ rent.
- Your landlord cannot require you to pay BOTH security and the last month of rent (double-dipping).
- Always get a receipt for your deposit, and save it!
- When moving, give your landlord written notice that you are terminating your tenancy:
- If you pay rent weekly, give 10 days.
- If you pay rent monthly, give 30 days.
- If you fail to give your landlord proper notice, he CAN use your security for rent.
- Take pictures of the apartment before you hand in the keys.
- Give your new address to the landlord, in writing!
- Your landlord is supposed to return your security deposit to you, by mail, within twenty (20) days of your vacating the unit.
- If your landlord feels there is damage to the unit and wants to use your security deposit for repairs, they MUST give you an itemized list of the damage and repair costs that they incurred.
- The landlord must give you a written statement telling you the name, address and phone number of the manager of the apartment and of the owner (or person authorized to act on his/her behalf).
- This is the person to contact if there is a problem with your apartment. This is also who you contact if you are planning to move out.
R.I.G.L. § 34-18-26
- Tenants may not unreasonably withhold access to the apartment from the landlord.
- Landlords must give tenants at least two (2) days’ notice of their intent to enter the unit and may only enter during reasonable times.
- Landlord-assuming proper notice-may enter the unit to: make repairs, inspect the premises, decorate, make alterations or improvements, supply necessary services, or show the unit to prospective buyers or renters, etc.
- Landlord may enter WITHOUT notice in cases of emergency, or during the absence of the tenant in excess of seven (7) days, if necessary for protection of the property.
R.I.G.L. § 34-18-22
- Your landlord MUST:
- Comply with building and housing codes
- Make necessary repairs and do everything necessary to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition.
- Keep all common areas in a clean and safe condition.
- Keep and maintain all utilities and appliances in good working order.
- Provide and maintain receptacles.
- Supply running water and reasonable amounts of hot water as determined in the applicable state and local housing codes.
- Keep the unit heated to a temperature of at least 68 degrees between the period of October 1 and May 1, as determined in R.I.G.L § 45-24.3-9.
- There is no rent control law in the State of Rhode Island.
- If your rent is more than fifteen (15) days late, your landlord can evict you.
- You should always pay your rent before other bills.
- ALWAYS, always, always get a receipt for your rent paid!
- You landlord is allowed to increase your rent after proper notice periods. You can either choose to pay the higher rent or leave the apartment.
There are three main types of evictions: (1) nonpayment of rent; (2) noncompliance with the rental agreement; (3) termination of periodic tenancy. You have the right to stay in your apartment until a Judge orders you to leave! Generally, a landlord does NOT need a reason to evict you, but they must follow the proper procedures. This includes going through the formal eviction process and getting a court order.
R.I.G.L. § 34-18-35
Evictions for nonpayment of rent are just that — an eviction because you have stopped paying your rent or have not paid the full amount of rent required under your rental agreement. You will first be given a demand notice to pay your rent within five (5) days, and then an eviction can be filed.
R.I.G.L. § 34-18-36
Evictions for noncompliance with your rental agreement are just that–your have engaged in some behavior that is prohibited in your rental agreement. Common examples are smoking, having pets, or unauthorized people living with you. You will first be given a notice stating you are in violation of your rental agreement and given a “cure” period to fix the behavior. If you fail to correct the behavior, an eviction can be filed against you in court.
Termination of Periodic Tenancy
R.I.G.L. § 34-18-37
- A periodic tenancy is one where there is no lease in place. If there is a lease in place, that contract between the landlord and tenant is binding, and the landlord and tenant must abide by the termination procedures laid out in the lease.
- A landlord may terminate your periodic tenancy as long as he follows the proper notice requirements. The landlord does not need a reason to terminate a periodic tenancy, and can terminate for no reason at all. There are some excepts to this rule, specifically for discrimination or retaliation against the tenant for exercising their legal rights to call code.
R.I.G.L. § 34-18-47 & R.I.G.L. § 34-18-49
- Generally, there is a five (5) day appeal period after each eviction. This appeal period may have been waived if you entered into a stipulation agreement in court.
- It costs approximately $160.00 to file an appeal to the Superior Court; however, this may be waived by a judge if you show low income and assets.
- Execution will be stayed pending your appeal (your landlord cannot kick you out while your appeal is pending).
- In order for execution to be stayed, you MUST pay rent in full and on-time as it becomes due. Failure to do this will result in your appeal being dismissed, and your landlord can go forward with execution of the eviction judgment.
Execution of Eviction Judgement
R.I.G.L. § 34-18-48
- Once the appeal period has lapsed (Day 6), your landlord can obtain an execution and hire a Sheriff to forcibly remove you from your apartment.
- No prior notice is required and they can show up at any time.
- Your landlord is supposed to put your belongings into storage.
- You must pay the moving and storage fees to get your belongings back