Rhode Island Landlord-Tenant Law

Rhode Island is a great state to consider for those looking to buy a rental property or for those looking to relocate. As the smallest state, you can be anywhere within an hour’s drive. Rhode Island also boasts fantastic beaches and has top-tier education. For property investors, Rhode Island’s home values have been increasing and are expected to continue to rise. For our recommendations on exactly where to invest in this state, take a look at our Rhode Island rental investment report – read below for guidance on Rhode Island landlord-tenant law.

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Laws that impact the rental market, landlords, and tenants are constantly being decided in states. Make sure you know what’s on your ballot – find Rhode Island voting information here.

Rhode Island Renters' Rights and Landlord Responsibilities

  • Have 20 days to return security deposit
  • A 30-day notice required before raising rent
  • Must give a two-day notice before entering 
  • Required to make repairs within a reasonable amount of time

When it comes to Rhode Island rental laws, there are a few specifics landlords need to know:

  1. Security Deposit – Rhode Island limits the amount a landlord may charge for the security deposit to the equivalent of one month’s rent. Landlords must return the deposit within 20 days of the tenant moving out.
  2. Raising Rent – Landlords in Rhode Island may increase the rent to any amount for any reason with a 30-day notice.
  3. Notice of Entry – Rhode Island requires a two-day notice from the landlord before entering the property, and landlords may only enter during reasonable hours.
  4. Repairs – It is the landlord’s responsibility to keep the rental in safe and healthy living conditions. Landlords must make repairs within a reasonable amount of time after being notified by the tenant. If the landlord fails to make repairs within this time frame, tenants may make the repairs themselves and deduct the cost from future rent payments or file a complaint with the housing court.

Rhode Island Landlords' Rights and Tenant Responsibilities

  • Tenants have five days to pay rent after they receive a notice 
  • Must give a 30-day notice before terminating a lease
  • Tenants must keep the unit in safe and habitable condition
  • Landlord must store abandoned property
  1. Overdue Rent – If a tenant fails to pay rent on time, the landlord must give them five days’ notice to pay or quit. If the tenant fails to pay, the landlord may file for eviction.
  2. Terminating a Lease – If a tenant needs to terminate a month-to-month lease, they must give the landlord a 30-day notice.
  3. Tenant Responsibilities – Tenants are required to keep the property clean, not disturb neighbors, and make small repairs.
  4. Abandoned Property – If a tenant moves out and leaves personal property, the landlord must notify them and store the property for a reasonable amount of time. After this time period, if the ex-tenant has not claimed it, the landlord may dispose of it how they see fit.

Rhode Island Landlord-Tenant Law FAQ

Below are answers to some of the most commonly-asked questions when it comes to landlord-tenant laws in Rhode Island:

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Can You Withhold Rent in Rhode Island?

The only instance where a tenant may withhold rent is if a landlord fails to make requested repairs. Tenants may pay for the repairs themselves and deduct the cost from the following rent payments.

How Long Does it Take to Evict a Tenant in Rhode Island?

Evicting a tenant in Rhode Island can take anywhere from 1 to 4 months, depending on the reason for eviction. 

Is Rhode Island a Landlord-Friendly State?

Rhode Island is a somewhat landlord-friendly state because there are few rent control laws. 

What is the Eviction Process in Rhode Island?

There are five reasons a landlord may file for eviction in Rhode Island. Failure to pay rent, violation of the lease agreement, the end of the lease term, foreclosure of the rental unit, and illegal activity. Depending on the violation, the landlord must give the tenant notice and anywhere from 5-30 days to cure their violation. 

If the tenant fails to cure or quit, then the landlord may file a complaint with the court, which costs $80. After the complaint is filed, it will be served to the tenant at least five days before the hearing.

After the tenant is served with the summons, they must file an answer within nine to 20 days of receiving the summons. After, the hearing will be scheduled after nine days of the answer being filed.

If the court rules in favor of the landlord, then a writ of execution will be issued six days later. The tenant will have a few hours to a few days to move out. 

How Much Notice Does a Landlord Have to Give a Tenant to Move Out in Rhode Island?

Landlords must give a 30-day notice before asking a tenant to vacate the property.

Due Diligence and Rhode Island Rental Laws

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TurboTenant has utilized many municipal sources along with official state statutes in order to compile this information to the best of our ability. However, local laws are always in flux, and landlords and tenants alike should do their due diligence and consult legal help when it’s needed. We hope the following list can serve as a valuable resource and allow you to succeed as a landlord or tenant in Rhode Island. Be sure to take proper precautions when it comes to finding the top candidates for your unit by utilizing our online rental application and tenant screening services.

Disclaimer: TurboTenant, Inc does not provide legal advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only. All users are advised to check all applicable local, state, and federal laws, and consult legal counsel should questions arise.

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