Rhode Island Landlord Tenant Rights

Landlords and tenants can both benefit from our Rhode Island Landlord Tenant Rights guide before entering into a lease agreement.

Landlord Responsibilities

Landlords have certain responsibilities to their tenants. These include the duty to address, provide, or maintain the following:

  • Electrical wiring and outlets
  • Dwelling structures
  • Plumbing and sanitation
  • Heating
  • Water
  • Clean common areas (multi-family units only)
  • Garbage can and removal of garbage (4 or more dwelling units)

Tenants are required to give the landlord a 20-day notice to address issues with any of the above. If the landlord fails to address the issue within that timeframe, the tenant may repair the issue and withhold the amount of the repairs up to $125 from the total cost of the rent. Landlords are prohibited from engaging in retaliatory conduct.

Tenant Responsibilities

Tenants likewise have responsibilities to landlords. These include the duty to:

  • Maintain a safe and habitable unit
  • Pay rent in a timely manner
  • Remove garbage
  • Keep plumbing fixtures in a clean and sanitary condition
  • Reasonable use of all facilities and appliances
  • Comply with all building and housing codes
  • Not destroy or damage any part of the premises
  • Not use, sell, or manufacture any controlled substance on the premises
  • Not commit a violent crime
  • Not disturb other tenants or neighbors

Security Deposit

Rhode Island law caps the maximum allowable security deposit at 1 month’s rent. The landlord has 20 days to return the security deposit minus deductions to the tenant or may be held liable for the deposit plus a penalty fee.

Rent and Fees

Statewide, landlords can charge any amount they wish for rent. However, local jurisdictions may enact rent control policies. They also aren’t limited in the amount of rent increases but must give 60 days’ notice to tenants ages 62 and older, or 30 days’ notice to all other tenants.

Evictions

Landlords can evict tenants on the following grounds:

  • Foreclosure
  • A violation of the lease terms
  • Nonpayment of rent
  • No lease or end of lease
  • Illegal acts

Tenants can legally end their leases early in the below circumstances:

  • If there is an early termination clause in the lease
  • If the tenant experiences health issues or is of an advanced age
  • Landlord harassment
  • Active military duty

Lease Termination Notice

Landlords are required to give tenants notice of their lease being terminated. If the grounds for termination are nonpayment of rent the landlord must wait until the 15-day grace period is over before issuing a 5-day Notice to Pay; if the tenant still has not paid rent after the notice the landlord can proceed with eviction. If the termination is based on a lease violation, the landlord is required to give the tenant a 20-day notice to address the issue before pursuing eviction.

If the rental property is facing foreclosure, the tenant can’t be evicted unless one of the other grounds for eviction have occurred; if so, the landlord is required to give the tenant a 30-day notice. Landlords can immediately evict tenants without notice if they have documentation of the use, sale, or manufacture of drugs or other illegal acts.

Tenants are likewise required to give notice before terminating their lease. Week-to-week tenants should give a 10-day notice. Month-to-month tenants are required to give a 30-day notice. Annual tenants are required to give a 3-month notice.

Relevant State Agencies

Rhode Island Department of Housing and Urban Development

City-Specific Links

Providence:

Providence Housing Authority

Water

Electric

Gas

Cranston:

Cranston Housing Authority

Water

Electric

Gas

Warwick:

Warwick Housing Authority

Water

Electric

Gas

Official Rules and Regulations

Rhode Island Residential Landlord Tenant Act

Rhode Island Landlord Tenant Handbook