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Rhode Island Leases and Rental Agreements Laws

A rental agreement (or lease) is a legally binding contract between a landlord and a tenant, meant to protect the interests of both parties and provide a relatively level playing field. Leases and rental agreements are governed by state laws, which define the rights and responsibilities of the parties. The lease typically outlines things such as the due date for rent payments, whether pets are allowed (and any pet deposit that may be required), the amount of the security deposit, quiet hours, and so on. State (and federal) housing laws also prohibit discrimination against current or prospective tenants.

Rhode Island Lease and Rental Agreement Laws at a Glance

According to Rhode Island statute, the parties to a lease may agree on a term (one year, for example), but are month-to-month in the absence of an agreement. If the tenant pays weekly, then the default is week-to-week. Deposits, which may not be more than one-month's rent, must be returned (minus any deductions for repairs and cleaning) within 20 days of the lease termination.

The following table lists additional details about Rhode Island lease and rental agreement laws. See FindLaw's Rental and Lease Agreements section for more articles, including What is the Difference Between Subleasing and Reletting? and Parties to a Lease.

Code Section 34-18-19, 15; 34-37-2, et seq.
Terms of Leases Parties may agree to a term, otherwise month-to-month unless tenant pays weekly, then week-to-week
Deposits Limit 1 month rent; interest on deposit not required; deposit must be returned within 20 days of termination
Discrimination No discrimination on basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, ancestral origin, handicap, age or familial status; housing specifically for older persons exempted; landlord may discriminate against children in certain circumstances
Uniform Residential Landlord & Tenant Act Adopted? Yes

Note: State laws are not carved in stone and may change at a moment's notice, usually through the enactment of new legislation but sometimes through the actions of higher courts or other means. You should contact a Rhode Island tenant-landlord attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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