Rhode Island Tenant Rights Laws

As a renter, you know that the comforts and security of home can be significantly disrupted by a conflict with your landlord. The law recognizes various tenants' rights, and it's a good idea to be familiar with your state's laws on the topic. Read on to learn more about your rights as a Rhode Island tenant.

Rhode Island Tenants Rights Overview

Rhode Island law governs the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants. For example, the law contains provisions limiting how much a landlord can require as a security deposit and limits how much time a landlord has to return the security deposit at the end of the tenancy. Rhode Island law also recognizes a tenant's right to "repair and deduct." This means that if your landlord refuses to make essential repairs after being notified of a problem, you can pay for the repair out of pocket and reduce your rent payment accordingly.

Rhode Island also has particularly inclusive laws protecting tenants from landlord discrimination. The federal Fair Housing Act, which applies to all states, makes it illegal for a landlord to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, and disability. However, Rhode Island's fair housing law is even more comprehensive and makes it illegal for a tenant to be discriminated against on the basis of marital status, sexual orientation, age, gender identity, or status as a victim of domestic violence.

The below chart provides more detail about Rhode Island tenants' rights laws.

Statutes

Rhode Island Residential Landlord and Tenant Act

Security Deposits

  • Landlord can't charge more than one month's rent as a security deposit
  • Landlord must return security deposit or provide list of itemized deductions within 20 days of tenant move-out

Paying Rent

  • Landlord must provide at least 30 days' notice to tenant before increasing rent

Living Conditions

  • Tenants have the right to "repair and deduct" if landlord fails to make important repairs
  • Landlords must provide 2 days' notice before entering unit
  • For less critical repairs, landlord must, in good faith, begin repairs within 12 days

Discrimination

  • It's illegal for landlord to discriminate against tenant on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, age, gender identity, or victims of domestic violence

Ending or Renewing a Tenancy

  • Landlord may give an unconditional quit notice to a tenant who has possessed, used, or sold illegal drugs
  • If rent is overdue more than 15 days, landlord can send notice to pay or quit within 5 days, and thereafter landlord can evict tenant
  • If tenant is in substantial noncompliance with the lease, landlord can evict after providing 21 days' notice
  • For a week-to-week tenancy, either party can terminate lease by providing at least 10 days' notice
  • For a month-to-month tenancy, either party can terminate lease by providing at least 30 days' notice
  • For a year-to-year tenancy, either party can terminate lease by providing at least 3 months' notice

Retaliation

  • Landlord can't discriminate against tenant for exercising legal rights

Note: State regulations are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Related: Rhode Island Tenants' Rights Resources

Get a Free Evaluation of Your Landlord/Tenant Case

It's not uncommon for renters to be unsure about their legal rights as tenants. If you believe your landlord has acted illegally, or you want to learn more about Rhode Island tenants' rights, consider getting professional help. FindLaw can match you with an experienced landlord/tenant lawyer for your free case evaluation.

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