Rhode Island Laws for Landlords.
Your Resource for laws affecting landlords in Rhode Island

(Information is updated daily)

Landlord Legislation in Rhode Island

Below is a list of laws for landlords in Rhode Island. New resources, bills and articles are updated daily. You can also type in a Bill Number or Keyword in the search bar to find additional details on laws.

RI H6087 Residential Landlord And Tenant Act

Introduced Session

2021 Regular Session

Summary
Modifies the summons for reasons other than nonpayment of rent to add a certificate of service section and provides for posting of summons and complaint on tenant's dwelling door. Effective January 1, 2022.
Sponsors
Deborah Fellela Thomas Noret James McLaughlin
Last Action
Introduced, referred to House Judiciary
View Details
https://lawsforlandlords.com/bill/ri-2021-h6087/

RI S0183 Residential Landlord And Tenant Act

Introduced Session

2021 Regular Session

Summary
Imposes a moratorium on non-essential evictions/mortgage foreclosures during a state of emergency declared by the governor relating to residential property and establishes an eviction diversion program to resolve landlord-tenant eviction disputes.
Sponsors
Dawn Euer Dominick Ruggerio Michael McCaffrey Maryellen Goodwin Sandra Cano Tiara Mack Meghan Kallman Frank Lombardo Bridget Valverde Alana DiMario
Last Action
Committee recommended measure be held for further study
View Details
https://lawsforlandlords.com/bill/ri-2021-s0183/

RI H5309 Residential Landlord And Tenant Act

Introduced Session

2021 Regular Session

Summary
Imposes a moratorium on non-essential evictions/mortgage foreclosures during a state of emergency declared by the governor relating to residential property and establishes an eviction diversion program to resolve landlord-tenant eviction disputes.
Sponsors
Grace Diaz Scott Slater Ramon Perez Joshua Giraldo Leonela Felix Deborah Fellela Carlos Tobon Katherine Kazarian Jose Batista
Last Action
Introduced, referred to House Judiciary
View Details
https://lawsforlandlords.com/bill/ri-2021-h5309/

RI S0131 Residential Landlord And Tenant Act

Introduced Session

2021 Regular Session

Summary
Permits those other residents of a residential dwelling unit to extend the term of the rental agreement for a period not to exceed three (3) months after the death of the lessee.
Sponsors
Samuel Bell Jeanine Calkin Cynthia Mendes Frank Lombardo Tiara Mack Kendra Anderson Frank Ciccone Alana DiMario Melissa Murray Sandra Cano
Last Action
Committee recommended Substitute A be held for further study
View Details
https://lawsforlandlords.com/bill/ri-2021-s0131/

RI H5389 Residential Landlord And Tenant Act

Introduced Session

2021 Regular Session

Summary
Amends the "residential landlord and tenant act" to allow a landlord prior to any residential rental agreement shall deliver to prospective tenant a valid certificate of rental suitability as defined in § 34-18-22.4. Effective July 1, 2022.
Sponsors
Karen Alzate June Speakman Katherine Kazarian Anastasia Williams Kathleen Fogarty
Last Action
Committee recommended measure be held for further study
View Details
https://lawsforlandlords.com/bill/ri-2021-h5389/

RI S0510 Residential Landlord And Tenant Act

Introduced Session

2021 Regular Session

Summary
Amends the "residential landlord and tenant act" to require a landlord, prior to agreement, to deliver a valid certificate of rental suitability.
Sponsors
Dawn Euer
Last Action
Introduced, referred to Senate Judiciary
View Details
https://lawsforlandlords.com/bill/ri-2021-s0510/

RI S0668 Relating To Property – Residential Rent And Mortgage Cancellation Act Of 2021

Introduced Session

2021 Regular Session

Summary
Forgives rent for tenants and mortgage payments for small homeowners from the date of a declared health emergency by the governor until the expiration of ninety (90) days after the governor declares that the state of emergency has ended.
Sponsors
Tiara Mack
Last Action
Introduced, referred to Senate Judiciary
View Details
https://lawsforlandlords.com/bill/ri-2021-s0668/

RI H6073 Relating To Property – Residential Rent And Mortgage Cancellation Act Of 2021

Introduced Session

2021 Regular Session

Summary
Forgives rent for tenants and mortgage payments for small homeowners from the date of a declared health emergency by the governor until the expiration of ninety (90) days after the governor declares that the state of emergency has ended.
Sponsors
Brianna Henries John Lombardi Karen Alzate David Morales
Last Action
Introduced, referred to House Finance
View Details
https://lawsforlandlords.com/bill/ri-2021-h6073/

RI H5573 Residential Landlord And Tenant Act

Introduced Session

2021 Regular Session

Summary
Requires a landlord to obtain and have in full force and effect a general liability policy of at least one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) for those persons injured on the premises due to the negligence of the landlord.
Sponsors
Thomas Noret
Last Action
Committee recommended measure be held for further study
View Details
https://lawsforlandlords.com/bill/ri-2021-h5573/

RI S0718 Residential Landlord And Tenant Act

Introduced Session

2021 Regular Session

Summary
Requires a landlord to obtain and have in full force and effect a general liability policy of at least one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) for those persons injured on the premises due to the negligence of the landlord.
Sponsors
Michael McCaffrey
Last Action
Introduced, referred to Senate Judiciary
View Details
https://lawsforlandlords.com/bill/ri-2021-s0718/

RI S0219 Housing Construction

Introduced Session

2021 Regular Session

Summary
Creates the housing jobs department and a series of other initiatives designed to create jobs in housing construction, specifically affordable and low-income housing, green and solar energy jobs and programs for low-income individuals.
Sponsors
Jonathon Acosta Tiara Mack Jeanine Calkin Kendra Anderson Meghan Kallman Samuel Bell Cynthia Mendes
Last Action
Committee recommended measure be held for further study
View Details
https://lawsforlandlords.com/bill/ri-2021-s0219/

RI H6074 Housing Construction

Introduced Session

2021 Regular Session

Summary
Creates the housing jobs department and a series of other initiatives designed to create jobs in housing construction, specifically affordable and low-income housing, green and solar energy jobs and programs for low-income individuals.
Sponsors
Brianna Henries David Morales John Lombardi Katherine Kazarian Terri-Denise Cortvriend Marcia Ranglin-Vassell Leonela Felix Karen Alzate Gregg Amore
Last Action
Introduced, referred to House Finance
View Details
https://lawsforlandlords.com/bill/ri-2021-h6074/

RI S0421 Immigration Status

Introduced Session

2021 Regular Session

Summary
Prohibits a landlord from asking about the immigration status of a tenant, prospective tenant, occupant, or prospective occupant of residential rental property.
Sponsors
Ana Quezada Melissa Murray Sandra Cano Valarie Lawson Meghan Kallman
Last Action
Committee recommended measure be held for further study
View Details
https://lawsforlandlords.com/bill/ri-2021-s0421/

RI H5734 Immigration Status

Introduced Session

2021 Regular Session

Summary
Prohibits a landlord from asking about the immigration status of a tenant, prospective tenant, occupant, or prospective occupant of residential rental property.
Sponsors
Joshua Giraldo David Morales Karen Alzate
Last Action
Committee recommended measure be held for further study
View Details
https://lawsforlandlords.com/bill/ri-2021-h5734/

RI S0606 Housing Maintenance And Occupancy Code

Introduced Session

2021 Regular Session

Summary
Landlords responsible to tenants if tenants evicted due to landlord neglect and allows municipality to place lien on property.
Sponsors
Tiara Mack
Last Action
Withdrawn at sponsor's request
View Details
https://lawsforlandlords.com/bill/ri-2021-s0606/

RI H5646 Housing Maintenance And Occupancy Code

Introduced Session

2021 Regular Session

Summary
Landlords responsible to tenants if tenants evicted due to landlord neglect and allows municipality to place lien on property.
Sponsors
Rebecca Kislak Scott Slater David Morales John Lombardi Edith Ajello
Last Action
Committee postponed at request of sponsor (03/18/2021)
View Details
https://lawsforlandlords.com/bill/ri-2021-h5646/

RI S2565 Residential Landlord And Tenant Act

Introduced Session

2020 Regular Session

Summary
Modifies the summons for eviction for reasons other than nonpayment of rent with the district court, to add a certificate of service section, and provide the options to post the summons and complaint conspicuously on the door of the defendant's dwelling.
Sponsors
Frank Ciccone Frank Lombardo Frank Lombardi
Last Action
Introduced, referred to Senate Judiciary
View Details
https://lawsforlandlords.com/bill/ri-2020-s2565/

RI S2926 Residential Landlord And Tenant Act

Introduced Session

2020 Regular Session

Summary
Imposes a moratorium on non-essential evictions/mortgage foreclosures during a state of emergency declared by the governor relating to residential property and establishes an eviction diversion program to resolve landlord-tenant eviction disputes.
Sponsors
William Conley Sandra Cano Dawn Euer Harold Metts Elizabeth Crowley
Last Action
Introduced, referred to Senate Judiciary
View Details
https://lawsforlandlords.com/bill/ri-2020-s2926/

RI H8126 Residential Landlord And Tenant Act

Introduced Session

2020 Regular Session

Summary
Imposes a moratorium on non-essential evictions/mortgage foreclosures during a state of emergency declared by the governor relating to residential property and establishes an eviction diversion program to resolve landlord-tenant eviction disputes.
Sponsors
Grace Diaz
Last Action
Introduced, referred to House Finance
View Details
https://lawsforlandlords.com/bill/ri-2020-h8126/

RI H7708 Residential Landlord And Tenant Act

Introduced Session

2020 Regular Session

Summary
Limits the amount a landlord could demand or receive from a tenant as a security deposit.
Sponsors
Christopher Blazejewski Grace Diaz Rebecca Kislak Jean Barros Karen Alzate
Last Action
Introduced, referred to House Judiciary
View Details
https://lawsforlandlords.com/bill/ri-2020-h7708/

RI H7638 Residential Landlord And Tenant Act

Introduced Session

2020 Regular Session

Summary
Amends the "residential landlord and tenant act" to allow a landlord prior to any residential rental agreement shall deliver to prospective tenant a valid certificate of rental suitability as defined in § 34-18-22.4.
Sponsors
Karen Alzate Julie Casimiro Justine Caldwell Katherine Kazarian
Last Action
Committee recommended measure be held for further study
View Details
https://lawsforlandlords.com/bill/ri-2020-h7638/

RI S2755 Residential Landlord And Tenant Act

Introduced Session

2020 Regular Session

Summary
Amends the "residential landlord and tenant act" to allow a landlord prior to any residential rental agreement shall deliver to prospective tenant a valid certificate of rental suitability as defined in § 34-18-22.4.
Sponsors
Dawn Euer Melissa Murray Elizabeth Crowley Sandra Cano Harold Metts
Last Action
Introduced, referred to Senate Judiciary
View Details
https://lawsforlandlords.com/bill/ri-2020-s2755/

RI S2089 Residential Landlord And Tenant Act

Introduced Session

2020 Regular Session

Summary
Mandates that a landlord has a general liability policy of at least $100,000 in effect for those injured on the premises due to the landlord's negligence. Failure to provide proof of insurance precludes a landlord from proceeding on an eviction action.
Sponsors
Frank Lombardi Frank Ciccone William Conley Michael McCaffrey
Last Action
Committee recommended measure be held for further study
View Details
https://lawsforlandlords.com/bill/ri-2020-s2089/

RI S2260 Residential Landlord And Tenant Act

Introduced Session

2020 Regular Session

Summary
Permits those other residents of a residential dwelling unit to extend the term of the rental agreement for a period not to exceed three (3) months after the death of the lessee.
Sponsors
Samuel Bell Dawn Euer Melissa Murray Ana Quezada Donna Nesselbush
Last Action
Committee recommended measure be held for further study
View Details
https://lawsforlandlords.com/bill/ri-2020-s2260/

RI S2085 Residential Landlord And Tenant Act

Introduced Session

2020 Regular Session

Summary
Prohibits landlords from terminating periodic tenancies from December 1 to February 1 for elderly or disabled tenants.
Sponsors
Roger Picard
Last Action
Committee recommended measure be held for further study
View Details
https://lawsforlandlords.com/bill/ri-2020-s2085/

Must-Know Rhode Island Landlord-Tenant Laws

Law For Landlords

In the U.S., there are nearly 48.5 million rental units. A little over half of these rental units are owned by business entities, while the rest are owned by individual investors.

There are a lot of good reasons to own rental property in, including providing a passive income source as well as the potential for property value appreciation. Many Americans have managed to make rental property ownership their full-time job, while others might keep a few rental properties as a way of making extra income.

If you are considering becoming a landlord, you likely have a lot of questions. What regulations do landlords need to know? What should I know as a landlord in general?

Understanding landlord-tenant laws is essential for protecting yourself legally and financially. Here’s a brief guide for self-managing landlords regarding some of the most important federal and state laws.

The Fair Housing Act

The Fair Housing Act is one of the two major federal laws that impact all property managers and landlords across the country. This is a law that prohibits discrimination due to national origin, race, religion, color, disability, sex or familial status. This law applies to:

  • Renting or buying a home
  • Seeking housing assistance
  • Getting a mortgage
  • Engaging in other housing-related activities

This law extends beyond leasing where landlords are concerned. It also applies to advertising, meaning that it is illegal to market your properties to any specific group of people.

Fair Credit Reporting Act

The Fair Credit Reporting Act is a law that requires landlords to do a number of things when running a credit check. These include receiving permission from an applicant to run a credit report, informing the applicant if their credit report was the basis for adverse action or denial, and providing specific information regarding the credit reporting agency they used

Law Paint Law

It is required by landlords under federal law to disclose the presence of lead paint. They are not required to remove lead paint under federal law, but state laws might dictate otherwise. It’s important to learn about your state and municipality laws regarding lead paint in addition to the federal law.

Discrimination Law

Beyond the Federal Fair Housing Act, state and local laws might provide additional protection beyond the federal law. These might extend protections to people based on their sexual orientation, age, marital status, political association and even hairstyle.

Tenant Duties

While your tenant is responsible for some things, you should know what those things are as the landlord. Then, you can include those duties in your lease agreement. If a tenant doesn’t fulfill their duties, you may be able to provide a notice to vacate in law. Your tenants need to comply with local health and building codes to keep themselves and others safe. They also need to dispose of garbage safely and legally, and they need to use the property reasonably. That means living in the property, but unreasonable uses could include conducting business. Tenants are also responsible for keeping the property clean on a daily basis. They also can’t do anything that would disturb their neighbors, especially if you own a duplex or a similar property. A tenant must also ensure their guests also comply with these requirements. And whenever your tenant has any issues, they must notify you so that you can correct the problem.

Security Deposit Limit

Before a tenant moves in, you can charge them a security deposit. Fortunately, doesn’t have any limitations regarding the amount the deposit can be. You can set an amount based on the property’s rent or value. And you can charge a security deposit for short-term or long-term leases. Then, you can hold onto that amount for the duration of the tenant’s stay. While you can use the money from the deposit, it’s smart to keep it in a separate account. When the tenant moves out, you can make sure you have enough money to pay them back. You can outline the terms of the security deposit, such as the amount and when you will return it, in your lease agreement. That way, you and your tenant both understand the terms, and you can use similar language if you ever buy property in another state.

A Legal Lease Document

Each state and some municipalities might have laws regarding the lease contract. Rental contracts must abide by all laws and be legally written. It is necessary to indicate tenant names, monthly rental rates, and leasing periods clearly.

In some jurisdictions, it is required that certain legal disclosures be included in the lease document. Working with a lawyer to produce your rental contract can help ensure that the lease provides all of the required information and doesn’t break any federal, state, or local laws.

Required Disclosures

It is common in many states to require landlords to inform tenants about individual landlord policies, certain state laws, or specific information about the rental. It might be required that this is disclosed within the lease itself or in additional documentation.

It’s important to look into your state’s requirements about disclosures. However, some commonly required disclosures include notice of recent deaths, mold, meth contamination, or other safety or health hazards.

Providing a Safe Environment

One important landlord-tenant law has to do with the habitability of the rental unit. The definition of “safe, habitable condition” might be different between states. For this reason, you must familiarize yourself with the laws for landlords in your location.

Typically, this means that the property cannot have serious deficiencies. It also means that fixtures, appliances, heating, and plumbing need to be in working order. You also cannot rent out a property that is infested with pests or insects.

 Landlords are usually responsible for dealing with infestations even if the outbreak happens after the tenant moves in. However, in many states, this can be avoided by specifying that the renter is responsible for pest control.

Laws About Making Repairs

In the lease agreement, it will be outlined that the tenants are responsible for reporting necessary repairs. It then becomes the landlord’s responsibility to complete the repairs within an appropriate amount of time.

If a landlord doesn’t make a repair in a timely manner in a way that impacts the safety or health of a tenant, a tenant might have the right to withhold rent.

Security Deposits

It is common for landlords to require a security deposit from the tenant. This is in order to cover the costs of any damage the tenant causes or if they fail to pay rent. A landlord must refund the security deposit unless it is needed to cover the cost of fixing property damage or covering default rent payments.

In some states, how the security deposit is kept is dictated by the law. It is also typically required that an itemized list of deductions must be provided to the tenant if the landlord is using some of the deposit for these purposes.

The unused portion of the deposit must be returned and the itemized statement must be provided. If they aren’t, the landlord can face financial and legal repercussions.

Renters Right To Privacy

Most landlord-tenant rules and regulations cover the right to quiet enjoyment of a tenant. This means that it is their right to live on a property undisturbed. The landlord must give proper notice before entering the rental unit, which is usually 24 to 48 hours unless there is an emergency.

Landlords can only enter the rental property for valid reasons and at a reasonable time of day after giving notice.

Landlord-Tenant Laws: Essential For Protecting Yourself Legally and Financially

Without a good understanding of landlord-tenant laws, you can find yourself in a mess of legal and financial trouble. It’s therefore very important to familiarize yourself with the federal, state, and local laws regarding the rights of tenants and the responsibilities of landlords.

Are you looking for more valuable resources to serve as a guide for self-managing landlords? You can find more resources and guides here.

Reviewing Laws for Landlords

Understanding laws for landlords is essential for keeping your properties up and running. It can also protect you and your finances if you have a problematic tenant or experience other issues. Whether you just bought your first rental property or are looking to expand, you should understand how these laws affect you. That way, you won’t have to worry about losing everything. Do you want to learn more about laws for landlords? Let us know.

Please understand that because of the nature of the topic, this page has been written in a generalized form. Further guidance should be sought on the topic being searched by the landlord.

Rhode Island Landlord Legislation Blog

Governor’s Latest Executive Order

KEY FACTS: Issued:  October 15, 2020
Expires:  November 14, 2020 Caveat:
Late Fee Prohibition Remains in Effect
Through December 31, 2020 KEY ISSUES:
Rent Demands: Extends 30-day rent
demand until November 14th The 30-day
rent demand applies to ALL Landlords
(residential and commercial). Late Fees:
The Order establishes a ban […]

Governor’s Latest Executive Order

KEY FACTS: Issued:  October 15, 2020
Expires:  November 14, 2020 Caveat:
Late Fee Prohibition Remains in Effect
Through December 31, 2020 KEY ISSUES:
Rent Demands: Extends 30-day rent
demand until November 14th The 30-day
rent demand applies to ALL Landlords
(residential and commercial). Late Fees:
The Order establishes a ban […]

Governor’s Latest Executive Order

KEY FACTS: Issued:  October 15, 2020
Expires:  November 14, 2020 Caveat:
Late Fee Prohibition Remains in Effect
Through December 31, 2020 KEY ISSUES:
Rent Demands: Extends 30-day rent
demand until November 14th The 30-day
rent demand applies to ALL Landlords
(residential and commercial). Late Fees:
The Order establishes a ban […]

Eviction Moratorium Ends

Time to Focus on Rental Assistance Breaking News August 27, 2021 The U.S. Supreme Court ended the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC’s) eviction moratorium Thursday night, giving much-needed relief to America’s small housing providers facing financial hardship for more than a year. In a 6-3 ruling, a majority of justices agreed that the stay on the lower court’s order finding the CDC’s eviction moratorium to be unlawful was no longer justified. In their order, the justices wrote, “The

Read More »

A Guide to Section 8 for Landlords

Over 10 million Americans are afforded federal rental assistance under a program known as Section 8 housing. This federal rental assistance can be used all over the United States, which means that all US landlords should have a basic understanding of what Section 8 is and how it works. In short, Section 8 housing provides a solution for low-income families and individuals who are in need of housing. But how does Section 8 housing work for landlords? If you’ve poked around online

Read More »

Pros and Cons of Month-to-Month Rental Leases

The real estate market is in a particularly unusual state in 2021 as the overall economy seeks to correct itself during an ongoing pandemic. One of the more surprising results of the past year is that while housing prices are going up, the cost to rent is, in many places, going down or stabilizing. Now is a great time for property owners to analyze the kind of leasing agreements they typically offer. Is month-to-month rental a better solution in the present,

Read More »

A Guide to Squatter Rights- What Landlords Absolutely Need to Know

If you’re a landlord who has recently discovered the presence of unknown tenants living in one of your properties, you’re probably wondering what to do next. Is this trespassing? Can you simply kick them out? The answer is not quite so simple, assuming these unexpected tenants are squatters. We tend to think of squatters in basic, colloquial terms: people who have moved into a property they don’t own or rent and live there without permission. However, you’ve probably also heard

Read More »

A Complete Guide to Every Step in the Eviction Process

As a landlord, your hope is to bring on high-quality tenants that abide by the lease and pay rent on time each month. However, you might be surprised at how likely it is that you could find yourself going through the eviction process at some point in your tenure. In the past few years, US eviction data was compiled and revealed just how common evictions actually are. In fact, in 2016 alone, 2.3 million evictions were filed in America. Our goal is

Read More »

The Landlord’s Guide to Rent Collection

There are over 10 million individual landlords in the United States, each with its own methods for rent collection. How a landlord collects rent, what they charge, and how they deal with late payments has to do both with their personal preferences and the laws in their state. Renting is a great way to earn side money or even a full liveable income, but there are many things to consider before you begin looking for tenants. If you have a property you’re interested

Read More »

Contact Us

    National Resources