Landlord & Tenant Law
The laws regulating landlord/tenant matters are specific and often complicated. Both landlords and tenants must be advised clearly with respect to their rights and responsibilities. Tenants have the right to live in a dwelling where all essential facilities are in operable condition. The landlord has the responsibility to ensure the working order of facilities such as electrical, plumbing and heating.
In Rhode Island, if the tenant fails to pay the rent within 15 days of the time it is normally due, the landlord can begin eviction proceedings with a notice of eviction. The tenant then must pay the rent within 5 days of the notice. If the rent has not been paid within that time, the landlord will proceed with a complaint, a copy of which must be sent by first class mail to the tenant. The tenant can stop the eviction by paying the back rent but cannot do so if there have been other 5 day notices in the past.
Tenants have multiple remedies where landlord has not fulfilled his duties. Tenant can give notice of moving out in 30 days if repairs aren’t made in 20 days, can make small “self-help” repairs if the cost is under $125, or may even withhold rent.