Yes, a contract to lease is binding in Rhode Island. As long as the agreement exists and, in the case of a written agreement, has the signature of at least one party, it is enforceable.
Only one party has to actually sign the lease. If the landlord doesn’t sign the lease but accepts the rent, it has the same effect as signing the lease. If the tenant doesn’t sign the lease but moves onto the property and pays the rent, it has the same effect as signing the lease (RI Gen L § 34-18-16 (2019)).
As long as at least one party has signed the written lease and delivered to the other, it only needs one signature to be enforceable. A lease that becomes binding in this way is only effective for one (1) year (RI Gen L § 34-18-16(c) (2019)).
The information for this answer was found on our Rhode Island Residential Lease Agreement answers.