Rhode Island Landlord Retaliation Laws

Rhode Island Landlord Retaliation Laws

Last Updated: June 29, 2023

Tenant Protected Actions
  • Health/Safety Complaints to Gov’t
  • Complaints to Landlord
  • Organizing/Joining Tenants’ Union
  • Enforcing Lawful Rights
Landlord Retaliatory Actions If <6 months after tenant action:
  • Raising Rent
  • Decreasing Services
  • Filing/Threatening Eviction
Penalties for Retaliation
  • End Lease + Collect Fines
  • Repossess Property + Collect Fines

When Is It Illegal for Landlords to Retaliate in Rhode Island?

It’s illegal for Rhode Island landlords to retaliate with raised rent, reduced services, or threatened eviction against tenants who have taken one of the following protected actions in the past six months:

  • Complaining to the landlord or government about failure to maintain the property.
  • Participating in a tenant organization.
  • Pursuing rights or remedies given by the law or rental agreement.

The law allows an exception when the landlord can prove a non-retaliatory, good-faith reason for the alleged retaliatory action. For example, a landlord who raises rent proportionately in response to a large increase in property tax is not retaliating, even if a tenant has recently complained about maintenance.

What Can Tenants Do in Response in Rhode Island?

Rhode Island tenants can cancel the rental agreement or retake possession of the property if they’re illegally retaliated against. In either case, the tenant can also sue for triple the monthly rent or triple the actual costs caused by retaliation (whichever amount is greater), plus attorney fees.