The Rhode Island rental agreements are legal contracts between a landlord and a tenant. The tenant makes regular payments (“rent”) in exchange for the use of the property. The rental agreements establish other terms associated with the use of the property, though no terms can supersede state laws.
Rhode Island Rental Agreement Types
Rhode Island Required Lease Disclosures
- Landlord’s Name & Address (required for all) – The name and address of the landlord or authorized agent must be provided in a Rhode Island lease agreement so landlords and tenants can communicate on legal notices or matters of tenancy.
- Housing Code Violation Notice (required for some) – If a Rhode Island rental property has outstanding housing code violations in the building, they must be disclosed in the lease.
- Lead-Based Paint Disclosure (required for some) – Any pre-1978 Rhode Island property with a unit for rent must include a lead-based paint disclosure and EPA-approved pamphlet with notice of any existing hazards in the lease.
To learn more about required disclosures in Rhode Island, click here.
Rhode Island Landlord Tenant Laws
- Warranty of Habitability – In Rhode Island, all landlords must maintain the habitability of their units by providing plumbing, HVAC, electrical outlets, and more. At the same time, landlords must provide repairs within 20 days after receiving a repair request. If a repair is not made within that timeframe, a tenant may perform a repair and deduct; however, a tenant may not withhold rent.
- Evictions – Rhode Island landlords may evict tenants for a number of reasons including, but not limited to failure to pay rent, a violation of a leasing term, or committing an illegal act. Landlords must provide tenants with prior notice to pay, comply or quit, depending on the type of eviction. As such, Rhode Island evictions can conclude in less than a week or may take over a month.
- Security Deposits – Rhode Island prohibits landlords from charging security deposits valued at more than 1 months’ rent. Rhode Island rental units that are furnished may require an additional furniture security deposit of up one month’s rent (if the value of the furniture’s exceeds $5,000). A landlord is required to return all remaining funds within 20 days after a lease concludes.
- Lease Termination – A Rhode Island tenant must provide 30 days of notice to the landlord to terminate their month-to-month lease. Also, a Rhode Island landlord may only consider early termination of a fixed-term lease if one of the following conditions exist: active military duty, landlord harassment, unit uninhabitability, domestic violence, advanced age, or severe illness.
- Rent Increases & Fees – Rhode Island landlords can raise rent as much as they want but must provide 30 days’ notice (or 60 days for tenants over 62 years old). Rhode Island landlords can also charge most fees at any rate they wish; however bounced check fees are capped at $25 plus 3 times the value of the check.
- Landlord Entry – After providing 2 days of advanced notice, a Rhode Island landlord may enter an occupied unit at a “reasonable” time. However, cases of emergency entry are exempt from these requirements.
- Settling Legal Disputes – Rhode Island is limited when it comes to accepting landlord-tenant disputes in small claims court. In fact, these courts do not accept eviction cases and only accepts cases valued at less than $5,000.
To learn more about landlord tenant laws in Rhode Island, click here.