The Rhode Island residential lease agreement (“rental agreement”) is a document that outlines the terms and conditions of the residential use of real estate in exchange for rent payments. The contract includes the length of the agreement (” lease term”), payment amount (“rent”), and the obligations of both landlord and tenant.
Rhode Island Lease Agreement Disclosures
The below disclosures are either required for some or all residential lease agreements in Rhode Island.
Landlord’s Name & Address
Applicable to all rental units in Rhode Island.
Creates a line of communication for important notices and demands between tenant and landlord. Landlords or any authorized individual to act on behalf of the property should provide contact information (including their address) within or alongside the lease. This information should be provided to the tenant, at or before the commencement of the tenancy. This contact information should be kept current.
Housing Code Violation Notice
Applicable to any property with an outstanding housing code violation in Rhode Island.
Before entering a lease with a prospective tenant, Rhode Island landlords must disclose any outstanding housing violations. The notice of violation shall be delivered to the tenant within 30 days of receiving the notice, unless the landlord has corrected all violations in the notice to the requirements of the building code.
Landlords can provide a copy of the violation to satisfy this requirement, along with a disclosure within the lease.
Lead-Based Paint Disclosure
Applicable to any rental units built prior to 1978.
It is a federal law in the United States that any home built prior to 1978 must disclose the risks posed by lead-based paints. This law requires landlords in Rhode Island to:
- Fill out and attach this lead-based paint disclosure form to the lease agreement.
- Provide the tenant with an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved pamphlet about the dangers of lead-based paint.
- Provide additional records or reports about the presence or hazards of any known lead-based paint in the unit. For multi-unit buildings with common areas, this includes information from building-wide evaluations.
Optional Disclosures & Addendums (Recommended)
The below lease agreement disclosures and addendums are not required by Rhode Island law. These disclosures can be helpful to include to help reduce future conflicts with tenants or reduce legal liability for landlords.
|Optional Disclosure||How the Disclosure is Helpful|
|Asbestos||This disclosure informs tenants if there is asbestos at the property. If there is asbestos a tenant can take certain precautions to minimize the chance of disturbing the asbestos fibers.|
|Bed Bugs||If the rental unit has a history of infestation, landlords should provide information on how to handle a bed bug infestation. This disclosure notifies the tenant of their obligation to cooperate with bed bug prevention and immediately report any sign of infestation to the landlord.|
|Landlord’s Name & Address||Creates a line of communication for important notices and demands between tenant and landlord. Landlords or any authorized individual to act on behalf of the property should provide contact information (including their address) within or alongside the lease.|
|Late/Returned Check Fees||Landlords should disclose if they will charge a late fee or a returned check fee in the lease agreement. In Rhode Island there are no restrictions on late fees. Returned check fees are limited to $25 per bad check. If the balance remains unpaid within 30 days after notice is received, the tenant is subject to an additional three (3) times the balance owed in damages.|
|Medical Marijuana Use||Inform tenants if medical marijuana use on the property is permittable. Some state laws allow landlords to restrict marijuana usage to non-smoking methods only or inform tenants of designated smoking areas to not interfere with other tenants’ enjoyment of the premises.|
|Mold Disclosure||Informing the tenant of the current mold status of a property protects the landlord against future liability of mold damages.|
|Move-in Checklist||A move-in checklist holds the tenant accountable for future damages that they may cause.|
|Non-Refundable Fees||A non-refundable charge must be written in the lease agreement. If a non-refundable charge is not written in the lease, the tenant may be subject to a refund upon termination of the lease.|
|Shared Utilities Arrangements||For rental units with shared utilities, a landlord should disclose the specifics of how they are shared, and how each party’s bill is calculated. Providing this information to tenants will give them a reasonable expectation of what they owe each month.|
|Smoking||Inform tenants of designated smoking areas to not interfere with other tenants’ enjoyment of the premises.|
Consequences of Not Including Mandatory Disclosures
Disclosures outline the important health, safety, and property information and vary by state. If a landlord does not provide the tenant with the federally or state-mandated disclosures, they could face legal repercussions or monetary penalties.
If a landlord fails to disclose the lead-based paint hazard disclosure, they can face fines of up to $18,364 per violation. (24 CFR § 30.65)
It’s best to check with your local and state laws on which disclosures you must provide to your tenant.