Rhode Island Eviction Laws

If a residential landlord wants to expel a tenant from a rental property in Rhode Island they must adhere to the Rhode Island eviction procedures set forth in the state statutes. Some statutes to adhere to are:

Self or Constructive Tenant Eviction is Unlawful

Self Eviction is unlawful for any reason. Constructive eviction are acts undertaken by the landlord to force the tenant to vacate such as shutting off utilities or essential services, entering the unit and removing the tenant’s personal belongings or denying the tenant access to the unit. In Rhode Island a landlord in these circumstances may be liable to the tenant to 3 times the rent or 3 times the damages sustained by the tenant, whichever is greater; and the tenant may terminate the lease.

5-Day Notice of Eviction for Nonpayment of Rent

This notice should be served after payment has been overdue by at least 15 days. The notice must state that the rent is more than 15-days in arrears and that the tenant must pay all amounts due within 5-days of the date the notice was mailed or a court action will begin. It must also state the amount that must be paid.

Opportunity to Cure Rent Arrarages

The tenant still has an opportunity to prevent the eviction from going forward if he or she pays the rent before the landlord files a Summons and Complaint, even if the rent is paid beyond the 5-day period.

20-Day Eviction Notice of Noncompliance

For lease violations other than nonpayment of rent, the landlord must serve or mail a 20-Day Notice stating the omissions or acts that are in violation of the lease and that he or she has 20-days from the date of mailing of the notice to remedy the violation. Noncompliance must be for a material breach of the lease such as the following:

  • Disturbing the peace of other tenants
  • Criminal actions on the premises or on property next to it
  • Engaging in narcotics violations
  • Failure to keep the property safe and clean
  • Destruction or damage of any part of the premises

30-Day Eviction Notice for Month-to-Month Tenancy

The landlord can send a 30-day Notice to terminate the lease if the lease is month-to-month. No reason needs to be given so long as it is not for a discriminatory reason or in retaliation for the tenant’s exercising his or her rights.

For more information about Rhode Island eviction law please visit:


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