What is the Eviction Process in Rhode Island

Despite a thorough screening process, there are times when a tenant doesn't fulfill their obligations to a rental agreement.

When this occurs, a landlord has the ability to seek an eviction.

The eviction process in Rhode Island is simple and straightforward, so as long as each step is followed, there is a good chance that you'll win your case if it proceeds far enough to be heard by a judge.

Most eviction cases are settled out of court and this typically allows the rental unit to be returned in the best condition possible.

Some tenants may also be able to stop an eviction case if this is their first problem.

The 5 Day Notice For Nonpayment

For tenants that fail to pay their rent on time, Rhode Island requires landlords to provide tenants with a 5 Day Notice to Pay or Quit.

This means a tenant has 5 days to pay their rent and any other fees which may be required. If they do so, then the eviction process stops there.

If the tenant does not pay their rent after receiving this notice, then landlords can file a complaint with the court. This will issue a summons to the tenant to defend their actions before a judge.

If a tenant has not received a 5 Day Notice within the last 6 months, then they are still allowed to cancel the eviction by paying their rent and any legal costs in full if they do so before the hearing.

The 20 Day Notice for Violations

With the exception of criminal activity, all other lease violations require a 20 Day Notice by Rhode Island.

On their first notice, tenants are allowed to rectify the situation to cancel the notice.

If the same violation occurs twice within 6 months, then a landlord does not need to permit the lease to continue even if the situation is rectified the second time.

If the case goes before a judge, then the court will decide if the eviction is valid. If not, the eviction process must start over. If it is considered valid, then the court will issue a judgment that orders the tenant to be moved out be a certain date.

If this court order is violated, then a Writ of Possession will be ordered which allows law enforcement to forcibly removed tenants.

At no time in this process can a landlord attempt to evict tenants on their own.

The eviction process in Rhode Island typically takes about 3-4 weeks to complete in most circumstances if every step of the process must be followed. This is why coming to a settlement out of court is encouraged because it can often speed up the process so the best of a bad situation can be found.

Posted on Feb 03, 2016


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