Rhode Island Eviction Process & Laws | Free RI Eviction Notices

A Rhode Island eviction is a legal process that requires the landlord to notify the tenant of a lease violation or if they would like to end a month to month tenancy. If the tenant does not respond to the notices or vacate (along with their possessions) they are liable to have a forcible entry and detainer (FED) filed against them. For evictions where the tenant did not pay rent, the landlord may file This Complaint with the District Court Location depending upon where the property is located. The tenant, if served with legal notice, should read Their Rights and file Answer Form when necessary.

Unlawful Activity Laws - Immediate § 34-18-36(f)

NonPayment Laws - 5 days § 34-18-35 and § 34-18-56

NonCompliance Laws - 20 days with option to cure the issue by the tenant. If it has been the same violation in the last six (6) months the 20 days, at the landlord's option, may not be curable § 34-18-36

Month to Month Laws - 30 days § 34-18-37

Forcible Entry and Detainer Laws Chapter 34-19

Types of Notice

Rhode Island 20 Day Notice to Cure or Vacate | NonCompliance

The Rhode Island twenty (20) day notice to cure or vacate, in accordance with § 34-18-36, is given to the tenant by the landlord when a material violation has risen. The tenant will have the time period to either fix the issue or leave the property along with their possessions. If…

Rhode Island 24 Hour Notice to Vacate | Illegal Activity

The Rhode Island twenty-four (24) hour notice to vacate, under Section 34-18-36(f), is a courtesy notice that a landlord can serve on a tenant who has committed certain illegal activities on the premises of the rental unit. Examples of qualifying criminal activity include narcotics trafficking/manufacturing, as well as any type…

Rhode Island 30 Day Notice to Terminate Tenancy | Month to Month

The Rhode Island thirty (30) day notice to terminate tenancy, written under § 34-18-37, is required to be served on a month-to-month tenant in order for the landlord to be able to terminate the lease agreement. The notice provides the tenant 30 days to vacate the rental unit. Failure of the…

Rhode Island 5 Day Notice to Pay or Quit | Form DC-55

The Rhode Island five (5) day notice to pay or quit, often referred to as ‘Form DC-55′ § 34-18-35 and § 34-18-56, is the notice that must be served to a tenant who has failed to pay rent in accordance with their lease/rental agreement. The notice can be served once a tenant…

Process How to Evict a Tenant

The eviction process begins with the landlord giving written notice to the tenant that they are going to be evicted. There are four main kinds of eviction notices that can be served on a tenant. The specific notice that should be used depends on the type of tenancy, as well as what the tenant has done to warrant an eviction. The only way a landlord can legally evict a tenant in Rhode Island is by following the steps outlined below (“self-help” evictions are illegal).

Step 1 – The landlord must serve the tenant with the proper type of notice. If the tenant has failed to pay rent (at least 15 days past the initial due date), the landlord must serve them a five (5) day notice to pay/quit. The 20 day notice to cure/quit must be issued if a tenant has committed a correctable violation of the lease agreement (sometimes referred to as a “material violation”). Month-to-month tenants can have their tenancy ended by the landlord serving them a 30 day termination notice. If the tenant has committed some form of criminal activity on the premises of the rental property, they can be evicted with a 24 hour notice to vacate.

Step 2 – After the notice period has ended and the tenant has not taken any action in regards to the notice, the landlord can file an eviction action in district court. The tenant will receive a copy of the Complaint (describing the reason for the eviction), the Summons (the date/time of the hearing), as well as an answer form. The answer form is for the tenant to write out a response to the Complaint filed by the landlord. The date of the hearing is usually no more than nine (9) days from when the tenant receives the court papers.

Note: If the eviction is not due to nonpayment of rent, the tenant will have no more than 20 days to file an answer to the Complaint. If no answer is filed by the tenant, a default “judgement for possession” (of the rental property/unit) will most likely be issued against them.

Step 3 – Show up to court on the date of the hearing. The Judge may request that the tenant and landlord try to mediate the case before taking it to trial. If no agreement is made, a trial will occur. Both parties will be allowed to present evidence, documentation, witnesses, etc (although the landlord will be allowed to go before the tenant).

Note: If the eviction is due to nonpayment of rent, and the tenant pays the past due amount (and court fees) on the date of the hearing, they can technically stop the eviction from moving forward. 

Step 4 – If the landlord wins the case, the tenant will be ordered to vacate the rental unit no more than (six) 6 days* after the trial. The landlord can request the Sheriff to take part in the eviction. The Sheriff is not required to inform the tenant of when they will be arriving to evict them.

*The tenant can request a longer period of time, this is called a “stay of execution.”