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What are the duties of Rhode Island landlords?

Under the laws of Rhode Island, landlords have quite a bit of responsibilities to follow when it comes to maintaining their properties for tenants. Tenants are not just people who rent space to live. They also include businesspeople who are renting property for office space. The laws govern both aspects of the landlord-tenant relationship previously mentioned.

One of the most important parts of the Rhode Island law is that landlords must maintain the premises to avoid any legal recourse and injury to tenants. This includes keeping the property clean and safe from any hazards.

Landlords are responsible for making all repairs related to keeping the property safe and healthy, but can enter into a written agreement with their tenant for minor repairs. The agreement must be entered into with good faith and be made in writing. Both parties must also know that the agreement does not revoke the responsibilities of either party under the laws of the state.

The landlord is responsible for keeping the following in working and safe conditions:

- Air Conditioning

- Heating

- Electrical

- Plumbing

- Ventilation

- Sanitary

- Appliances

- Elevators

The appropriate receptacles for trash, recycling, waste and ashes must also be provided on the premises by the landlord, who is also responsible for disposing of those items. Disposal should never be left up to the tenant.

Running water and reasonable amounts of hot water must also be provided by the landlord to the property at all times. Reasonable heat is also required to be provided by the landlord between the dates of October 1 and May 1.

Even though these laws protect the tenant, the tenant must also follow laws of their own in order to prevent legal recourse.

A tenant cannot deliberately destroy or alter any area of the property. The tenant must also not let any guest of the property do so knowingly. Tenants are not permitted to disturb the peace of their neighbors or operate involving narcotics in any method.

Tenant laws in Rhode Island are pretty straightforward, but it is wise to have an attorney review the lease and other agreements.

Source: National Conference of State Legislatures, "Rhode Island landlord and tenant duties," accessed Jan. 09, 2017

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