Rhode Island Apartment Lease Agreement

Understanding the structure of a Rhode Island apartment lease agreement is essential for landlords and tenants. This agreement, which comprises the parties' identities and engagement terms, is key to the tenancy relationship. By unraveling its complexities, tenants can ensure they get fair treatment. On the other hand, landlords can ensure they conduct above-board affairs.

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Rhode Island Apartment Lease Agreement

The fundamentals contained in this agreement come from state legislation and ordinances. Understanding the components of a Rhode Island apartment lease agreement is helpful. 

Security Deposit

  • Maximum amount: Landlords can charge up to one (1) month’s rent as a security deposit. Furnished units with over $5,000 in furnishings can also charge one (1) month’s rent as a furniture deposit.  
  • Deadline for refund: Within 20 days after the tenant moves out and provides a forwarding address, landlords must return the deposit with an itemized list of deductions.
  • Allowed deductions: Landlords can deduct for unpaid rent, reasonable cleaning fees, trash removal costs, and damages beyond normal wear and tear. 
  • Penalties: If landlords wrongly withhold deposits or fail to send the amount due within 20 days, tenants can recover two (2) times the amount wrongfully held, plus attorney fees.
  • Property transfers: If the property is sold, the new landlord assumes all duties and obligations related to security deposits. 
  • Prohibitions: Lease agreements can’t contain any waivers of security deposit laws that circumvent tenants’ legal rights. 

Entry and Access

  • Permitted entry: Landlords can enter to inspect, make repairs, show the unit to prospective tenants/buyers, address emergencies, make improvements, conduct maintenance, and protect the property if abandoned.
  • Notice of entry: At least two (2) days’ notice is required for most entries unless there’s an emergency or the tenant is absent for over a week. Notice can be verbal or written.
  • Tenant refusal of entry: Tenants cannot unreasonably refuse entry if proper notice is given and the entry time is reasonable.
  • Unpermitted entry: Landlords may enter without permission for emergencies, protection, and abandonment over one (1) week.
  • Lock changes: Tenants can change locks without permission unless the lease prohibits it. Tenants should provide the landlord with copies of any new keys.
  • Landlord recourse when denied entry: Landlords can get a court order, cancel the lease, and recoup court/attorneys fees if tenants illegally refuse entry.

Pets Policy

  • Pet premiums: Allowed instead of deposits. It covers the risks of pet damage. It should be in the lease and clearly explained to applicants.
  • Detailed pet addendums Should outline specific rules, tenant responsibilities, off-limit areas, waste clean-up schedules, and consequences for pet violations. Helps set clear expectations.


For a successful tenancy, it’s important to understand the disclosures in a Rhode Island apartment lease agreement. 

  • Landlord’s contact: For proper legal communications, all leases must include the landlord’s name and address. Tenants must be updated if this changes. 
  • Housing code violations: Landlords must inform tenants of any outstanding housing code violations and provide copies of citations within 30 days unless violations are corrected in that timeframe. 
  • Lead paint disclosure: Required for pre-1978 housing. Landlords must provide an EPA pamphlet on lead risks and related reports/records concerning the unit or building.

Even though it’s not mandated, landlords can provide disclosures about: 

  • Asbestos
  • Bed bugs
  • Mold
  • Late fees
  • Utility arrangements
  • Smoking policy
  • Medical Marijuana