The income provided by a Rhode Island rental property can be a great way to increase your monthly cash flow. Not only do properly managed investment properties bring in cash each month, but they can also appreciate over the years. However, while rental property income is considered passive, there are some common issues that Rhode Island landlords find themselves needing to deal with regularly. Having a dedicated Rhode Island real estate attorney can help reduce the time it takes to resolve these inevitable issues, making sure your property stays occupied for as much of the time as possible.
Rhode Island investment properties are governed by a combination of local, state, and federal laws. Most of the important laws that landlords will encounter are state laws; however, federal laws provide for certain requirements related to the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and discriminatory renting practices. Local municipal laws may tweak how landlords must handle specific situations, such as dealing with noise ordinances, but generally govern more minor issues.
As noted above, Rhode Island state law is most important for landlords to understand. A few common areas of concern under Rhode Island’s rental property laws are:
Security deposits: It is always a good idea to collect a security deposit in the event a tenant leaves the property in worse condition than they received it. In Rhode Island, the security deposit is statutorily limited to one month’s rent; however, landlords can also require first month’s rent to be paid upfront. The common practice of charging first, last, and security is not permitted. Once a tenant vacates the property, the landlord has 20 days to return their deposit or provide a detailed accounting of why the deposit was not returned.
Tenant’s ability to withhold rent: Rhode Island law requires that landlords keep their property in a habitable condition. In addition, the lease between tenant and landlord should cover any other expenses that the landlord is responsible for paying. If the property requires repair that is the landlord’s responsibility, and the landlord fails to make the necessary repairs, the tenant may be able to withhold rent and deduct the cost of repairs from the rent.
Eviction: Eviction is most landlords’ greatest fear. And while the process can be a lengthy one, it doesn’t necessarily have to be. However, landlords are only permitted to evict a tenant for certain reasons, and even when those reasons apply, evictions must follow a prescribed timeline. Any misstep can result in the tenant remaining in the property for additional time.
These are but a few of the more common situations that Rhode Island landlords must face on occasion. While they may seem daunting, an experienced Rhode Island real estate attorney can assist a landlord through any of these issues.
Are You in Need of a Rhode Island Property Law Attorney?
If you are experiencing issues with a Rhode Island investment property, contact the knowledgeable Rhode Island real estate lawyers at Bilodeau Capalbo for assistance. At Bilodeau Capalbo, we have extensive experience handling all types of Rhode Island landlord-tenant issues, and take the time to explain the process to our clients before recommending a course of action. To learn more, call 401-300-4055 to schedule a free consultation today.