When you become a landlord, there are a lot of rules and responsibility that come along with the position. It is good to know that depending on what state you are a landlord in, the rules, regulations and laws can vary. Knowing exactly what you are and are not allowed to do as a landlord is important so that you can legally protect yourself and make sure that you are renting out your units legally. There are several things in the state of Rhode Island that, as a landlord, you cannot do. Here are a few important ones to keep in mind:

Don’t require a security deposit that exceeds one-month’s rent.

When you require the tenant to pay security deposit, Rhode Island’s Landlord-Tenant Act requires that the security deposit not exceed the amount of one-month’s rent. Additionally, the security deposit must be collected before the tenant moves in. When the lease expires, or is terminated for other reasons, generally, you will have 20 days to return the security deposit to the tenant, less any damages (which can include unpaid rent). Also, never accept a last month’s rent payment in RI, it is prohibited.

Don’t change the price of rent without notice. If you decide that you need to change the price of rent, whether you are lowering it or raising it, you must give the tenant at least 30 days before the date in which the new rent price will become effective. However, it is not this black and white in practical practice. To effectively and properly change the rental amount, the initial tenancy agreement, whether written or oral, must first be properly terminated and a new agreement must be instated. An Attorney’s assistance is highly recommended in this situation.

Don’t show up on the property without notice.

Additionally, you must give notice to the tenant if you will be showing up on the property. In Rhode Island, you must give a minimum of 48 hour notice that you will be on the property.

Not following the Rhode Island Landlord Tenant Act can be disastrous to Landlords, given that all Landlords look at their demised units as investments. To make sure you are in compliance, or if you need help with troubling tenants, call Attorney Travis J. DeCosta today.