Woonsocket, RI asked in Contracts and Landlord - Tenant for Rhode Island

Q: I have moved from one my apartment bldg into a smaller one that's was cheaper, same landlord. Since we asked for the 200

Dollar difference in security he started acting weird he has not given us a lease for the new place were in and has not come to collect rent or returned any of our calls at this point I don't trust thus situation and di.t want to live here. What ate my options

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1 Lawyer Answer

Kas DeCarvalho

Answered
  • Johnston, RI
  • Licensed in Rhode Island

A: Well...if you don't have a written agreement, then what you technically have is a month-to-month lease...and what the rent is supposed to be is admittedly a bit of a mystery, but at worst, it's the rent from your old/other apartment. Typically that would be decided by the history of what you had been doing before...but since you actually moved to a smaller apartment, it seems reasonable to argue that you would pay a reasonable amount less. But assuming that you and the Landlord agreed that you could pay $200 less for the new (smaller) apartment...then you should send that to the landlord every month, whether they come to pick it up or not--that's the most defensible way to make sure that you are best protected by the legal rights that Tenants have under the Statutes. However, if you have no idea how to otherwise deliver the rent, keep that money in the bank and don't spend it--if and/or when the Landlord comes to collect, you can then pay however many months' rent at the agreed-upon (lower) price. I would caution you not to think, "Yay! Free apartment!!" because a) nothing is free, and b) you could inadvertently set yourself up to be sued for back rent--and rightly so! The landlord "not picking up the rent" is not a legally viable reason for you to suggest that they're not entitled to it anyway--it's *their* property, right? But if the landlord showed up in 6 months and said, "I would like the rent," and you said, "no problem, we wondered when you'd show up" (and proceeded to write a valid check for the entire amount)...well, I'd have to tell that Landlord they were very lucky indeed, and should keep you as tenants! One downside...without a written lease, you are almost certainly in a month-to-month verbal agreement...so the landlord can't just kick your out on the street, but they're only required to give you 30 days' notice before evicting you...even if you DO pay all of the rent.

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