Sharon, MA asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Rhode Island

Q: What are the laws in Rhode Island about heat in a rental property?

I informed my landlord 4 days ago that my heat was not working. Someone came out the next day (not a professional company just like a "handyman") and said he would be back the next day. I waited at home all day and he never came back. I informed my landlord again and she sent someone different out this morning (again not a professional) and again they left and said they would be back later. As of now, 7:15pm, no one has come. It is extremely frigid outside and has been for several days. What are my rights? Can I hire someone and deduct from rent?

1 Lawyer Answer
Neville Bedford
Neville Bedford
Answered
  • East Providence, RI
  • Licensed in Rhode Island

A: TITLE 34

Property

CHAPTER 34-18

Residential Landlord and Tenant Act

SECTION 34-18-34

§ 34-18-34. Tenant's remedies for landlord's unlawful ouster, exclusion, or diminution of service.

If a landlord unlawfully removes or excludes the tenant from the premises or willfully diminishes services to the tenant by interrupting or causing the interruption of heat, running water, hot water, electric, gas, or other essential service, the tenant may recover possession or terminate the rental agreement and, in either case, recover an amount not more than three (3) months periodic rent or threefold the actual damages sustained by him or her, whichever is greater, and reasonable attorney's fees. If the rental agreement is terminated the landlord shall return all security recoverable under § 34-18-19 and all prepaid rent.

History of Section.

(P.L. 1986, ch. 200, § 2.)

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