2019 Rhode Island General Laws
Title 34 - Property
Chapter 34-18 Residential Landlord and Tenant Act
Section 34-18-35 Eviction for nonpayment of rent.
§ 34-18-35. Eviction for nonpayment of rent.
(a) If any part of the stipulated rent is due and in arrears for fifteen (15) days, the landlord shall send a written notice, in a form substantially similar to that provided in § 34-18-56(a), specifying the amount of the rent which is fifteen (15) days in arrears, making demand for the rent, and notifying the tenant that unless he or she cures the breach within five (5) days of the date of mailing of the notice, the rental agreement shall terminate, and the landlord shall commence an eviction action in the appropriate district court or housing court.
(b) If the tenant fails to cure his or her breach by paying the stipulated rent in arrears within five (5) days of the date of mailing of the notice, the landlord may commence an eviction action against the tenant, which shall be filed no earlier than the sixth (6th) day after mailing of the written demand notice. The action shall be commenced by filing a "Complaint for Eviction for Nonpayment of Rent" in the appropriate court in the form provided in § 34-18-56(d).
(c) The summons for eviction for nonpayment of rent shall specify the date for hearing and be in the form provided in § 34-18-56(g). The summons shall specify that the defendant may file and serve his or her answer prior to or at the time of hearing, and that if he or she fails to answer or appear at the hearing, he or she shall be defaulted.
(d) If the defendant files his or her answer and commences discovery prior to the hearing, and it appears, for good cause shown, that the defendant will not be able to conduct his or her defense without the benefit of discovery, the court may continue the hearing to allow a reasonable time for the completion of discovery. In the case of such a continuance, the court may, in its discretion, order interim rent, or other remedy, to be paid to preserve the status quo pending hearing. Except as provided in this chapter, the landlord may recover possession and actual damages. In cases where the tenant had received a demand notice pursuant to subsection (a) within the six (6) months immediately preceding the filing of the action, and the tenant's nonpayment was willful, the landlord may also recover a reasonable attorney's fee.
(e) The tenant shall have the right to cure his or her failure to pay rent by tendering the full amount of rent prior to commencement of suit. If the tenant has not received a notice pursuant to subsection (a) of this section within the six (6) months immediately preceding the filing of the action, the tenant shall have the right to cure his or her failure to pay rent after commencement of suit by tendering the full amount of rent in arrears, together with court costs, at the time of hearing.
History of Section.
(P.L. 1986, ch. 200, § 2.)