The Law Offices of James T. Marasco
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What are your rights of access to your rental units?

Owning and maintaining a rental property in Providence can be quite a lucrative investment, yet you should be aware that assuming the role of landlord requires also agreeing to respect certain responsibilities. Chief among these is the responsibility to respect the rights of your tenants. You might assume that those rights are limited to those that would not normally involve property ownership, such as granting access to a rental location. As the owner, you probably think that you are entitled to enter your rental properties at any time. Yet that is not the case. 

Per the Rhode Island Landlord-Tenant Handbook, you must provide your tenants with a two-day minimum written or verbal notice of your intention to enter into your units. Your reasons for entering must be valid, such as: 

  • To perform an inspection
  • To make repairs or improvements to the unit
  • To show the unit to a potential tenant or buyer

You are limited to entering the unit during reasonable hours. The only circumstances that would warrant you entering a unit without permission would be emergencies caused by a tenants abandonment of a unit or by their failure to adequately maintain the unit. 

If you enter a rental unit without having a justified reason or without providing the right amount of notice, the tenant may have grounds to terminate their lease agreement. They may also seek injunctive relief to keep you from entering the unit without cause. Once you have provided the tenant with notice, however, they cannot bar you from entering the unit. If they try to do so, you may seek the same legal remedies. 

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