General Assembly approves Stewart, Mack bill to increase notice for rent increases

 

STATE HOUSE — The General Assembly today approved legislation sponsored by Rep. Jennifer Stewart and Sen. Tiara Mack that would give Rhode Island tenants more notice when landlords plan to raise their rent.

The bill (2024-H 7304A, 2024-S 2189A) would require that landlords give tenants 60 days’ notice of any rent increase, or 120 days if the tenant is over age 62. Current law requires only 30 days’ notice, and 60 days for tenants over 62.

“Imagine living paycheck-to-paycheck, already rent-burdened, and receiving notice of a big rent increase to start the following month. Our current law does not recognize today’s rental conditions in which it is so hard to find affordable apartments and in which families are faced with double-digit percentage rent increases,” said Representative Stewart (D-Dist. 59, Pawtucket). “This bill seeks to give all renters an opportunity to adjust budgets, seek additional employment, or get a security deposit together. It seeks to reduce stress for families by ensuring people have more time to figure out what’s next and how to remain housed.”

The legislation has been included in the Working Families Agenda, a list of legislative proposals aimed at keeping families fed and housed affordably, safe transportation and funding the needs of families.

“This bill is more important now since it has been revealed that Providence has had the highest rent increases in the nation, leading to further stress and frustration for countless renters in our capital city and the state as a whole,” said Senator Mack (D-Dist. 6, Providence). “The housing crisis is one of Rhode Island’s most serious issues and this bill will address the crisis by offering significant protections for struggling tenants and renters.”

Almost half of Rhode Island renters — 47 percent statewide — are considered cost-burdened by housing, meaning they spend more than 30% of their income on it, according to HousingWorksRI. Meanwhile, the tight rental market and rent increases that are outpacing income in the state are leaving many renters in difficult situations when their rent goes up. The statewide average for rent on a two-bedroom apartment is $1,996. In order to affordably rent at that cost, a household would need an annual income of $79,840, but the median household income among renters in Rhode Island is only $41,277.

The measure now moves to the governor’s office.

 

 

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