Housing Law Bulletin
COVID-19 Updates
Evictions Halted Until At Least April 17, 2020
On March 17, 2020, Chief Justice Paul Suttell issued Executive Order 2020-4. The Executive Order provides, among other things, that non-emergency matters in Rhode Island courts will not be heard until after April 17, 2020. This includes evictions. But remember:
If you can pay your rent, pay it. The eviction moratorium is not an invitation to stop paying rent.

There is an exception in the Executive Order for emergency situations, which can include matters involving violence or other safety risks. If an eviction case can fairly be characterized as an “emergency,” it may still go forward.

The Executive Order does not prohibit a landlord from sending out required notices (such as rent demands) or from giving you a complaint that has been filed. The Executive Order simply means the case will not go forward until after April 17, 2020. The Executive Order does extend filing deadlines for 30 days. This means if your landlord files an eviction with the court before April 17 you will have additional time to file your response when the courts reopen.

Even though new eviction cases are temporarily halted, sometimes landlords try to evict people without going to court. Evictions without a court order are still illegal. If your landlord threatens to evict you without going to court first, contact RILS immediately.

We encourage you to call your attorney (or the court clerk if you do not have an attorney), with additional questions.
Stay Informed!
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Rhode Island Legal Services, Inc. is funded in part by the Legal Services Corporation (“LSC”). As a condition of the funding received from LSC, Rhode Island Legal Services, Inc. is restricted in certain activities in all its legal work, including work supported by other funding sources. Rhode Island Legal Services, Inc. may not expend any funds for any activity prohibited by the Legal Services Corporation Act, 42 U.S.C §2996 et. seq. or by Public Law 104-134. Public Law 104—234 §504(d) required that notice of these restrictions be given to all funders or programs funded by the Legal Services Corporation. For a copy of these laws or any further information, please contact: Robert M. Barge, Executive Director, Rhode Island Legal Services, Inc., 56 Pine Street, Suite 400, Providence, Rhode Island 02903; Tel. 401.274.2652.