Rhode Island Attorney General Has Warning for Landlords
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE & AP) – The Rhode Island Attorney General’s office has issued a warning to landlords to remind them that evicting a tenant without a court order is illegal and may result in prosecution.
The office in a statement Thursday said it has in recent weeks received reports of an increasing number of so-called “self-help” evictions, or evictions carried out without the required court order.
Attorney General Peter Neronha said as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to heighten the dangers and public health consequences of housing instability, preventing or prosecuting self-help evictions must remain a law enforcement priority.
“The pandemic has resulted in tremendous financial hardship for landlords and tenants alike,” said Attorney General Neronha. “While we recognize that, as I said back in April when we started seeing an increase in this practice, landlords cannot simply ignore the law and take matters into their own hands. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to heighten the dangers and public health consequences of housing instability, we can all agree that preventing or prosecuting self-help evictions must remain a law enforcement priority.”
The Attorney General says self-help eviction tactics are illegal and advises anyone facing eviction without a valid court order to keep making normal rent payments and, if possible, seek legal advice. Examples of self-help evictions include changing locks or cutting off electricity.