In Rhode Island, a residential eviction for non-payment of rent is preceded by sending a 5-day demand notice to the tenant.
The content and form of the demand letter is strictly governed by law. If the tenant fails to pay rent after a demand has been sent, then an eviction action may be filed. A copy of the demand letter must be filed with the complaint. Technical defects with the letter could result in an evction action being dismissed. Therefore, it is crucial that the letter comply with the applicable statute.
Here is a sample 5-day demand letter:
FIVE-DAY DEMAND NOTICE FOR NONPAYMENT OF RENT R.I.G.L. 34-18-35
Date of Mailing:____________
TO: Tenant’s Name and Address
You are now more than fifteen days in arrears for some or all of the rent owed under your rental agreement. State law requires that you be sent this Notice of arrearage.
Unless you make payment of all rent in arrears within five days of the date this notice was mailed to you, an eviction action may be instituted in court against you. You can prevent the eviction by paying all rent owing within five days of the mailing of this notice.
If you believe you have a legal reason for not paying this rent, you will be able to present that defense at the eviction hearing. The rent in arrears as of the above date is $_____.
I certify that I placed in regular U.S. mail, first class postage prepaid, a copy of this Notice, addressed to the tenant, on the _____ day of __________, 20____.