In Rhode Island, a residential eviction for non-payment of rent is commenced by filing a complaint in the District Court.
The content and form of the complaint is strictly governed by law. In general, the complaint must establish that: the person filing the eviction case (usually the landlord) has authority to do so, rent is past due, rent was demanded using a 5-day demand letter but the tenant did not pay, and the tenant is still occupying the rental unit. A copy of the demand letter must be filed with the complaint.
Here is a sample eviction complaint for non-payment of rent:
STATE OF RHODE ISLAND
COMPLAINT FOR EVICTION FOR NONPAYMENT OF RENT R.I.G.L. 34-18-35
2. Defendant is more than fifteen days in arrears in rental payments due to the plaintiff from the defendant. The rent is $_____ per week/month/etc., and the amount in arrears is $_____ as of the _____ day of _____, 20_____.
3. Plaintiff has served the five-day demand notice as required by law, and a copy of that notice is attached to this complaint. The notice was mailed to the defendant on the _____ day of _____, 20_____.
4. Defendant has not paid the rent in arrears or offered the full amount in arrears, either before or after the demand notice. Defendant remains in possession of the rental premises.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff requests that this Court grant a judgment for possession of the premises (eviction of the tenant) and for back rent in the amount of $_____, plus costs.
(Name & address of landlord/owner or attorney for landlord)
Date complaint filed with clerk: _____