Stewart proposes bill to increase notice for rent increases
STATE HOUSE – Legislation sponsored by Rep. Jennifer Stewart would give Rhode Islander renters more notice when their landlord plans to raise their rent.
Representative Stewart’s bill (2024-H 7304) would require that landlords give tenants 90 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.
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.
Representative Stewart introduced the bill Jan. 26, and it was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee. She sponsored similar legislation last year, when the bill passed the House but not the Senate.
Companion legislation (2024-S 2189) has been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Tiara Mack (D-Dist. 6, Providence).