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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 27682
Experience:  JA Mentor
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I own my home and rented a one room walkout in my basement

Customer Question

I own my home and rented a one room walkout in my basement to a tenant. We have no written agreement, now she is not paying the rent. I asked her to leave but she says she cannot move for several months. If I have given her 30 days notice can I move her belongings out. The furniture all belongs to me.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 8 months ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear about your situation.

What state are you in?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Rhode Island
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 8 months ago.

Thank you.

If she's not paying, you can serve her with a 5 day notice to pay all amounts owed or vacate the premises. That is much faster than a 30 day notice - and if she DOES pay, you can still serve a 30 day notice later. Here is a copy of the notice.

https://www.courts.ri.gov/PublicResources/forms/District%20Court%20Forms/Five%20%285%29%20Day%20Demand%20Notice%20for%20Non-payment%20of%20Rent.pdf

A tenant who does not pay after receiving notice (or who does not leave) must be evicted through the courts. The law is the same when you're renting a room in your own house versus a separate apartment. That unfortunately means you cannot go in and take back the furniture you're letting her use. It's illegal to use any means other than the courts to evict someone. A landlord who turns off utilities, changes the locks, blocks entry, removes the door, etc. can be sued for up to three times the rent plus the tenant's reasonable attorney's fees. R.I. Stat., Section 34-18-34. You don't want a judge to decide that removing the furniture counts as excluding the tenant from the premises or diminishing services.

Once you get a court order, you can call the sheriff and they will forcibly remove her from the premises if necessary.

It's important that you are 100% satisfied with my courtesy and professionalism. Thank you.

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