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Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 2391
Experience:  Licensed to practice before state and federal court
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I just found out that I have been living in an illegal apt

Customer Question

I just found out that I have been living in an illegal apt not up to code for the past 2 yrs. Went to zoning office in Warwick and got documentation to support this claim. Do I have any legal recourse?
JA: Where is the property located?
Customer: In Warwick, RI.
JA: Has any paperwork been filed?
Customer: What kind of paperwork are you referring to?
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: no
Submitted: 11 days ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Legal Eagle replied 11 days ago.

Hello! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney, admitted to practice in state and federal court. I'll be here to help today! Do you mind if I take a moment to review your question? By the way, the system will automatically ask for a phone call. I am happy to speak with you, but by no means are you required to accept it.

Expert:  Legal Eagle replied 11 days ago.

Ok, you have some legal recourse under RI General Law Section 34-18-22.2 (2012).

§ 34-18-22.2 Landlord's duty regarding compliance with zoning and minimum housing laws. – Whenever any landlord, either by his or her own labor or through the use of others acting on his or her behalf, undertakes physical alterations to an existing building which alterations create a residential apartment or apartments, and the landlord knew or should have known that the alterations would result in the construction of an apartment or apartments which violate the applicable state and/or local zoning laws and/or state or local minimum housing codes, the landlord shall be responsible to pay the moving costs of any tenants required to move from any of the apartments because of the nonconformity of the apartments with the law; provided, however, that the landlord will be required to pay such moving costs only to a place within the same city or town where the property in violation of the law is located.

Expert:  Legal Eagle replied 11 days ago.

So, the answer to your question is that you are able to get moving costs.

You may want to consider just writing a formal demand letter. There’s a site that I’ve used in the past where you can find a good template for a demand letter (click here). It only costs $10 and it is way cheaper than litigation. In your case, you could cite this law and get your expenses covered.