Resources for Tenants
If you're a tenant in Rhode Island, you have a right to live in housing safe from lead hazards! Most landlords are required by law to have your apartment inspected for lead hazards before you move in, fix any lead problems that are there, and get a certificate that proves your apartment is safe.
Know Your Rights
The following links provide more information about your rights and responsibilities as a tenant in Rhode Island. Also be sure to check out our links for parents.
Tenants' Rights and Resources/Derechos y Recursos para Inquilinos
Lead Poisoning Prevention Laws and Policies
File a Complaint with City Housing Code Enforcement
If you live in an apartment that should have a lead certificate and does not, you should be able to get help from your city or town government. Cities and towns are responsible for enforcing the RI Property Maintenance Code, which establishes minimum safety standards for rental properties. These minimum standards include a requirement that most pre-1978 rental properties be safe from lead hazards (but not lead-free) and have a valid (unexpired, complete) lead certificate to prove it!
Before you call your city housing code official, you can read about what types of properties need a lead certificate here, and check to see whether your apartment has had a lead certificate in the past. Although the RI Property Maintenance Code does require all rental housing to be safe, there are some exemptions to the requirement for lead inspections and lead certificates.
Housing code officials in the following cities have been trained by the Childhood Lead Action Project on the lead safety laws that protect tenants:
Get Help From a Lawyer
If your landlord is refusing to fix problems in your apartment, the following agencies may be able to give you free legal help, depending on your income and other eligibility requirements.
RI Legal Services: 401-274-2652
Please note: unfortunately, citizenship/legal immigration status is required to receive help from RI Legal Services, due to federal policy/funding.
RI Medical-Legal Partnership: 401-300-0657, 401-444-2612