Update, March 26th: Homes RI, the Center for Justice, and other community partners have published FAQs, in English and Spanish, on tenant rights and responsibilities in housing and utilities during the moratorium. Please review these first if you have any questions about your rights.
Per Rhode Island Supreme Court Executive Order 2020-04, all non-emergency matters—including judicial eviction proceedings—are on hold until at least April 17, 2020. However, courts are not staying removal of tenants for whom a judge has already issued a writ of execution.
This means that new evictions are not being processed, and in-process evictions are on hold, but where a court has already ordered that an eviction can proceed, sheriffs are allowed to remove tenants.
Landlords might also try to perform “self-help evictions,” such as changing locks on tenants or throwing out their possessions without court approval. In most cases, these evictions are still illegal.
If you are a tenant facing eviction and you are in private housing (that is, not Section 8 or public housing), you can call the Center for Justice at 401-491-1101. If you are in Section 8 or public housing, please call Rhode Island Legal Services at 401-274-2652 (Providence office) or 401-846-2264 (Newport office).
For more information, view the Rhode Island Legal Services Housing Law Bulletin on COVID-19.