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Can landlord lock tenant out of basement storage where property and circuit breakers are? after tenant called code enforcement?

Providence, RI |

After i complained to the landlord about apartment issues and told him i called code enforcement and the building inspector because of his neglect , he locked my basement storage ( where i keep my stuff ) and where my electrical circuit breakers are . what are the penalties in rode island ? 3 times rent plus lawyer fees ? illegal lockout ? i believe he is trying to hide the code violations ( electrical and heating ) and the fact that the one ( old boiler ) and 3 fuse boxes run 6 apartments in this building that is listed as a 3 family home with the city ! Illegal multiple dwelling . what are my rights and compensation for this ?

Attorney Answers 2


Unless your lease states otherwise, you have the right to possess and hold all of the leased premises including the basement. So, though I am not licensed in RI, I suspect that the landlords actions are illegal. You may want to consult an attorney. In Maryland there are procedures to place rent into a court escrow account until the Inspector reports that code violations are remedied.

All responses I provide on this site are for informational purposes only and are not offered as legal advise. You should consult with an attorney prior to taking any legal action.

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The judge gladly granted a temporary restraining order and granted me full access to the basement and circuit breakers, The apartment i live in is in an illegal multiple dwelling and code enforcement wouldnt let me escrow my rent payments...the building inspector (code officers boss) is ordering my home be returned to a 3 family home....your answer was most helpful.

Edward James Maher

Edward James Maher


Thank you. I'm glad you are making progress because that landlord gives landlords a bad name.



It makes sense that the landlord lawyer would offer me a couple of thousand, in exchange for me signing a move out stipulation and not telling the courts about his actions...


It is against the law for a RI landlord to retaliate against a tenant who calls code enforcement. I do not know if that is what he is doing.

I am not your attorney and I am not giving legal advice. I am giving you general information about the law. To give you legal advice I would first have to learn more about the facts and circumstances of your particular situation. The Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all lawyers in the general practice of law. The court does not license or certify any lawyer as an expert or specialist in any particular field of practice.

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