§ 34-18-38.1. Definitions for purpose of the eviction of tenants in residential foreclosed properties.
As used in § 34-18-38.2, the following words shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meanings:
(1) "Bona fide lease" or "bona fide tenancy" means a lease or tenancy shall not be considered bona fide unless:
(i) The mortgagor, or the child, spouse, or parent of the mortgagor under the contract, is not the tenant; and
(ii) The lease or tenancy was the result of an arms-length transaction; and
(iii) The lease or tenancy requires the receipt of rent that is not substantially less than fair-market rent for the property, or the dwelling unit's rent is reduced or subsidized due to a federal, state, or local subsidy.
(2) "Entity" means a business organization, or any other kind of organization including, without limitation, a corporation, partnership, trust, limited liability corporation, limited liability partnership, joint venture, sole proprietorship, or any other category of organization, and any employee, agent, servant, or other representative of such entity.
(3) "Eviction" means an action, without limitation, by a foreclosing owner of a housing accommodation that is intended to actually or constructively evict a tenant or otherwise compel a tenant to vacate such housing accommodation.
(4) "Foreclosing owner" means an entity that holds title in any capacity, directly or indirectly, without limitation, whether in its own name, as trustee or as beneficiary, to a housing accommodation that has been foreclosed upon and either:
(i) Held or owned a mortgage or other security interest in the housing accommodation at any point prior to the foreclosure of the housing accommodation or is the subsidiary, parent, trustee, or agent thereof; or
(ii) Is an institutional mortgagee that acquires or holds title to the housing accommodation within three (3) years of the filing of a foreclosure deed on the housing accommodation; or
(iii) Is the federal national mortgage association or the federal home loan mortgage corporation.
(5) "Foreclosure" means an action to terminate a mortgagor's interest in property by sale of property pursuant to a power of sale in a mortgage, as described in § 34-11-22; or conveyance of the property by the mortgagor in lieu of foreclosure; or an action filed in court pursuant to § 34-27-1.
(6) "Housing accommodation" means a building or structure containing four (4) or fewer dwelling units, or part thereof of land appurtenant thereto, and any other real or personal property used, rented, or offered for rent for living or dwelling purposes, together with all services connected with the use or occupancy of such property.
(7) "HUD" means the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development and any successor to such department.
(8) "Institutional mortgagee" means an entity, or an entity that is the subsidiary, parent, trustee to such entity, that holds or owns mortgages or other security interests in three (3) or more housing accommodations or that acts as a mortgage servicer of three (3) or more mortgages of housing accommodations.
(9) "Just cause" means one of the following:
(i) The tenant has failed to pay rent in effect prior to the foreclosure, as long as the foreclosing owner notified the tenant in writing of the amount of rent that was to be paid and to whom it was to be paid;
(ii) The tenant has materially violated either an express or legally required obligation or covenant of the tenancy or occupancy, other than the obligation to surrender possession upon proper notice, and has failed to cure such violation within thirty (30) days after having received written notice thereof from the foreclosing owner;
(iii) The tenant is committing a nuisance in the unit; is permitting a nuisance to exist in the unit; is causing substantial damage to the unit; or is creating a substantial interference with the quiet enjoyment of other occupants;
(iv) The tenant is using, or permitting the unit to be used, for any illegal purpose;
(v) The tenant, who had a written bona fide lease or other rental agreement that terminated, on or after July 1, 2014, has refused, after written request or demand by the foreclosing owner, to execute a written extension or renewal thereof for a further term of like duration and in such terms that are not inconsistent with this chapter;
(vi) The tenant has refused the foreclosing owner reasonable access to the unit for the purpose of making necessary repairs or improvement required by the laws of the United States, the state of Rhode Island or any subdivision thereof, or for the purpose of inspection as permitted or required by agreement or by law, or for the purpose of showing the unit to a prospective purchaser or mortgagee;
(vii) The foreclosing owner: (A) Seeks to permanently board up or demolish the premises because the premises has been cited by a state or local minimum housing code enforcement agency for substantial violations affecting the health and safety of tenants and it is economically not feasible for the foreclosing owner to eliminate the violations; or (B) Seeks to comply with a state or local minimum housing code enforcement agency that has cited the premises for substantial violations affecting the health and safety of tenants and it is not feasible to so comply without removing the tenant; or (C) Seeks to correct an illegal occupancy because the premises has been cited by a state or local minimum housing code enforcement agency or zoning official and it is not feasible to correct such illegal occupancy without removing the tenant; and provided further that nothing in this section shall limit the rights of a third-party owner to evict a tenant at the expiration of an existing lease.
(10) "Mortgagee" means an entity to whom property is mortgaged, the mortgage creditor or lender including, but not limited to, mortgage services, lenders in a mortgage agreement and any agent, servant, or employee of the mortgagee, or any successor in interest or assignee of the mortgagee's rights, interests, or obligations under the mortgage agreement.
(11) "Mortgage servicer" means an entity that administers, or at any point administered, the mortgage; provided, however, that such administration shall include, but not be limited to, calculating principal and interest, collecting payments from the mortgager, acting as escrow agent, or foreclosing in the event of a default.
(12) "Tenant" means a person or group of persons, who at the time of foreclosure, is entitled to occupy a housing accommodation pursuant to a bona fide lease or tenancy. A person who moves into the housing accommodation owned by the foreclosing owner, subsequent to the foreclosure sale, without the express written permission of the foreclosing owner, shall not be considered a tenant under this section.
(13) "Unit" or "residential unit" means the room, or group of rooms, within a housing accommodation that is used, or intended for use, as a residence by one household.
(P.L. 2014, ch. 486, § 2; P.L. 2014, ch. 513, § 2.)