Title 45
Towns and Cities

Chapter 24.3
Housing Maintenance and Occupancy Code

R.I. Gen. Laws 45-24.3-21



 45-24.3-21.  Application for reconsideration — Conferences — Hearings — Emergencies — Obligations of owner — Court proceedings — Fees.


(a) Application for reconsideration.  (1) Any person aggrieved by a notice of the enforcing officer issued in connection with any alleged violation of this chapter or of applicable rules and regulations issued pursuant to it, or by any order requiring repair or demolition pursuant to  45-24.3-19, may apply to the enforcing officer for a reconsideration of the notice or order within ten (10) days after it has been issued.

(2) The enforcing officer shall set a time and place for an informal conference on the matter within ten (10) days of the receipt of the application, and advise the applicant of the time and place in writing.

(3) At the informal conference, the applicant is permitted to present his or her grounds for believing that the order should be revoked or modified to one or more representatives of the enforcing officer.

(4) Within ten (10) days following the close of the informal conference, the enforcing officer shall advise the applicant whether or not he or she will modify or set aside the notice or order issued by the enforcing officer.

(b) Hearings.  (1) Any person aggrieved by a notice of the enforcing officer issued in connection with any alleged violation of the provisions of this chapter or of any applicable rules and regulations pursuant to it, or by any order requiring repair or demolition pursuant to  45-24.3-19, may file with the housing board of review a petition stating that person's reasons for contesting the notice or order.

(2) The petition shall be filed within ten (10) days after the notice or order is served on the petitioner in the manner prescribed by  45-24.3-17.

(3) Upon receipt of a valid petition, the housing board of review shall either grant or deny the hearing requested, and advise the petitioner of its decision, in writing, within ten (10) days of the day on which his or her petition was received.

(4) When the housing board of review determines to hold a hearing, it shall serve the petitioner with notice of its decision in the manner provided for service of notice in  45-24.3-17. The notice shall be served within ten (10) days of the receipt of the petition.

(5) At the hearing, the petitioner shall be given an opportunity to show cause why the notice or order should be modified or withdrawn, or why the period of time permitted for compliance should be extended.

(6) The housing board of review has the power to affirm, modify, or revoke the notice or order, and may grant an extension of time, for the performance of any act required, of not more than three (3) additional months where the housing board of review finds that there is practical difficulty or undue hardship connected with the performance of any act required by the provisions of this chapter or by applicable rules and regulations issued pursuant to it; when the housing board of review finds that there is practical difficulty or unnecessary hardship connected with the performance of any act required by this chapter and applicable rules and regulations pursuant to it; that strict adherence to these provisions would be arbitrary in the case at hand; that extension would not provide an appropriate remedy in the case at hand; and that a variance is in harmony with the general purpose of this chapter to secure the public health, safety, and welfare.

(c) Emergencies.  (1) Whenever, in the judgment of the enforcing officer, an emergency exists which requires immediate action to protect the public health, safety, or welfare, notice of violation may be issued, directing the owner, occupant, operator, or agent to take action that is appropriate to correct or abate the emergency.

(2) The owner, occupant, operator, or agent may petition for a code enforcement hearing, but the hearing shall in no case stay the abatement of correction of the emergency.

(3) Every owner of a dwelling or multiple dwelling unit is responsible for maintaining all surfaces covered by lead-based substances in an appropriate manner as to insure no unsafe conditions exist as described in  45-24.3-10.

(4) It is unlawful for any owner, operator, or agent to evict occupants from a dwelling or dwelling unit without just cause during conferences, hearings, appeals, or when served with a notice of violation.

(5) To expedite correction or abatement of emergency violations the following time intervals hold:

(i) A notice of violation provides a time period not to exceed ten (10) days for the correction of any violation. The person served with the notice of violation has a time period not to exceed five (5) days to petition for an informal hearing with the local code enforcement agency, which will be held within five (5) days.

(ii) Second notice of violation.  A second notice of violation provides a time period not to exceed five (5) days for the correction of any violation.

(d) Court proceedings.  (1) The district court, upon due proceedings instituted in the name of any of the several cities or towns, has power to proceed according to equity:

(i) To restrain, prevent, enjoin, abate, or correct a violation; or

(ii) To order the repair, vacation, or demolition of any dwelling existing in violation of the provisions of this chapter or to otherwise compel compliance with all of the provisions of this chapter or corporate unit ordinances adopted pursuant to the authority of this chapter.
When, under the provisions of this chapter or of any ordinance passed pursuant to the authority of this chapter, any work is done or material furnished by any enforcing officer or by his or her order at the expense of the owner or other persons interested, the value of the work and material may be recovered in an action brought against the owner or other interested person or persons, and if any work or materials been done or furnished at the cost of the corporate unit, the enforcing officer shall cause the action to be brought in the name of the corporate unit. Upon the entry of any case or proceeding brought under the provisions of this chapter, the court shall, at the request of either party, advance the case so that it may be heard and determined with as little delay as possible.

(2) The court shall extend priority to the scheduling of emergency cases.

(e) Filing fees; judicial review.  All proceedings instituted in the names of the several cities and towns are exempt from the payment of the district court filing fees. Any person or persons jointly or severally aggrieved by the final judgment, decision, or order of the district court may seek review by the supreme court in accordance with  8-8-3.2(b).

History of Section.
P.L. 1970, ch. 325, 1; P.L. 1972, ch. 118, 11; P.L. 1977, ch. 277, 6; P.L. 1978, ch. 182, 4; P.L. 1979, ch. 77, 1.