Title 45
Towns and Cities

Chapter 24.3
Housing Maintenance and Occupancy Code

R.I. Gen. Laws § 45-24.3-5

§ 45-24.3-5. Definitions.

The following definitions apply in the interpretation and enforcement of this chapter:

(1) “Accessory structure” means a detached structure which is not used or not intended to be used for living or sleeping by human occupants, and which is located on the same premises with a dwelling.

(2) “Appropriate authority” means the official department, or agency, designated by a local community to administer and enforce these regulations pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.

(3) “Approved” means approved by the local or state authority having administrative authority.

(4) “Ashes” means the residue from the burning of combustible materials (and the noncombustible portion of refuse loaded into an incinerator).

(5) “Basement” means a portion of the building partly underground, but having less than half its clear height below the average grade of the adjoining ground.

(6) “Cellar” means the portion of the building partly underground, having half or more than half its clear height below the average grade of the adjoining ground.

(7) “Central heating system” means a single system supplying heat to one or more dwelling unit(s) or more than one rooming unit.

(8) “Corporate unit” means a city or town, as the case may be, delegated with the powers to provide for the enforcement of this chapter.

(9) “Dormitory” means a room or group of rooms in a dwelling used for living and sleeping purposes by four (4) or more persons.

(10) “Dwelling” means any enclosed space which is wholly or partly used or intended to be used for living or sleeping by human occupants; provided, that “temporary housing”, as defined in this section, shall not be regarded as a dwelling.

(11) “Dwelling units” means any room or group of rooms located within a dwelling and forming a single habitable unit with facilities which are used or intended to be used for living, sleeping, cooking, and eating.

(12) “Enforcing officer” means the official charged with the administration and enforcement of this chapter, or the officer’s authorized representative.

(13) “Extermination” means the control and elimination of insects, rodents, or other pests by eliminating their harborages; by removing, or making inaccessible, materials that may serve as their food; and by poisoning, spraying, fumigating, trapping, or by any other recognized and legal pest elimination methods approved by the health officer.

(14) “Family” means one adult person plus one or more persons who are legally related to the adult person and residing in the same dwelling unit with that person.

(15) “Garbage” means the animal and vegetable waste resulting from the handling, preparation, cooking, serving, and nonconsumption of food.

(16) “Guest” means any person who shares a dwelling unit in a nonpermanent status for not more than thirty (30) days.

(17) “Habitable room” means a room or enclosed floor space used or intended to be used for living, sleeping, cooking, or eating purposes, excluding bathrooms, water closet compartments, laundries, furnace rooms, pantries, kitchenettes and utility rooms of less than fifty (50) square feet, foyers or communicating corridors, stairways, closets, storage spaces and workshops, and hobby and recreation areas in unsealed or uninsulated parts of a structure below ground level or in attics.

(18) “Health officer” means the legally designated director of health of this state, or the director’s authorized representative.

(19) “Heated water” means water heated to a temperature of not less than one hundred twenty degrees (120 °) fahrenheit.

(20) “Household” means a family and/or one or more unrelated persons, including servants, and not more than two (2) boarders, who share the same dwelling and use some or all of its cooking and eating facilities.

(21) “Infestation” means the presence within or around a dwelling or other structure in large numbers of insects, rodents, or other pests.

(22) “Kitchen” means any room containing any or all of the following equipment, or area of a room within three feet (3′) of that equipment: sink, and/or other device for dish washing, stove or other device for cooking, and refrigerator or other device for cool storage of food.

(23) “Lead-based substances” means any paint, plaster, or other building material which contains lead at levels in excess of acceptable environmental lead levels established by department of health regulations.

(24) “Meaning of certain words.” Wherever the words “dwelling”, “dwelling unit”, “rooming house”, “rooming unit”, “premises”, and “structure” are used in this chapter they shall be construed as though they were followed by the words “or any part thereof”. Words used in the singular include the plural, and the plural the singular, the masculine gender includes the feminine, and the feminine the masculine.

(25) “Multiple dwelling” means any dwelling containing four (4) or more dwelling units.

(26) “Occupant” means any person, over one year of age, living, sleeping, cooking, or eating in, or actually having possession of, a dwelling unit or a rooming unit, and/or structure, except that in dwelling units a guest will not be considered an occupant.

(27) “Operator” means any person who has charge, care, or control of a building, or part thereof, in which dwelling units or rooming units are let.

(28) “Owner” means any person who, alone or jointly or severally with others:

(a) Has legal title to any dwelling, dwelling unit, or structure with or without accompanying actual possession thereof; or

(b) Has charge, care, or control of any dwelling, dwelling unit, or structure as owner or agent of the owner, or an executor, administrator, trustee, or guardian of the estate of the owner. Any person representing the actual owner is bound to comply with the provisions of this chapter, and of rules and regulations adopted pursuant to this chapter, to the same extent as if that person were the owner.

(29) “Permissible occupancy” means the maximum number of persons permitted as a family or household to reside in a dwelling or rooming unit based on the square foot per person in habitable rooms.

(30) “Person” means and includes any individual, firm, corporation, association, or partnership.

(31) “Plumbing” means and includes all of the following supplied facilities and equipment: gas pipes, gas burning equipment, waste pipes, garbage disposal units, water closets, sinks, installed dishwashers, lavatories, bathtubs, shower baths, installed clothes washing machines, catch basins, drains, vents, and any other similar supplied fixtures, together with all connections to water, sewer, septic tank, or gas lines.

(32) “Potential hazardous material” means any toxic material, including building material containing heavy-metal compounds in concentrations dangerous to the public health as deemed by the department of health of this state.

(33) “Premises” means a platted lot or part of a platted lot or unplatted lot or parcel of land, or plot of land, either occupied or unoccupied by any dwelling or non dwelling structure, and includes any building, accessory structure, or other structure on that land.

(34) “Privacy” means the ability of a person or persons to carry out an activity commenced without interruption or interference, either by sight or sound, by unwanted persons.

(35) “Refuse” means all putrescible and non-putrescible solids (except body wastes) including garbage, rubbish, ashes, and dead animals.

(36) “Rooming house” means any dwelling or that part of any dwelling containing three (3) or more rooming units in which space is occupied by three (3) or more persons who are not members of a single family.

(37) “Rooming unit” means any room or group of rooms forming a single habitable unit used or intended to be used for living and sleeping, but not for cooking or eating purposes.

(38) “Rubbish” means non-putrescible solid wastes (excluding ashes) consisting of both:

(i ) Combustible wastes such as paper, cardboard, plastic containers, yard clippings, and wood, and

(ii ) Noncombustible wastes such as tin cans, glass, and crockery.

(39) “Safety” means the condition of being free from danger and hazards which may cause accidents or disease.

(40) “Septic tank” means a receptacle, usually underground, to which sewage is drained and retained to effect disintegration of the organic matter by bacteria.

(41) “Space heater” means a self-contained, automatically controlled, fuel burning appliance of either the circulating type or the radiant type.

(42) “Structure” means all structures used or intended to be used for commercial, business, or industrial use or occupancy.

(43) “Supplied” means paid for, furnished, provided by, or under the control of the owner or operator.

(44) “Temporary housing” means any tent, trailer, mobile home, or any other structure used for human shelter which is designed to be transportable, and is not attached to the ground, to another structure, or to any utility system on the same premises for more than thirty (30) consecutive days.

History of Section.
P.L. 1970, ch. 325, § 1; P.L. 1972, ch. 118, § 1; P.L. 1979, ch. 77, § 1; P.L. 1981, ch. 268, § 1; P.L. 1988, ch. 84, § 106; P.L. 1991, ch. 355, § 2; P.L. 2002, ch. 187, § 5; P.L. 2002, ch. 188, § 5.