Title 45
Towns and Cities

Chapter 24.3
Housing Maintenance and Occupancy Code

R.I. Gen. Laws § 45-24.3-8

§ 45-24.3-8. Minimum standards for light and ventilation.

(a) No person shall occupy as owner or occupant, or let to another for occupancy, any dwelling or dwelling unit, for the purpose of living therein, which does not comply with the requirements of this section.

(b) Every habitable room must have at least one window or skylight facing directly outdoors (provided that if connected to a room or area used seasonally (e.g., porch) then adequate daylight must be possible through this interconnection). The minimum total window area, measured between stops, for every habitable room is not less than ten percent (10%) of the floor area of that room. Whenever walls, or other portions of structures, face a window of the room, and light obstructing structures are located less than three feet (3′) from the window and extend to a level above that of the ceiling of the room, the window is not deemed to face directly to the outdoors and shall not be included as contributing to the required minimum total window area. Whenever the only window in a room is a skylight type window in the top of the room, the total window area of the skylight shall equal at least ten percent (10%) of the total floor area of the room. Each window is not less than three (3) square feet in area.

(c) Every habitable room must have at least one window or skylight facing directly outdoors which can be easily opened, or other device to adequately ventilate the room; provided, that if connected to a room or area used seasonally, then adequate ventilation must be possible through this interconnection. The total of openable window area in every habitable room must be equal to at least fifty percent (50%) of the minimum window area size, or minimum skylight type window size, as required in this section, except where there is supplied some other device affording adequate ventilation and lighting approved by the appropriate authority.

(d) Every bathroom and water closet compartment and nonhabitable room used for food preparation must comply with the light and ventilation requirements for habitable rooms contained in this section, except that no window or skylight is required in adequately ventilated bathrooms and water closet compartments equipped with a ventilation system approved by appropriate authority.

(e) Where there is usable electric service available from power lines, not more than three hundred feet (300′) away from a dwelling, every dwelling unit, and all public and common areas, must be supplied with electric service, outlets and fixtures which are properly installed, maintained in good and safe working condition, and connected to the source of electric power in a manner prescribed by the ordinances, rules, and regulations of the corporate unit. The minimum capacity of these services, and the minimum number of outlets and fixtures, are as follows:

(1) Every habitable room must have electric service and outlets and/or fixtures capable of providing at least three (3) watts per square foot of floor area.

(2) Every habitable room and nonhabitable room used for food preparation must have at least one floor or wall type electric convenience outlet for each sixty (60) square feet, or fraction thereof, of floor area, and in no case less than two (2) outlets.

(3) Every water closet compartment, bathroom, and kitchen or kitchenette, laundry room, furnace room, and public hall must contain at least one supplied ceiling, or wall, electric light fixture.

(4) Convenient switches or equivalent devices for turning on one light in each room or passageway must be located so as to permit the area ahead to be lighted.

(5) Every public hall and stairway in every multiple dwelling must be adequately lighted by natural or electric light at all times to provide in all parts at least six (6) footcandles of light at the tread or floor level. Every public hall and stairway, in structures containing not more than three (3) dwelling units, may be supplied with conveniently located light switches, controlling an adequate lighting system which may be turned on when needed, instead of full time lighting.

History of Section.
P.L. 1970, ch. 325, § 1; P.L. 1972, ch. 118, § 3.