If you're struggling to pay your mortgage and you live in the state of Rhode Island, you probably have questions about what will happen if your lender starts a foreclosure against you and what your rights are during the process. For example: What is the most common type of foreclosure procedure in Rhode Island? Will you have the right to reinstate your mortgage if you default on the payments? Is it possible to get the home back after the foreclosure by redeeming it? Can your lender get a deficiency judgment after the foreclosure in Rhode Island?
Keep reading to find the answers to these questions, and others. Below you’ll find guidance on the key parts of Rhode Island’s foreclosure law along with citations to the statutes so you can read the law yourself.
The citations to Rhode Island’s foreclosure statutes are:
You can find the State of Rhode Island General Laws on the Rhode Island General Assembly’s website at http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes. If you need help finding the statutes, see Finding Your State’s Foreclosure Laws.
We've summarized the significant parts of Rhode Island’s foreclosure laws in this article. You can find more detailed articles on various aspects of Rhode Island foreclosure law in Nolo’s Rhode Island Foreclosure Law Center.
Foreclosures in Rhode Island are usually nonjudicial, which means the foreclosure takes place outside of court.Judicial foreclosures (which go through the court system) and foreclosures by peaceable and open entry are also possible in Rhode Island, but not common.
Since most foreclosures in Rhode Island are nonjudicial, this article focuses on that process.
In Rhode Island, the foreclosing party is required to give a defaulting borrower a mediation notice and a notice of sale.
Mediation notice. Before starting foreclosure, Rhode Island law requires lenders (or its agent or employee) to provide written notice that it may not foreclose on the mortgaged property without first participating in a mediation conference. R.I. Gen. Laws § 34-27-3.2. This requirement applies to a first-lien mortgage on any owner-occupied, one-to-four unit residential property that serves as the borrower's primary residence.
If, after two attempts by the mediation coordinator to contact the borrower, the borrower fails to respond to the mediation coordinator's request to appear at a mediation conference, or the mortgagor fails to cooperate in any respect with the requirements of this section, the foreclosure can proceed. R.I. Gen. Laws § 34-27-3.2. (Learn more in Nolo’s article Rhode Island Foreclosure Mediation Program.)
Notice of sale. The foreclosing party must publish a notice of sale in a newspaper weekly for three weeks and mail the notice to the borrower at least 30 days before the first publication date. R.I. Gen. Laws § 34-27-4.
Rhode Island law provides special protections against foreclosure to some military service members and to borrowers who take out a type of loan that is called a “high-cost home loan.” (A high-cost home loan is a particular type of mortgage loan that has specific characteristics and the terms of the loan meet or exceed certain thresholds.)
Protection against foreclosure for national guard members on state active duty. Rhode Island law extends the protections under the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act to all national guard members on state active duty for a continuous period over 90 days. R.I. Gen. Laws § 30-7-10.
Protections regarding high-cost home loans. The borrower can ask a court to bar (stop) a foreclosure if the lender violated the Rhode Island Home Loan Protection Act, which forbids certain activities related to high-cost home loans such as balloon payments and negative amortization. R.I. Gen. Laws § 34-25.2-8.
“Reinstating” is when you catch up on the missed payments (plus fees and costs) in order to stop a foreclosure. (Learn more about reinstatement to avoid foreclosure.)
Rhode Island law does not provide the borrower with a right to reinstate, however most Rhode Island mortgages permit reinstatement of the loan under certain circumstances. Check your loan documents.
In some states, you can redeem (repurchase) your home within a certain period of time after the foreclosure.
In Rhode Island, foreclosed homeowners cannot redeem the home following a nonjudicial foreclosure. If the foreclosure is by another method, such as by peaceable and open entry (which is rare), the redemption period is three years. R.I. Gen Laws § 34-23-3. (To get details on redemption after a foreclosure in Rhode Island, see Nolo’s article If I lose my home to foreclosure in Rhode Island, can I get it back?)
When the total mortgage debt exceeds the foreclosure sale price, the difference is called a “deficiency.” Some states allow the lender to seek a personal judgment (called a “deficiency judgment”) against the borrower for this amount, while other states prohibit deficiency judgments with what are called anti-deficiency laws.
In Rhode Island, a deficiency judgment is allowed following a nonjudicial foreclosure if the foreclosing party files a separate lawsuit. (For a summary of deficiency laws in Rhode Island, see Rhode Island Laws on Post-Foreclosure Deficiency.)
If the foreclosed homeowners do not leave the property after a Rhode Island foreclosure, the purchaser may send a notice to vacate (leave) and then file an eviction lawsuit. The former homeowners get 20 days to respond to the suit seeking eviction. R.I. Gen. Laws § 34-18-38.