Accessory Dwellings in RI Made Easier with Legislation

Real Estate Agent with RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate

In Law Apartment Requirements in Rhode Island - New Laws

Across All Towns Now Uniform


As of January 1, 2017, homeowners of single family homes will have the legal right to have an accessory dwelling unit (in law apartment), for a family member who is 62 years or older without having to obtain a special use permit from the town/city in which the property is located.


Since 2008 in RI, homeowners have been able to build an accessory dwelling for relatives who are disabled but those were the only individuals elgible for this without a town's approval.


The law provides the following benefits:

  • Allows seniors to age in place, close to caregivers, and in multi-generational homes
  • Creates a positive impact on the affordable housing shortage in Rhode Island
  • Helps increase the supply of affordable housing without government subsidies
  • Makes it possible for adult children to provide care and support to an elderly parent.


You can read the accessory law here:


The law requires the property owner to record a declaration of the accessory family dwelling unit and any restrictions with the municipal land evidence north kingstown real estaterecords and to file a copy with both the municipal zoning enforcement officer and building official. The approval of accessory dwelling ends when the property is sold and the new owner must apply with a new application to the town.


Related parties must be related by blood, marriage or other legal means and must supply the town with that documentation.


This is an exciting change in Rhode Island housing options for many families who want to incorporate a family member into their home.  Kudos to the lawmakers for finally making it easier for families to have their loved ones age in place!  


Rhode Island Accessory Dwelling Law as of 2017

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This blog © and its contents is original to Ginny Lacey Gorman

the RI waterfront Realtor of Choice


Ginny L. Gorman, a purveyor of Fine RI Waterfront Real Estate   

Specializing in waterfront, ocean front, vacation, coastal and luxury homes for sale in North Kingstown, South Kingstown, Narragansett, Jamestown, Charlestown, East Greenwich, Exeter, West Greenwich RI and beyond ...  I sell dreams!  Because there is no place like home...the RI Real Estate Agent in the Sparkly Red Shoes.


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Comments (10)

Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

This is a common sense approach to this problem for relatives.  I applaud RI for putting this in place.  

Dec 28, 2016 10:58 AM
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Oh wow, do we applaud this very current and important decision. If only our state would see the benefits. Their current solution in our County is a hardship case, and they will only allow single wide trailers so that it can be pulled off once the person no longer needs the residence. It's so short-sighted.  And unless you have a disability or a problem, being 62 or 72 isn't reason for a hardship. 

Dec 28, 2016 01:42 PM
Ginny Gorman

Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD it is amazing that we were able to push this legislation through but we are a truly 'aging' is a step forward for nuclear families to stay intact.  Keep pushing!

Dec 28, 2016 03:27 PM
Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

Space permitting, the contractors are laying out the designs right now.  That is a very desired feature for families

Dec 28, 2016 04:06 PM
Ginny Gorman

So right Ed Silva it is a long awaited plus for homeowners.

Dec 28, 2016 04:14 PM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Ginny, this is great information, and wonder why other states do not adopt this new rule.  Sure will help many aging families! 

Dec 29, 2016 05:33 AM
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello Ginny Gorman,  I think more states should have this also.  over 62 people need help sometimes (wait I am over 62).

Dec 29, 2016 08:25 AM
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Ginny I wish CT did the same thing.  I just had a borrower who had to remove and In-Law unit because it was not permitted.

Dec 29, 2016 06:45 PM
Ginny Gorman

George Souto it took the Realtors organization in RI to push relentlessly for this and we were lucky to get legislators to see the light!

Dec 30, 2016 03:34 AM
Debbie Reynolds, C21 Platinum Properties
Platinum Properties- (931)771-9070 - Clarksville, TN
The Dedicated Clarksville TN Realtor-(931)320-6730

This is great information to share, Ginny. Many households are multi-generational families now and housing is a big concern for them. Have a Happy New Year and productive 2017.

Dec 30, 2016 07:11 AM
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Thanks for sharing. Happy New Year to you and your family. Good luck in achieving your goals in 2017.

Dec 31, 2016 05:08 AM
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce

Important information for people in your area....and appreciated !

Jan 08, 2017 06:46 AM
Ginny Gorman

In the local newspaper this week I just saw 2 petitions for the accessory dwelling in our town...they are off and running Sally K. & David L. Hanson ...great news to keep families intact!

Jan 08, 2017 06:49 AM
Dave Halpern
Keller Williams Realty Louisville East (502) 664-7827 - Louisville, KY
Louisville Short Sale Expert

Houses that are conducive to multi-generational living will become more popular. "Aging in place" support systems means more families will be looking for homes that will comfortably accommodate aging parents.


Sep 18, 2017 06:07 PM