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Municipal Housing Court Frequently Asked Questions/FAQ's

What is the Pawtucket Municipal Housing Court?

The Pawtucket Municipal Housing Court enforces the Rhode Island State Building Code as it relates to houses and buildings in the City of Pawtucket. As well, the Housing Court enforces various City ordinances, or laws.  The Rhode Island State Building Code contains the “minimum standards” to which all houses and buildings must conform. A property owner does not have to have the nicest property on the street, but the property cannot fall below the minimum standards as set forth in the Rhode Island Building Code. Likewise, it cannot violate any City ordinance, or law.

The City of Pawtucket has a Division of Code Enforcement. The Division employs “inspectors” who issue “notices of alleged violation” when they are alerted to or observe violations. Respondents must resolve the matter with the Division of Code Enforcement, or they must appear in court before a Municipal Judge.

1. Where is the Pawtucket Municipal Housing Court located?

Above the Pawtucket Police Station, 121 Roosevelt Ave., Pawtucket, RI  02860

2. What time does housing court begin?

Housing court is in session every Friday at approximately 9:30am. Housing Court begins on Fridays immediately following the Pawtucket Municipal Traffic Court, which begins at 9:00am, so it is difficult to state exactly what time Housing Court will begin. It usually begins at approximately 9:30am.  Cases are heard on a first come, first served basis, so you are free to arrive as early as 9:00am.

3. How much are court costs?

Court costs are $35.00. 

4. Do I have to Appear Personally at Housing Court?

Yes, if you receive a Notice of Violation, you either have to resolve the matter with the Director of Zoning and Code Enforcement, obtain his/her permission not to appear, or you must appear at the date and time given on the Notice of Violation. Otherwise, if you do none of the above and you do not appear, you may be “defaulted,” and fines and court costs can be imposed and levied against your property via a lien on the property which is recorded in the City Land Evidence Records.

5. Can I reschedule my court date? 

Yes, you may contact the Municipal Housing Court clerk at 401-728-0500, ext. 280 for rescheduling.

6. I’m unable to attend court, can I send someone to represent me?

Normally, lawyers represent clients in court, but we realize lawyers cost money, and this may not be a common sense option for ordinary homeowners seeking to resolve ordinary issues in the Pawtucket Housing Court.  Accordingly, the Municipal Judges seek to work with you (or with whomever you send on your behalf) to resolve problems.

Most owners attend court, but some owners choose to send a property manager, a spouse, or a co-owner of the property.  In the case of elderly or disabled owners, the Municipal Judges do their best to make reasonable accommodations.  Feel free to call the Pawtucket Municipal Housing Court clerk, at 728-0500 ext. 280, if you have any specific questions.

  • 7. How do I appeal the court’s decision?

The Municipal Judges do their very best to work with owners to resolve problems. In the event an amicable resolution cannot be reached and the Court issues a Decision or Order with which you disagree, you may appeal the court’s Decision or Order to the Rhode Island Supreme Court. You may hire an attorney, or call the Rhode Island Supreme Court clerk’s office at _____ for more information about appeals.

8. Do I need to register as an absentee landlord?

Notices of Violation are sent to the property owners or “tacked” on to the property. Accordingly, if you do not live there, and you have not registered as an absentee landlord, you may not receive the Notice of Violation. This can cause many problems in terms of the City resolving the matter.

For this reason, by Pawtucket City Ordinance, property owners who do not reside at the property are required to register as absentee landlords. To do so, you can either contact the Zoning and Code Enforcement Department at City Hall, 137 Roosevelt Avenue, Pawtucket, RI  02860 or call 401-728-0500, ext. 291, or visit our City of Pawtucket website at: www.pawtucketri.com to download the form located on the Zoning[1]  Department homepage.

9. How much time to I have to pay my fine and court costs?

Generally a Municipal Court Judge will work with property owners who request an extension to pay fines and court costs.  Usually, the Judges will allow you 30 days to pay your fines and/or court costs.

10. Who can I contact regarding my violations and court date?

You can contact the Municipal Housing Court Clerk at 401-728-0500, ext. 280, Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

 

 

 

           


 

What is the Official Name? Zoning and Code Enforcement? Or something else?

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