Rhode Island House Passes Bill to Ease Housing Crisis with New Zoning Ordinance Rules

The Rhode Island House of Representatives today approved legislation sponsored by Representative Jacquelyn Baginski aimed at addressing local zoning ordinances concerning the number of unrelated individuals living in the same home. This measure seeks to alleviate the ongoing housing crisis by optimizing the use of available living spaces.

“As the housing crisis continues to get worse by the day, we have recently seen various municipalities attempt to limit the number of unrelated individuals within a single home. While good intentioned and for various reasons, these local rules have in some cases left multiple empty bedrooms in homes, further exacerbating the need for more housing. This legislation will bring a uniformity across the state while also ensuring that if there is an empty bedroom in a home, then someone who needs to live in it will be able to,” said Representative Baginski (D-Dist. 17, Cranston).

The legislation, designated as 2024-H 7382A, stipulates that local zoning ordinances must allow a minimum of one person per bedroom and may not cap the number of unrelated persons per dwelling at fewer than five. This move is intended to create more flexible living arrangements and better utilize existing housing stock.

The bill now proceeds to the Senate for consideration, where Senator Hanna M. Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston, West Warwick) has introduced a corresponding piece of legislation, 2024-S 2635. If approved, this legislation could significantly impact housing availability and affordability across the state.




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