Rhode Island Property Records
Disclaimer: The below is solely intended for informational purposes and in no way constitutes legal advice or specific recommendations.
While many people think of tiny Rhode Island as the smallest state in the nation, this is untrue when it comes to population size. There are seven US states with populations smaller than that of this diminutive New England state, with a total population of 1,052,567. Rhode Island saw nearly flat growth in population between the 2000 and 2010 census; the second-lowest in the nation after Michigan, whose growth actually declined. Like Michigan, this is likely due to ineffective state government initiatives, crumbling infrastructure and poor job prospects. Rhode Island’s dwelling spaces fall into two distinct categories as defined by the US Census: “households” and “group quarters.” “Households” is defined as a group that includes families with or without children, unmarried couples, and other types of family organization. Individuals living in group quarters include the incarcerated population, as well as those in long-term care and similar facilities. As of 2010, for the entirety of Rhode Island’s population, 1,009,904 (95.9%) reside in households and the remaining 4.1% or 42,663 reside in group quarters. It’s notable that this is among the highest percentages in the nation for those living in group quarters. There are 463,388 housing units in Rhode Island; however, only 413,600 of those units (or 89.3%) are occupied. The remaining 49,788 (10.7%) are considered to be vacant. Of the housing units in use, 250,952 (60.7%) are occupied by their owners. This amounts to a total of 650,674 individuals who live in owner-occupied housing units. For these units, the average household size amounts to 2.59 individuals. In the case of renter-occupied homes, 359,230 people are divided among 162,648 units, resulting in an average household size of 2.21 individuals per unit. Rhode Island maintains a comprehensive online repository of property records via the RhodeIslandLandRecords.com website.
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Rhode Island Tax Collector & Appraiser Records by County
Property Records in RI
Rhode Island does not have a single gateway site or organization to access public records throughout the state. Instead, state public records are held by the agency or organization that creates, maintains, or controls the records. While public records are readily available on-line or in person at these agencies, the lack of a central database can make finding the records more difficult.
Throughout the United States, you are likely to encounter three different types of property records. These are land records, deed records, and tax records. Land records, also known as land grant records are a specific type of property record that records when the property first passed out of government control and to a private holder. In colonial states like Rhode Island, many of these original land grants occurred before Rhode Island was ever even part of the United States. Deed records also describe conveyances and encumbrances on property, but refer specifically to transactions between private individuals or after property transferred from public to private ownership. In addition to deeds, deed records generally contain mortgages, liens, and other documents impacting the ownership of land. Finally, tax records, also known as property tax records, generally describe ownership of land, any improvements to the land, the amount of property tax due on the land, and whether or not the taxes are current.
In Rhode Island, the Office of the Secretary of State is in charge of handling land records. They have a catalog of conveyances from 1642 to 1796. In addition to conveyances from the British government, the colonial government, or the early U.S government, these records may also contain information about conveyances from Native Americans to early settlers.
Property Tax Records
In Rhode Island, the Property Tax Assessor is responsible for maintaining property tax records. To find out information about property taxes, you need to contact the Assessor in the municipality in which the property is.
In Rhode Island, each town or city maintains its own land records. You can search some of these municipal land records online, but not all of them. Some searches require visiting the town hall or city hall.