Welcome to Portsmouth!
New to the area? Here are a bunch of resources to help you get settled in.
3 Things You Gotta Do Before Move In Day
Aside from, you know, packing up your life and finding a place to live...

Moving truck

Will you be using a big moving truck on move-in day? You can park it while you unload on most streets in Portsmouth, but it might be an issue on some of the busier streets. Call the non-emergency Police line at 401.683.0300 to make sure your street isn't on the no-big-truck list.

Utility Setup

Get in touch with the Portsmouth utilities providers to make sure your lights/heat are on the first day you arrive, and to start shopping for internet/TV plans. There's a section further down on this page with recommendations and instructions for setting up your utilities!

Change your address

A few days before you move, you can use the US Postal Service change of address form to forward your mail. If you do it shortly before you leave, hopefully no mail will fall through the cracks. You'll have to update magazine/newspaper subscriptions yourself, though.

Your Local Government

You can contact the Portsmouth local government at 401.683.3255 during regular business hours, Monday-Friday. You can also stop in at:

Portsmouth Town Hall, 2200 East Main Rd., Portsmouth, RI 02871

to have your questions answered or attend council meetings.

Car Related Stuff

Within Rhode Island

If you are moving to Portsmouth from within Rhode Island, you legally have ten days to let the DMV know of your address change. There's no need to schlep to the DMV itself - just mail this form to Division of Motor Vehicles Attn: Address Change, 600 New London Avenue, Cranston RI 02920. There's not even a fee!

Out of State Transfer

You must move your license to RI within 30 days of moving to the state. To do so, you'll need to head to a physical DMV branch (there's no way to do it online) with your out-of-state license, as well as several other documents. You'll need:

  • proof of residency (utility bill, bank statement, or payroll stub)
  • a signature document (like a passport, social security card, or work/school ID)
  • another identity document (passport, birth certificate, or naturalization document)
  • $31.50 in cash, or a credit card
It's easiest to fill out the form when you are AT the DMV and waiting- don't bother printing it out at home to fill it out in advance. Super top secret tip: Go to the Cranston, RI DMV right when it opens (9AM) and you'll only have to spend around 30-90 minutes on this. It's worth mentioning that your first RI license will only be good for 2 years, as opposed to 5.

Changing your vehicle registration

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Electricity, Gas and Internet (oh my)

National Grid provides electricity and gas service to people living in Portsmouth. Head to this online form to start service, or call 800.870.1664. Have your Portsmouth address and Social Security Number on hand! Note: You might successfully start service via the online form, and then get a follow up email saying you actually have to fax certain documents into the National Grid headquarters to start service, such as a signed lease agreement or photo copy of a voided check. Which documents certain people have to send and why is a total mystery to us still- just use the form and wait for further instructions from National Grid, is our recommendation.

To find internet, TV and phone plans in Portsmouth, use WhiteFence to research and compare all your options. Spoiler alert: Verizon and Cox are the most popular providers in Rhode Island.

Tips for Portsmouth Renters

We read the RI landlord-tenant handbook for you. But we are not lawyers, and this is not legal advice. Just one citizen's understanding of how renting should work in Portsmouth.

1. Your landlord can't ask for a deposit that's greater than the monthly rent.

They can, however, require you to pay a deposit + the first month's rent in order to lock down the lease. [Citation]

2. Save signed and dated copies of everything you send to your landlord.

If you end up needing to go to court with them, heaven forbid, nothing you sent them will really count towards your case unless you can personally produce all the missives.

3. The city will come inspect your house if your landlord isn't taking care of business.

If you notify your landlord of an issue in your home and they don't fix it in 20 days, call City Hall at 401.683.3255 and request that a Building Inspector come check your home out. [Citation]

4. You can make repairs yourself and deduct costs from your next rent payment.

If your landlord doesn't fix something in 20 days, instead of calling the inspector you can just take care of it yourself. Make sure you notify your landlord of what you're doing, save all the receipts, and don't spend more than $125 per fix. [Citation]

5. The state will weatherize your home for free.

A weatherized home means a greener environment and lower energy bills for you. If you meet these income requirements give the Eastbay Community Action Program - Lower Bay Region a call at 401.847.7821 to start the application process.

6. You should really get Renters Insurance.

Your landlord's insurance will not cover any stuff (clothes, furniture) that you lose in the event of a fire, flood or burglary. Renters insurance in RI is dirt cheap (about $19/month) and will help you pay to replace these things without going broke/crazy. You should definitely get it. Not convinced? Learn more.

Roommate Fairness Tools
Organize bills, groceries, and rent

Make sure you create a good system for tracking who owes who and making sure bills and roommates get paid. I work on Splitwise, a website/iPhone/Android app which does all the math and tracking for you. Please give it a try! If you hate it, you can always go back to using a spreadsheet.

Split the rent fairly

If your bedrooms are of disparate quality (ie. one is much smaller than the rest), or if you are living with a couple, Splitwise also makes a tool called the SplitTheRent calculator to calculate a fair rent differential based on quality and size of rooms.

Value used furniture

If you need to put a fair price on your old furniture, or are trying to sell your share of a group couch from your last roommates, give the Splitwise furniture calculator a try. It uses age and condition to estimate a depreciated value.

Health and Safety
Here is a handy list of emergency contact information for Portsmouth.

All Emergency911
Poison Control800.222.1222
Gas Leak/Emergency800.640.1595
Power Out (Nat. Grid)800.465.1212
Fire Department401.683.3255
Police Department401.683.0300

Main Hospital

The main hospital serving Portsmouth is the Saint Anne's Hospital at 795 Middle Street in Fall River, MA. The phone number for Saint Anne's Hospital is 508.674.5600. The only full scale pediatric hospital in the state is the Hasbro Children's Hospital in Providence, at 593 Eddy Street, phone number 401.444.4000.

Urgent care

For urgent (but not life-threatening) medical issues, you can use the Newport County Medical Treatment Office at 67 Valley Rd in Middletown, phone number 401.738.8650.

Pet emergencies

For pet emergencies, you can use the Portsmouth Veterinary Clinic at 944 East Main Road in Portsmouth, phone number 401.683.0803.

Crime Rates

You can check out a detailed crime report for Portsmouth here.

Aerial view of Portsmouth

A Map of Portsmouth + the Surrounding Region

Map Click on the map to see detailed information on Portsmouth's demographics, economy, and more. Map courtesy of The Providence Plan.
Public Transportation

Rhode Island is connected by the RIPTA bus network. You can get from Portsmouth to downtown Providence in about 55 minutes using the bus. RIPTA has partnered with Google Maps to create a helpful trip planner for finding schedules and buses.

It costs $2 to ride the bus, and you can buy monthly unlimited passes for $62/month. Order them online or buy them at the Kennedy Plaza bus hub in downtown Providence. You can use RIPTA buses to get to and from the airport, most beaches, and other key destinations across the state.

Registering to Vote

If you're headed to the DMV to obtain or renew a RI license, you can register to vote while you're at the DMV doing that. Otherwise, go ahead and fill out this form and mail it to:

Portsmouth Town Hall, 2200 East Main Rd., Portsmouth, RI 02871

You'll need to enter your RI drivers' license number or your Social Security Number, so dig those cards out if you need to.

Registering Your Doggy

You must register your dog with the Portsmouth government within 30 days of moving. Visit the Town Clerk at:

Portsmouth Town Hall, 2200 East Main Rd., Portsmouth, RI 02871

during normal business hours, Monday-Friday, to get a license for your furry friend. Be sure to bring along proof of rabies vaccination, and a checkbook or cash to pay the registration fee. Registering a dog in RI costs between $5 and $26, depending on the town and whether the dog is spayed/neutered.

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