Living in a Rented Trailer in Your Own Land After Your House House Becomes Uninhabitable

A rule strictly limiting damages for inconvenience and discomfort to cases where plaintiffs remain in their home or on their land might produce arbitrary results. In Hawkins v. Scituate Oil Co., 723 A.2d 771, 773 (R.I. 1999), for instance, the plaintiffs lived in a small rented trailer on their own land after their house became uninhabitable. Undoubtedly the plaintiffs in Hawkins suffered an appreciable deprivation while "scrunched" (Hawkins, 723 A.2d at 771) into the trailer. But this would also have been true if the trailer had been located on the land of another, and in either case, the level of inconvenience and discomfort would arguably be comparable to living without running water in an otherwise habitable house. Although the trailer in Hawkins may be an extreme example, as a practical matter temporary housing may often be a poor substitute for living in one's own home. Short-term housing is not always in plentiful supply. The available opt ions may lack the space and facilities to which one is accustomed, and may also be located farther from work, school, and shopping.