Arkansas statutes have some unique provisions which affect the Arkansas landlord tenant law. The Arkansas Consumer Bill of Rights has shaped Arkansas landlord tenant laws. Some provisions of the Arkansas laws can result in possible criminal charges as well as civil penalties if violated.
The relationship between Arkansas landlords and their tenants is governed by Chapter 88 of the Arkansas Code Annotated, Sec. 16-18 and by various court rulings. However, the most important source governing Arkansas tenants rights is the rental agreement itself, whether written or oral.
The following is a list of provisions that are specific to Arkansas rental statutes:
• Any change in a rental agreement must be made in writing, even if the lease is oral, and must be signed by all parties to the lease.
• A landlord may not evict a tenant without cause, as defined by the Arkansas Property Code or disturb the tenant’s right to live in peace and quiet.
• A landlord may not interrupt utilities, if provided, unless there is a bona fide emergency.
• If a landlord fails to make repairs needed to protect health, safety or security, the tenant has remedies under Arkansas law, but must follow certain procedures that are set in A.C.A.18-16-101.
The Arkansas Tenants Bill of Rights does provide additional protection for tenants, but this has also added to the complexity of the landlord tenant law Arkansas provisions. Some of these rights were already included in the Arkansas law however, the Tenants Bill of Rights expanded on the details of that law. A few of the provisions of this bill include the following:
• Unlawful Detainer
If a landlord uses the "unlawful detainer" method of eviction, he must give tenant a three-day written notice to vacate. If tenant does not leave, the landlord can sue by filing a complaint against the tenant in court. After tenant receives a summons to appear in court, the tenant has five days to object to the eviction in writing. Any objection must be filed with the clerk of the court in which the eviction action was originally filed. The tenant should send a copy of their objection to the landlord’s lawyer as well. If the tenant does not file an objection, the tenant can be removed from the dwelling by the county sheriff. If the tenant does object and proper objection is filed, a hearing will be scheduled to determine the outcome to the tenant's case.
• Failure to Vacate
If a landlord wishes to use the "failure to vacate" method of eviction, he must give the tenant a 10-day written notice. This method of eviction applies only to non-payment of rent. If the tenant does not leave the premises within 10 days, the prosecuting attorney has the discretion to charge tenant with a misdemeanor. The tenant would then be required to appear in court where he or she could be fined up to $25.00 for each day he or she remained in the dwelling after being given the 10-day notice to vacate.
• Failure to Pay Rent
This included failure to pay rent at all, and failure to pay rent on time no matter the reason. This is grounds for eviction. There are two types of eviction procedures a landlord can use: "unlawful detainer" (a civil eviction) and "failure to vacate" (a criminal eviction).
The Arkansas landlord tenant law is complex and relies heavily on the provisions of the rental agreement or lease provisions. If there is a question about any of the details of the law, or acts governing the law, we advise you to contact an attorney who is familiar with residential property law. The information provided in this article is meant to give landlords and tenants in the state of Arkansas a better understanding of rental law, but it is not to be regarded at legal advice.
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