Arkansas Eviction Process

Arkansas Eviction Process

Last Updated: January 19, 2022 by Elizabeth Souza

In Arkansas, all evictions follow the same process:

  1. Notice is posted to correct the issue/vacate.
  2. If uncured and tenant remains, the complaint is filed and served.
  3. Answer is filed.
  4. Hearing is held and judgment issued.
  5. If granted, writ of possession is posted.
  6. Possession of property is returned to landlord.

From start to finish, an eviction in Arkansas can take around two to four weeks.  However, it can take longer depending on the reason and whether the tenant contests it.

Questions? To chat with an Arkansas eviction attorney, click here

Florida Eviction Grounds   on iPropertyManagement.com

Grounds for an Eviction in Arkansas

In Arkansas, a landlord cannot legally evict a tenant without cause. Legal grounds to evict include not paying rent on time, staying after the lease expires, violating lease terms or failing to uphold responsibilities under Arkansas law and illegal activity. In most cases, proper notice must first be given before ending the tenancy.

Grounds Notice Period Curable?
Nonpayment of Rent

(Civil Action)

3 Days Maybe
Nonpayment of Rent

(Criminal Action)

10 Days Maybe
End of / No Lease 30 Days No
Lease Violation 14 Days Yes
Illegal Activity None No

Eviction for Nonpayment of Rent

In Arkansas, a landlord can evict a tenant for failing to pay rent within the 5-day grace period of the day rent is due. A landlord must first give the tenant proper notice.

Landlords may provide either a 3 days’ notice to quit for civil eviction actions or 10 days’ notice to quit for criminal eviction actions. If the tenant does not vacate the premises within that timeframe, the landlord can move forward and file an eviction lawsuit.

In a civil eviction action, the landlord pursues unpaid rent and possession of the premises. Whereas, with a criminal eviction action, the landlord is seeking the same as in a civil action, plus the tenant may be charged with a criminal misdemeanor and incur daily fines. 

However, at the final adjudication, if the tenant does not owe rent or damages, the judge will issue a judgment in favor of the tenant.

Eviction for No Lease or End of Lease

In Arkansas, a landlord can evict a tenant without a lease or with a lease that has ended (known as a “holdover tenant” or “tenant at will”). To do so, they must first terminate the tenancy by giving a written 30 calendar days’ notice to end a month-to-month or longer term rental agreement.

Once the tenancy ends, if the tenant remains on the property, the landlord can move forward and file an eviction lawsuit.

Eviction for Violation of Lease or Responsibilities

In Arkansas, a tenant can be evicted if they do not uphold their responsibilities under Arkansas landlord tenant law. The landlord must allow the tenant to fix (“cure”) the issue to avoid removal. Regardless of the issue, the landlord must give 14 days’ notice to comply or vacate before proceeding.

Typical lease violations under this category include:

  • Damaging the rental property.
  • Having too many people residing in the rental unit.
  • Having a pet when there’s a no-pet policy.
  • Material health/safety violations.

If the tenant fails to correct the issue by the deadline and remains on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.

Eviction for Illegal Activity

In Arkansas, a landlord can evict a tenant for illegal activity. To evict a tenant, a landlord may immediately file an unlawful detainer. Arkansas landlords are not required to provide tenants who are involved in illegal activity with prior written notice. However, if the landlord would like to provide notice to the tenant, the landlord can use the Immediate Notice to Vacate.

In Arkansas, illegal activity includes:

  • Engaging in or promoting prostitution.
  • Illegally selling alcohol.
  • Permitting a common nuisance.
  • Engaging in or promoting illegal gambling.
  • Committing a criminal offense.
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Illegal Evictions in Arkansas

In Arkansas, self-help evictions and retaliatory evictions are illegal. Although the below actions are prohibited, the law is unclear on the exact repercussions a landlord might face for an illegal eviction.

“Self-Help” Evictions

No matter the situation, a landlord is not allowed to forcibly remove a tenant by:

  • Changing the locks.
  • Shutting off utilities.
  • Removing tenant belongings.

A tenant can only be legally removed with a court order obtained through the formal eviction process.

Retaliatory Evictions

It is illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant in response to exercising a legally protected right. This right includes complaining to the landlord about the presence of lead hazards with the property.

Eviction notice posted on iPropertyManagement.com

Step 1: Landlord Serves Notice to Tenant

A landlord can begin the eviction process in Arkansas by serving the tenant with written notice. The notice must be delivered by a sheriff of the county or his/her deputy by one of the following methods:

  1. Handing the notice to the tenant in person;
  2. Handing the notice to the tenant’s family member, over the age of eighteen (18) AND mailing the notice by certified or registered mail with a return receipt;
  3. Mailing the notice by certified or registered mail with a return receipt.

It is important for a landlord to always keep the original signed notice and declaration of service as proof of proper service if the case proceeds to court. 

3-Day Notice to Quit

If a tenant does not pay rent on time and the balance due is not paid within the 5-day grace period of the day rent is due (full or partial) in Arkansas, the landlord can serve them a 3-Day Notice to Quit.

This notice gives the tenant 3 judicial days to vacate the premises and if the tenant remains at the rental unit, the landlord may pursue a civil eviction for unpaid rent and possession of the rental unit.

10-Day Notice to Quit

If a tenant does not pay rent on time and the balance due is not paid within the 5-day grace period of the day rent is due (full or partial) in Arkansas, the landlord must serve them with a 10-Day Notice to Quit.  This notice gives the tenant 10 judicial days to move out of the rental unit, otherwise the landlord can file a criminal eviction.

With a criminal eviction, the landlord seeks unpaid rent and possession of the premises, plus the tenant may be found guilty of a criminal misdemeanor and ordered to pay fines assessed by the court.

14-Day Notice to Comply or Vacate

In Arkansas, if a tenant commits a minor violation of the terms of their lease or legal responsibilities as a tenant, the landlord can serve them with a 14-Day Notice to Comply or Vacate. This eviction notice gives the tenant 14 calendar days to fix the issue or move out of the rental unit.

Immediate Notice to Vacate

In Arkansas, if a tenant commits an illegal activity, the landlord may choose to serve them with an Immediate Notice to Vacate. This eviction notice gives the tenant an immediate notice to move out without the chance to fix the issue.

30-Day Notice to Vacate

For a tenant with no lease or a month-to-month lease in Arkansas, the landlord must serve them with a 30-Day Notice to Vacate to end month-to-month leases. This lease termination notice allows the tenant 30 calendar days to move out.

However, for tenants that don’t pay rent monthly, the amount of notice differs:

Lease Type Notice Amount
Week-to-Week 7 Days
Month-to-Month 30 Days
Quarter-to-Quarter No Statute
Year-to-Year 30 Days*

*Unless the rental agreement states otherwise, either party may provide a thirty (30) calendar day notice to terminate a year-to-year lease.

Questions? To chat with an Arkansas eviction attorney, click here

Eviction Complaint Filed on iPropertyManagement.com

Step 2: Landlord Files Lawsuit with Court

If the notice period ends and the tenant remains on the property, the Landlord must next file a complaint (or for criminal nonpayment of rent evictions, request an order for eviction) in the appropriate court. If there is a civil action, a landlord may file in Circuit Court or District Court.

The summons and complaint must be served on the tenant by the sheriff, deputy, a person appointed by the court as a process server, or if an in-person delivery method is not possible, the documents may be sent via first-class mail or certified mail.

If the tenant is notified via first class mail, and an acknowledgment of service is not received within 20 days of the date the summons and complaint were mailed, the landlord must choose a different service method in order to proceed with the eviction process. A copy may also be affixed to a conspicuous part of the property.

Arkansas laws don’t specify how quickly the summons and complaint/order to vacate must be served on the tenant after the landlord files the eviction action with the court.

Clock   on iPropertyManagement.com A few days to a few weeks, depending on how quickly the landlord serves the documents after filing the eviction action with the court, and which type of service method is used.

Eviction Answer Filed on iPropertyManagement.com

Step 3: Answer is Filed

Tenants in Arkansas are required to file an answer with the court if they want to contest the eviction.

This means that if tenants don’t believe they should be evicted, they must file a written response with the court, or the judicial officer will automatically rule in the landlord’s favor without holding an eviction hearing.

For criminal nonpayment of rent eviction cases, tenants will have 10 days to file their response after receiving the notice/order to vacate.

In all other eviction cases, including evictions for criminal activity, tenants will have five days to file their response with the court after receiving the summons and complaint.

Once the written response is received by the court, a hearing on the eviction will be scheduled.

Clock   on iPropertyManagement.com 5-10 days. For criminal nonpayment of rent evictions, the answer must be filed with the court within 10 days of receiving the notice/order to vacate. For all other evictions, the tenant has five days to respond.

Eviction Court Hearing on iPropertyManagement.com

Step 4: Court Holds Hearing & Issues Judgment

If the tenant files their answer within 10 days of receiving the notice/order to vacate for criminal nonpayment of rent evictions, or within five days of receiving the complaint for all other evictions, then the clerk of the court will set a hearing date for the eviction proceeding.

If the tenant fails to appear for the hearing, it will not be continued, and the judge will rule in favor of the landlord, meaning the tenant will be evicted.

If either the landlord or tenant requests a jury trial, this will add more time to the process.

Tenants may file an appeal, but that won’t automatically stop the eviction, and the tenant may still have to move out of the rental unit while the appeal is pending. At the time of the appeal, the tenant shall give an appeal bond for an amount that is determined by the court. The appeal shall be filed within five days after service of notice of appeal.

If the judge rules in favor of the landlord, a writ of possession will be issued, and the eviction process will proceed.

Clock   on iPropertyManagement.com A few days to a few weeks, depending on whether or not the tenant files a response to the eviction action, whether it’s a criminal nonpayment of rent eviction or another type of eviction, and the court’s trial schedule.

Eviction Writ of Possession on iPropertyManagement.com

Step 5: Sheriff Posts Writ of Possession

In Arkansas, the Writ of Possession is a court ordered document that is served to a tenant by a sheriff that gives the tenant a final notice (24 hours) to move out before being forcibly removed. The writ must be issued within 3 days of judgement and is issued in response to a ruling made in favor of a landlord in an eviction case.

Clock   on iPropertyManagement.comThree days. The Writ of Possession must be issued within three days of the date judgment was entered in favor of the landlord.

Eviction property possession returned on iPropertyManagement.com

Step 6: Sheriff Returns Property to Landlord

Finally, if the tenant remains on the property after 24 hours  of receiving the writ of possession, the sheriff has the right to forcibly remove all locks and place the tenant’s personal property in a public warehouse or other storage area.

If necessary, the sheriff may physically restrain the tenants from interfering with the removal of the tenant’s property.

Clock   on iPropertyManagement.com 24 hours. The tenant has 24 hours once the writ of possession is given to the tenant/posted on the rental property to move out before they are forcibly removed by the sheriff.

Questions? To chat with an Arkansas eviction attorney, click here

Arkansas Eviction Process Timeline

In Arkansas, an eviction can be completed in as little as 2 to 4 weeks, but can take longer depending on the reason for eviction, whether the eviction is contested, which days courts are (or aren’t) in session and other various possible delays.

Below are the parts of the Arkansas eviction process outside the control of landlords for cases that go uncontested.

Step Estimated Time
Initial Notice Period 3-30 Calendar Days
Court Issuing Summons 1-3 Business Days
Court Serving Summons 1-3 Business Days
Tenant Response Period 5-10 Business Days
Court Ruling 1-7 Business Days
Court Serving Writ of Possession 1-3 Business Days
Final Notice Period 24 Hours

Flowchart of Arkansas Eviction Process

Arkansas Eviction Process Flowchart on iPropertyManagement.com

For additional questions about the eviction process in Arkansas, please refer to the official legislation, Arkansas Statutes §§18-60-301 to 18-60-312, §§18-17-901 to 18-17-913, §§18-16-101 to 18-16-509, §§18-17-701 to 18-17-707, and the Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 4, for more information.

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