According to Arkansas law (AR Code. Tit. 18. Ch. 17), the law provides certain rights for tenants wherever there is a valid written or oral rental agreement. Tenants have the right to not be discriminated against in housing and have the right to report safety and health violations to proper authorities.
Arkansas landlords also have certain rights, including the right to collect rent on time and pursue an eviction case when the rental agreement is violated.
Note: These rights exist regardless of a rental agreement stating otherwise.
Landlord Responsibilities in Arkansas
Landlords in Arkansas are only required to give a unit “as-is” and are not generally responsible for making repairs. Landlords are only required to make repairs if they are specified in the lease agreement. Tenants also are not allowed to take any form of alternative action if repair requests are not honored.
Arkansas is one of the few states that does not have either an explicit or implicit warranty of habitability. As such, there are no minimum standards of habitability that landlords must provide. There are minimum federal standards for public and Section 8 housing in Arkansas, but these standards do not apply to private rental residences.
Arkansas law also makes landlords essentially immune from almost all liability to tenants.
Tenant Responsibilities in Arkansas
Aside from paying rent in a timely manner, Arkansas tenants must:
- Keep the unit in line with cleanliness standards.
- Not disturb other tenants or neighbors.
Arkansas tenants have very few housing rights under Arkansas law. Tenants are assumed responsible for making any repairs or maintenance on the unit. Tenants cannot withhold rent or make repairs and deduct the cost from future rent payments.
Evictions in Arkansas
Arkansas landlords have broad authority to evict tenants as they please. The most common reasons for eviction include:
- Nonpayment of Rent – If a tenant fails to pay rent, Arkansas landlords may initiate a civil or criminal lawsuit. In a civil action, a landlord must provide a 3-Day Notice to Quit and in a criminal action a landlord must provide a 10-Day Notice to Quit.
- Violation of Lease Terms – If a tenant is found violating lease terms, Arkansas landlords may issue a 14-Day Notice to Cure or Quit. If the tenant does not fix the problem in the timeframe, then the landlord can benign eviction.
- No Lease / End of Lease Term (Tenant at Will) – If there is no lease or the term of the lease has ended, the landlord does not need any additional reason to end the tenancy as long as proper notice is given. The amount of time required depends on the type of tenancy, a week-to-week tenancy a landlord must provide a 7-Day Notice to Quit and month-to-month tenancies a landlord must provide a 30-Day Notice to Quit.
- Illegal Acts – Prostitution, gambling, and illegally selling drugs and alcohol are grounds for the landlord to evict a tenant. A notice is not required and the landlord may proceed directly to filing a complaint against the tenant.
It should be noticed that failing to abide by an eviction notice can incur a criminal charge in Arkansas. Landlords are also prohibited from evicting tenants in retaliation or for discriminatory reasons.
Security Deposits in Arkansas
Note: These statutes only apply to Arkansas landlords that own or manage more than 5 properties. They are not applicable otherwise.
- Standard Limit/Maximum Amount – 2 months’ rent.
- Time Limit to Return – 60 days.
- Penalty if Not Returned on Time – If a landlord wrongfully withholds a security deposit, they may be required to pay up to 2 times the value of the deposit.
- Allowable Deductions – Missing rental payments and repairs for damages that occur due to non-compliance with the lease agreement.
Lease Termination in Arkansas
Notice requirement. Tenants must provide written notice if they wish to break a lease in Arkansas.
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Early termination. Arkansas tenants may legally break a lease for the following reasons:
- Early termination clause
- Active military duty
- Violation of lease terms
If a tenant breaks a lease for any reason not listed above, they will have to continue paying rent for the remainder of the lease period. Arkansas landlords are under no obligation to re-rent a unit.
Rent Increases & Related Fees in Arkansas
- Rent control. Arkansas does not have any form of rent control so landlords can set rental prices to whatever they want.
- Rent increases. Arkansas landlords are not limited in how much they can raise rental prices, but they are prohibited from raising rent for discriminatory reasons or as retaliation.
- Rent-related fees. Late fee charges are not regulated by Arkansas law although landlords have to wait at least 5 days before applying them. Returned check fees have a limit between $10-$16, depending on the reason it bounced.
Housing Discrimination in Arkansas
Protected Groups. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability. This law does not apply to owner-occupied homes or homes operated by religious organizations. Arkansas does not extend extra protections to any groups not outlined in the Fair Housing Act.
Discriminatory Acts & Penalties. Arkansas’ Attorney General is responsible for enforcing housing discrimination law. The following actions may be considered discriminatory when directed at a member of a protected class.
- Advertisements encouraging or discouraging certain groups of people from applying
- Offering different terms, conditions, or privileges
- Assigning renters to a particular section of a complex
Arkansas does not define standard penalties for discrimination.
Additional Landlord Tenant Regulations in Arkansas
Landlord Right to Entry in Arkansas
Arkansas law does not specify how much notice landlords must give before entering a property. They are generally allowed to enter whenever and for whatever reasons, unless it violates previously agreed-upon conditions in the lease. Landlords are generally assumed to have the right to enter without notice for emergencies.
Small Claims Court in Arkansas
Arkansas small claims court will hear rental disputes valued up to $5,000. Rent-related disputes have a 5-year statute of limitations. Small claims court in Arkansas does not handle eviction cases though.
Arkansas landlords are obligated to make only one mandatory disclosure:
- Lead-Based Paint. Landlords who own homes built before 1978 must provide information about concentrations of lead-paint.
Changing the Locks in Arkansas
Landlords are obligated to honor a request to change the locks in cases of domestic abuse or sexual assault against one or more tenants. Both parties must be presented with a new copy of keys.
Local Laws in Arkansas
Little Rock Landlord-Tenant Rights
The city of Little Rock provides a more in-depth list of health and safety code that is used to adjudicate housing issues. Landlords and tenants alike should consider these additional statutes when renting in Little Rock.
In addition, please check with your local county and municipality for additional landlord-tenant regulations.