Arkansas Habitability Laws

QUICK FACTS
  • Landlord Responsibilities. In Arkansas, landlords are not legally required to keep the residence in habitable condition. (read more).
  • Making Repairs. Landlords are not required to make and pay for repairs. (read more).
  • Tenant Options. If repairs aren’t made as agreed upon in the written lease, tenants can declare the lease terminated or pursue legal action (read more).
  • Retaliation. It is illegal for a landlord to commit any retaliatory actions to a tenant for exercising their legal rights (read more).

The implied warranty of habitability in Arkansas does not apply to all types of dwellings. See the table below for which are & aren’t included.

Dwelling TypeLandlord/Tenant Laws Apply?
Single familyYes
Multi-familyYes
Fraternities/Sororities/ClubsNot addressed
RV parksNot addressed
Mobile home parksNot addressed
CondosYes
Hotels/MotelsNot addressed

Landlord Responsibilities

There are no legal requirements for landlords to follow regarding habitability unless they have agreed to make repairs/perform maintenance in a written lease agreement.

All responsibility lies with the tenant in the area of habitability.

The following chart emphasizes this point.

Habitability IssueLandlord Responsibility?
Provide windows and doors that are in good repair.No
Ensure the roof, walls, etc., are completely waterproofed and there are no leaks.No
Provide hot and cold running water.No
Provide working HVAC equipment.No
Provide working plumbing and electrical wiring/outlets/ lighting.No
Provide working gas lines if used for utilities/cookingNo
Provide working sanitation facilities (bathtub/shower, toilet).No
Provide a trash can (for trash pickup services).No
Ensure that any stairs and railings are safe.No
Ensure that all floors are in good condition and safe.No
Provide fire exits that are usable, safe, and clean.No
Ensure storage areas, including garages and basements, do not house combustible materials.No
Provide working smoke detectorsNo
Provide a mailbox.No
Provide working wiring for one telephone jack.No
Provide working kitchen appliances.No
Provide working carbon monoxide detector.No
Provide a working washer/dryer.No

Landlords are also NOT REQUIRED to ensure that common areas are safe or clean.

Making Repairs

In Arkansas, tenants rent properties “as-is.” Any repairs they feel are necessary to make the dwelling habitable should be added to the rental agreement and agreed to by the landlord in writing, as well as an agreed-upon time to complete the repairs.

It’s up to the renter to contact their local government if they believe the rental property has not been maintained up to the locale’s housing codes.

  • Landlord Access – The tenant is required to allow a landlord access to the property to make any required or agreed upon repairs, but the landlord must first give notice. No specific time frame for this notice has been set out in Arkansas law, other than that entry times must be “reasonable.”

Tenant’s Options if Repairs Aren’t Made

If a landlord fails to make repairs that have been written into the lease agreement, or agreed to in writing after the tenant moves in, their tenant is given the following options:

  1. Withhold rent – In Arkansas, even if the landlord has failed to make any repairs, tenants are still legally obligated to keep paying rent.
  2. Repair and deduct – Tenants do not have the right to deduct repair costs from the following month’s rent.
  3. Lawsuit – Tenants have the right to bring an action against a landlord for failing to keep the unit in a habitable condition given that conditions for repair were written in the lease.
  4. Moving out – If a landlord refuses or fails to make repairs, the tenant can declare the lease terminated and leave.
  5. Reporting to Public Officials -If the current living conditions pose any immediate health risk, tenants may contact local health inspectors.

Landlord Retaliation

In Arkansas, it is illegal for a landlord to retaliate against a tenant for exercising legal rights, such as reporting to a building or health inspector.

Sources