Arkansas Landlord-Renter Rights & Responsibilities 
Navigating the intricacies of rental laws, rights, and responsibilities of landlords and tenants in the Bear State can be daunting. But the potential consequences of not being well-informed about landlord-tenant laws are even worse.
As a landlord, not knowing your rights and obligations could lead to legal disputes, financial losses, and strained relationships with tenants. For tenants, unawareness of your rights may leave you vulnerable to subpar living conditions, unfair treatment, and difficulties in addressing maintenance issues.
Whether you're an experienced landlord, aspiring to be one, or a current tenant, this comprehensive guide is your key to unlocking everything you need to know about rental regulations in Arkansas Code (Title 18, Chapter 17). Delve into a wealth of information covering vital topics such as rental agreements, security deposits, eviction procedures, maintenance responsibilities, and more.
By understanding Arkansas landlord-tenant law, landlords can navigate the legal landscape with confidence. Meanwhile, tenants can secure their rights and create a safe and respectful living environment for themselves. Let's get started!
Is Arkansas considered a landlord-friendly state?
Arkansas is widely regarded as a landlord-friendly state due to its simple eviction procedures, lack of rent control laws, and flexible rules on security deposits, all of which provide favorable conditions for landlords. The state's straightforward eviction process allows landlords to regain possession of their property relatively quickly in cases of non-payment or lease violations.
Additionally, the absence of rent control laws in Arkansas means that landlords have the freedom to set rental rates based on market demand and property value. Rental investors can also adopt competitive pricing strategies to attract potential tenants and maintain a steady flow of rental revenue.
Furthermore, the state's flexible rules on security deposits give landlords the ability to collect a reasonable amount upfront to safeguard against potential property damages or unpaid rent.
Arkansas renter rights
Arkansas tenants have very few rights in the state. The rights that they do have include the right to seek a rental unit without discrimination by the landlord, and the right to report any safety or health violations to local authorities.
Arkansas tenant responsibilities
Arkansas tenants do have key responsibilities they must obtain. Some of the most important duties include:
- Tenants must keep the property clean and safe.
- They have five days to pay rent after receiving a notice.
- Renters must provide a notice in the time specified in the lease before terminating their tenancy.
Arkansas landlord rights
Landlords in Arkansas have the right to collect rent payments and a security deposit, access the property for any reason without notice, and pursue a legal eviction claim if the tenant doesn’t pay rent after a 5-day notice and violates the terms of the lease agreement.
Arkansas landlord responsibilities
Arkansas landlords have very few responsibilities in the state. One of their main responsibilities is to return the tenant's security deposit within 60 days of the end of the tenancy. But unlike other states, Arkansas landlords are not required to:
- Provide a notice prior to raising the rent.
- Provide notice before entering the property
- Repair the property within a given time frame or at all
Arkansas landlord tenant laws through the rent cycle
Arkansas rental application and tenant screening laws
There are no limits on what a landlord can charge for an application fee in Arkansas, and the state does not require them to be refundable in the case the tenant is not selected.
Additionally, there are no laws governing the inquiries they include on the application.
However, the Federal Fair Housing Act protects tenants from unlawful discrimination in the application and screening process. This includes barring any rental advertisements or publications that suggest preference, limitation, or discrimination.
Arkansas rental agreement laws
Under Arkansas law, a written rental agreement is required for a lease of one year or more, but it’s recommended that landlords provide lease agreements no matter the length of the tenancy. Oral agreements are acceptable for leases of less than a year.
The landlord may terminate the rental agreement for any reason but must give one rental period’s notice for an oral lease. In the case of a written lease, the landlord must provide notice according to the terms of the lease.
If the tenant wishes to terminate the lease, they must provide notice within the time specified on the lease agreement.
Click here for more on what landlords should include in a lease agreement.
Arkansas security deposit laws
Arkansas landlords can only charge up to the equivalent of two months’ rent for a security deposit, but this law applies only to landlords who rent six or more properties.
Landlords are not required to provide a receipt and do not have to hold the security deposit in a separate bank account. They also don’t have to pay interest on the deposit.
At the end of a tenancy, landlords have 60 days to return the tenant’s security deposit.
There are several reasons an Arkansas landlord can withhold some or all of the tenant’s security deposit. They are as follows:
- Unpaid rent
- Damages beyond normal wear and tear
Landlords must provide an itemized list of charges withheld within the 60-day time frame after the tenant leaves the property.
They can keep the entire amount of the security deposit if the damage costs or unpaid rent exceed the total amount of the deposit.
Arkansas rent laws
There is no rent control in Arkansas so landlords may charge whatever they consider a reasonable rate for their unit. But, before raising rent, landlords must provide notice of at least one rental period. This applies to both oral and written lease agreements.
Landlords may charge late fees for late rent payments, but the fees must be clearly disclosed in the lease agreement. For each month the tenant is late paying rent, the landlord may charge a late fee that does not exceed $30 per month or 20% of the amount of monthly rent.
It’s important to note that Arkansas tenants cannot withhold rent for any reason, including if landlords do not make repairs.
Arkansas repairs and maintenance laws
There are not many laws surrounding repairs and maintenance in Arkansas. There is no warrant of habitability, thus, landlords simply must provide the property “as is”. Tenants must keep the property in the same condition as they received it.
Landlords are not required to repair the dwelling or common spaces (unless specified in the lease agreement), but if they choose to do so, they must do it correctly.
Tenants cannot withhold rent if the landlord fails to make repairs, or use the “repair and deduct” remedy.
It’s also important to note that tenants cannot pursue legal action if their repair request is not fulfilled.
Arkansas notice of entry laws
Arkansas is unique in that it doesn’t require landlords to provide a notice of entry to tenants, but it’s generally a good practice to follow to maintain a healthy landlord-tenant relationship.
The notice can range from 24 hours to two days depending on what is agreed upon in the lease agreement.
Arkansas eviction laws
Arkansas eviction laws provide several reasons a landlord may proceed with the eviction process. The reasons include:
- Unlawful Detainer: In Arkansas, if a tenant fails to pay rent on time or at all, the landlord must wait five days before taking action. If the rent is still unpaid after five days, the landlord can give the tenant an unconditional notice to quit. The tenant then has three days to leave. If they do not vacate the property, the landlord can file an unlawful detainer suit.
- Violating house or lease rules: In the case the tenant violates rules or regulations, the landlord must send a 14-day written notice to cure or quit.
- Illegal activity: If the tenant is discovered to be partaking in illegal activity in or on the property, the landlord can send an immediate, unconditional written notice of eviction. If the tenant doesn’t leave within three days of the notice, the landlord can proceed with legal action.
If the landlord files a complaint with the court, the tenant has five days to object to the eviction in writing. After the response is received, a hearing will be held. If the tenant does not file an objection, the county sheriff can remove the tenant from the unit.
It’s important to note that self-help evictions are illegal in Arkansas.
Learn more about the Arkansas eviction process here.
Additional landlord tenant laws in Arkansas
Apart from regulations covering general matters such as repairs and security deposits, Arkansas also provides specific rights and responsibilities concerning topics like renter discrimination laws, landlord retaliation, and more. Explore some of these topics below.
Arkansas renter discrimination laws
Under the Federal Fair Housing Act, landlords in Arkansas cannot discriminate against tenants based on protected characteristics such as race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, or disability.
Unlike many other states, Arkansas does not have specific laws protecting tenants from retaliatory actions by landlords, thus, landlords are legally allowed to retaliate against tenants with measures like raising rent or refusing to renew a lease. The only exception is when tenants report lead hazards.
It’s important to note that retaliatory actions may still be subject to legal scrutiny and potential legal consequences.
Tenants should know their rights and exercise them without fear of retaliation. If the tenant’s landlord retaliates, they can seek legal advice or assistance to understand their options.
Mandatory disclosures in Arkansas
Arkansas landlords are obligated to make only one mandatory disclosure, which is about lead-based paint in the property if the home was built before 1978.
However, landlords may choose to provide additional disclosures to avoid potential disputes or legal issues.
Bottom line: Summing up Arkansas landlord tenant laws
In conclusion, understanding the ins and outs of Arkansas landlord-tenant laws is crucial for both landlords and tenants. For real estate investors, being well-informed about their rights and responsibilities can help protect their investments and maintain positive tenant relationships. On the other hand, tenants who know their rights can ensure a safe and respectful living environment.
Landlords and tenants should do their due diligence in staying on top of ever-changing laws, rights, and regulations so as to easily navigate the rental landscape and avoid potential legal disputes.
Arkansas landlord tenant law FAQ
Can a tenant change the locks on a property in Arkansas?
Yes, tenants can legally change locks on a property in Arkansas. However, they must provide the landlord with the new key immediately upon changing the locks.
In domestic abuse cases, Arkansas landlords are required to change the locks if the tenant requests it.
When can a tenant withhold rent in Arkansas?
There are no reasons tenants can withhold rent under any circumstances in Arkansas.
What is the limit a landlord or tenant can sue for in Arkansas small claims court?
Small claims court is designed to handle disputes involving relatively small amounts of money in a simplified and expedited manner. In Arkansas, a small claims court will hear rental cases for up to $5,000.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this post does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials are for general informational purposes only. This content may not constitute the most up-to-date legal information. No reader, user, or browser of this article should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information herein without first seeking the advice of a legal professional.