Getting to know all the Arkansas landlord tenant laws that involve a lease agreement is the key to having a good leasing relationship. Every tenancy is different, so it's expected to come across some obstacles along the way. In this case, the best thing to do is to be prepared for any outcome.
Most of the rules that you need to understand before you start a new tenancy period are landlord-tenant laws. As the name states, they establish the rules and regulations that the landlord and tenant must follow at all times.
Thankfully, Arkansas is a state that doesn't require too many guidelines for landlords or tenants, meaning that there's room for flexibility on every agreement. In this page, we're going to go through the Arkansas landlord-tenant law to help you understand most of the things involved with renting a property.
Keep in mind that this is general information and you may apply it differently depending on your rental case. If you need specific help for your tenancy, make sure to contact an attorney or a real estate manager for legal advice.
Is Arkansas Considered a Landlord-Friendly State?
Unlike other states, Arkansas is considered a heavily landlord-friendly area. It doesn't impose many regulations for Arkansas landlords, meaning that they may manage their rental agreement as they please. In essence, Arkansas gives a high grade of leverage to landlords over tenants regarding housing rights.
What is Included in a Rental Agreement in Arkansas?
A lease agreement should be written if the lease term is longer than one year. However, it's always recommended to Arkansas landlords to use written leases regardless of the duration of the term since it serves as physical proof of everything that was agreed upon between the landlord and tenant.
All the housing guidelines of the Arkansas landlord-tenant laws are specified in the Arkansas Code (Title 18, Chapter 17). Landlords may include as many clauses as they consider appropriate (As long as they're compliant with Arkansas law). However, here's a list of the most commonly included clauses in this type of document:
- Description of the leased property
- Duration of the lease term.
- Cost of rent.
- Rent payment conditions.
- Subleasing (If applicable).
- Person responsible for maintenance and utility bills.
What Are Landlords' Rights and Responsibilities?
In every lease agreement, there is a specific section regarding rights and responsibilities. That section tells both landlords and tenants what they can and cannot do while the tenancy is active. These guidelines may be adjusted depending on the landlord, but they're usually similar.
According to Arkansas law, these are some important rules that you should always keep an eye out for:
Arkansas landlords have the right to collect rent payments, collect a security deposit to cover excessive damages to the property, and pursue an eviction claim if the tenant ever violates the terms of the lease.
Landlords must give the tenant their property as it currently is. Generally, landlords are not responsible for making any kind of repairs, unless it's stated in the lease agreements. It's important to note that an Arkansas tenant may not pursue legal action if their repair request doesn't get honored.
According to landlord-tenant laws in Arkansas, there is no warranty of habitability. This means that the landlord doesn't have to comply with specific health or safety codes when delivering the unit to the tenant. However, it's the tenant's duty to keep the unit in the same health and safety conditions they received it in.
What Are Tenants' Rights and Responsibilities?
Arkansas tenants have the right to seek a rental unit without being discriminated against by their landlord. On the other hand, tenant rights allow them to report any safety or health violations to the local authorities.
As said before, Arkansas tenants have many responsibilities at the time of living in a rental unit. Since the landlord isn't required to make any repairs or maintenance to the unit (Unless stated otherwise in the lease agreements), tenants are responsible for keeping the unit in good repair at all times.
Aside from that, tenants in Arkansas are responsible for following these rules:
- Keep the unit clean and safe.
- Not disturb other neighbors and tenants.
- Pay rent on time.
It's important to note that tenants cannot withhold rent payments or deduct repair costs from future rent payments since it goes against Arkansas law.
Arkansas Landlord-Tenant Laws - General Clauses
While the information provided above states that landlords have much more leverage over tenants, there are still a set of general clauses that are important to look at. If you want your lease agreement to be compliant with Arkansas law, read this list carefully.
As with most states, Arkansas tenants should be paying rent at beginning of each month unless stated otherwise by the landlord. It's also important to note that Arkansas landlords don't have to send a rent receipt for tenants. However, it's always recommended to do it since it's considered good practice.
Currently, there are no rent control policies in Arkansas, meaning that landlords are free to charge any amount of rent they consider appropriate. Additionally, they can increase rent as much as they want without giving much notice to the tenant, but they cannot increase rent as a retaliatory measure.
Late Fees and Grace Periods
There are no currently known late fee or grace period laws in Arkansas; this means that Arkansas landlords can choose to charge late fees to their tenants if they wish. It's always recommended to charge these fees since they can motivate the tenant to pay on time. Since there are no grace periods, landlords can charge late fees as soon as rent is late.
A security deposit can be collected to cover damages to the apartment or violations to local housing codes. They can also be used to cover unpaid rent/utilities.
According to Arkansas landlord tenant laws, the security deposit's value cannot be higher than the cost of two months' rent. Arkansas landlords are not required to provide the tenant a receipt of the security deposit.
Security Deposit Return
Landlords must return the security deposit to the tenant within 60 days of them leaving the apartment to comply with local housing law. If the landlord doesn't return the deposit within that time frame, tenant rights allow them to seek legal help with a lawyer or file a claim with a small claims court.
The landlord may decide to partially withhold the security deposit for one of the following reasons:
- Unpaid rent or utility bills.
- Excessive damage to the building.
- Violations to the lease or housing regulations.
Regardless of the case, the landlord must provide an itemized list of deductions to the tenant within 60 days of the tenant leaving.
Tenants may terminate the agreement if they want. However, they must provide written notice to their landlord. Here is a list with the required amount of notice for every type of tenancy:
- Weekly Lease - Seven-day notice.
- Monthly Lease - 30 days' notice.
- Quarterly Lease - Non-applicable.
- Yearly Lease - Non-applicable.
On the other hand, tenants can terminate the agreement before it ends for any of the following reasons:
- Early termination clause.
- Breach of the lease terms or housing rules.
- Active military duty.
An eviction is when landlords decide that the tenant are no longer fit to live in their rental building. In these cases, the landlord must give a particular amount of eviction notice to the tenant, depending on the case. Here is a list of the reasons why landlords may want to evict their tenants:
- Unpaid Rent: If the tenant isn't successful at paying rent on time, landlords must begin eviction processes within five days since they're not required to send any notice. This eviction process is also called the "Unlawful Detainer" claim.
- Breach of the Lease Terms: In the case that tenants violate housing rules, landlords must send a 14 days written notice to cure or quit.
- Criminal Activity: If the tenant is seen doing any illegal activity on the building, they can send an unconditional written notice of eviction. If the tenant doesn't leave within these three days' notice, the landlord can seek legal action.
It's important to note that at-will tenants must receive 30 days' notice if they're on a monthly lease. Arkansas law also prohibits "self-help" evictions.
See our full guide on the eviction process and laws for Arkansas.
By following the guidelines states in the Arkansas laws, you're ensuring a healthy and safe leasing experience until it ends. If you want more help with your case, contact an attorney or a real estate manager.
Does the landlord have to disclose information about lead paint?
Tenants must know about any concentrations of lead paint in the rental building if it was built before 1978. Read more about preventing lead paint in a building.
Can the tenant change the locks on the property?
To comply with housing, health, and safety rules, landlords are responsible for changing the locks of the rental building if the tenants request it due to a domestic abuse case. In these cases, landlords in Arkansas must provide a copy of the new keys of the rental building to comply with housing rules.
Does the landlord have the right to enter the property?
Entry notice for landlords is an important thing in every agreement. In Arkansas, the minimum or maximum entry notice isn't specified, meaning that landlords are not required to give notice of entry before going inside the rental building. It's generally seen as good practice in the housing market to send an entry notice either way to prevent disputes. This notice can go from one to two days, depending on what the tenant and landlord agree on.
What is the limit of Arkansas Small Claims court?
A small claims court in Arkansas can hear rental cases valued up at $5,000.