Arkansas Tenants' Rights When Landlord Requests Entry

Does a Tenant Always Have to Let a Landlord In?

As the owner of the rental property, a landlord may believe he or she has the right to enter a tenant’s apartment whenever he or she chooses. As a tenant paying rent to live in a unit, the tenant may believe he or she has the right to decide when a landlord can enter their unit. They are both right to a certain extent. Here are the rules in Arkansas when a landlord requests entry into a tenant’s apartment.

Does a Landlord Have to Provide Notice in Arkansas?

Arkansas code states that a landlord should provide “reasonable notice” before entering a tenant’s apartment. It is considered notice if the tenant is aware of the landlord’s intentions. Written notice can be provided to the tenant by either hand delivering the notice to the tenant or mailing the notice to the tenant via registered or certified mail. In certain cases, a phone call, text message or email can also suffice as notice as long as the landlord has reason to believe that the tenant received the notice.

How Much Notice Does the Landlord Need to Provide Before Entry?

Arkansas landlord tenant law does not state the specific amount of time that is considered reasonable notice. In states that define the length of reasonable time, notice of between 24 hours and 48 hours before the event is considered reasonable. An Arkansas landlord should be within their rights if they give a tenant similar notice.

Can an Arkansas Landlord Enter at Any Time?

Although Arkansas code does not list specific hours when a landlord is allowed to enter into a tenant’s apartment, a landlord cannot enter whenever he or she pleases. In general, a landlord can enter a tenant’s unit during normal business hours. These would be between 8 A.M in the morning and 6 P.M. at night.

There are two exceptions to entering during normal business hours:

  • Emergencies: In the case of an emergency, a landlord can enter into a tenant’s apartment at any time during the day or night.

  • Mutually Agreed Upon Time: If the landlord and the tenant have agreed on a time for the landlord to enter the apartment that is outside of normal business hours, then the landlord can enter the apartment at this time of the day or night.

Lawful Reasons a Landlord Can Enter a Tenant’s Apartment

There are many instances when a landlord has the legal right to enter a tenant’s apartment. Arkansas code lists the reasons a landlord may be allowed to access a tenant’s apartment. They include:

  • To Inspect the Property
  • To Make Necessary Repairs, Decorations, Alterations or Improvements
  • To Make Agreed Upon Repairs, Decorations, Alterations or Improvements
  • To Supply Necessary Services
  • To Supply Agreed Upon Services
  • To Investigate Breaches to the Lease Agreement
  • To Investigate Possible Criminal Activity
  • To Show the Unit to Prospective Tenants
  • To Show the Unit to Prospective Buyers, Contractors or Other Individuals With a Business Interest in the Property
  • In Emergency Situations

Can an Arkansas Tenant Deny Landlord Entry?

If a landlord has given reasonable notice and is entering into the tenant’s unit for a legally allowed reason, the tenant cannot usually deny a landlord entry.

It is illegal for a tenant to attempt to deny a landlord’s entry by changing the locks on their door without the landlord’s consent.

A tenant may be allowed to deny a landlord entry if:

  • Landlord Did Not Give Proper Notice- If the landlord did not give the tenant reasonable notice, the tenant may be allowed to deny the landlord entry. For example, if a landlord calls the tenant saying he or she wants to show the tenant’s apartment to a prospective tenant in five minutes, the tenant can deny entry because the landlord did not give proper notice.

  • Harassing the Tenant- A tenant can deny a landlord entry into their unit if the landlord is trying to gain entry in order to harass the tenant.

Does a Landlord Always Have to Give Notice?

In emergency situations, a landlord does not have to give notice to enter a tenant’s apartment.

In these situations, the landlord is entering the apartment in order to protect the safety of all tenants in the property. An example of an emergency situation would be a burst water pipe flooding a tenant’s apartment.

In addition, if a landlord has given the tenant notice that there is a health and safety issue that the tenant needs to remedy and the tenant does not fix the issue or respond within 14 days, then the landlord has the right to enter the tenant’s unit without additional notice and “cause the work to be done.”

Landlord’s Right if Tenant Does Not Allow Lawful Access

If a tenant denies a landlord lawful entry into their apartment, the landlord can obtain injunctive relief from a court to gain access into the apartment. The landlord may also be entitled to damages and reasonable attorney’s fees.

Arkansas Statute on Landlord Entry

Arkansas statutes relating to landlord entry can be seen at Arkansas Code Annotated §§18-17-303, 18-17-602, 18-17-702 and 18-17-705.