Tenants' Rights in Arkansas

6 Rights of Tenants in Arkansas

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As a landlord, it is imperative that you understand the landlord-tenant laws in your state. Not only do you need to know what is legally required of you, but you must also know what is legally required and expected of your tenants. Knowing and following Arkansas’ laws will help minimize disputes with your tenants. Here are a tenant’s basic rights in the state of Arkansas.

Arkansas Tenants’ Right to Equal Opportunity Housing 

The Federal Fair Housing Act was created to help prevent discrimination in housing-related activities.

This includes activities such as buying a house, obtaining a mortgage and renting an apartment. This Act protects certain classes of people. The classes protected under this act include:

  • Color
  • Disability (Physical and Mental)
  • Familial Status
  • National Origin
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sex

Arkansas’ fair housing law does not protect any additional classes besides the seven already protected under the Federal Fair Housing Act.

Landlords must treat all prospective tenants and current tenants equally. A landlord cannot deny a prospective tenant housing because he or she is physically disabled. The landlord is required to make reasonable accommodations to allow the tenant to reside in the property.

A landlord may not raise a tenant’s rent in an attempt to force the tenant out because the landlord does not like their religious views. A landlord cannot place a for rent ad that says tenants with children need not apply.

A landlord cannot refuse to rent to an otherwise qualified applicant because the landlord does not like the color of their skin.

Arkansas Tenants’ Right to the Security Deposit

18-16-301 through 18-16-306

Arkansas landlords are allowed to require a tenant to provide a security deposit before allowing the tenant to move into the unit.

Under Arkansas state law, a landlord may not charge a tenant more than two months’ rent as a security deposit. The landlord is allowed to charge less than two months’ rent if he or she desires.

Arkansas does not have many rules when it comes to how a landlord must store a tenant’s security deposit and the communication the landlord must have with the tenant. The deposit does not have to be kept in an interest-bearing account, the landlord does not have to provide written notice to the tenant after receipt of the deposit and a walk through inspection is not required prior to a tenant move out.

A right the tenant does have under Arkansas landlord-tenant law is the return of the portion of the deposit that is owed to them once they have vacated the unit. An Arkansas landlord must provide a written itemized statement of any deductions that have been taken from the security deposit, as well as the remainder of the security deposit and send it via first class mail to the last known address of the tenant. The landlord has up to 60 days after tenant move-out to do this.

See Also: Arkansas Security Deposit Law

Arkansas Tenants’ Right to Rent Disclosure

18-17-401; 18-17-701

Arkansas’ landlord-tenant law gives the tenant the right to rent disclosure.

Specific terms relating to the rent must be disclosed in the lease agreement. If they are not disclosed, the rent terms will be considered the default terms which are spelled out in Arkansas’ landlord-tenant law. These terms can include when rent will be paid, how rent will be paid and the length of the lease agreement.

Tenants in Arkansas are given a five day grace period from the date their rent is due to pay the rent. If the tenant does not pay the rent within this five day period, the landlord may terminate the rental agreement.

Arkansas Tenants’ Right in Cases of Domestic Violence

18-16-112

In Arkansas, individuals who have been victims of domestic violence have certain rights. A landlord cannot deny tenancy to a prospective tenant based solely on the fact that they are a victim of domestic violence.

The landlord may also not terminate a current tenant’s lease because they have been a victim of domestic violence. Under Arkansas law, tenants who have been victims of domestic violence are entitled to have their locks changed, at their expense, as long as they notify the landlord of their desire to have the locks changed.

Arkansas Tenants’ Rights When Landlord Requests Entry

18-17-602

Arkansas law does not spell out any specific requirements when it comes to a landlord notifying a tenant before entry. Many states will require a landlord to give a tenant a certain amount of notice before the landlord is allowed to enter the tenant’s apartment, but Arkansas law simply states that the landlord must provide reasonable notice. Arkansas does have rules for the times a tenant must allow a landlord to enter their apartment. This includes to perform maintenance and repairs as well as to show the unit to prospective tenants.

Arkansas Tenants’ Right to Lead Disclosure

20-27-601 through 20-27-608

Arkansas Code grants tenants certain rights and protections when it comes to lead hazards. Lead-based paint is a concern in homes and buildings constructed before 1978.

Lead is a hazard to people of all ages but is thought to be particularly harmful to children as it can cause developmental disabilities.

If a property is believed to have a lead hazard, the Department of Health is allowed to inspect the premises and then provide the owner with instructions on how to abate the lead hazard. The owner has 30 days after  receiving this notice to rectify the problem. Arkansas Code also prohibits a landlord from taking retaliatory actions against a tenant who has complained of a potential lead hazard.

Arkansas Landlord-Tenant Act

If you are interested in viewing the original text of the laws governing landlord and tenants in the state of Arkansas, please consult Arkansas Code Annotated §§18.16 and 18.17.