LITTLE ROCK, AR (August 20, 2014) – Young Arkansas consumers settling into their first apartments and the landlords who rented to them both have responsibilities and protections under Arkansas law. The same goes for the nearly one-third of Arkansans who choose to rent rather than own a home and their landlords.
The topic of landlord and tenant rights is one of most common when consumers call Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's Consumer Protection Division. The landlord/tenant rights page is one of the most viewed on the Attorney General's consumer protection website, www.GotYourBackArkansas.org.
McDaniel issued this consumer alert today to help both landlords and tenants to better understand their obligations under Arkansas law.
"Landlord-tenant issues have always been one of the most frequent topics addressed by the Consumer Protection Division," McDaniel said. "We consistently recommend to consumers that the best way that landlords and tenants can avoid problems is to make sure to have a written lease agreement that is binding to both parties. That agreement should cover the terms of the lease and clarify who would be responsible for maintaining the property."
The Attorney General noted that, under Arkansas law, landlords are not required to provide additional maintenance to the rental unit if the dwelling is rented "as-is." An "as-is" rental is common.
If a tenant would like a landlord to be responsible for maintenance, then the tenant should ask the landlord in writing to provide it. In the event that a tenant believes that maintenance or improvements are necessary for health and safety, tenants should contact local code enforcement authorities.
Other things to know:
- State law prohibits landlords who own six or more rental units from assessing security deposits that are higher than the total of two months' rent. So, if a tenant pays $700 monthly, a security deposit may be no more than $1,400. Landlords must return the deposit within 60 days of the tenant moving, but landlords may deduct the cost of any damages or past-due rent.
- Landlords can terminate a lease at any time if a tenant violates any provision of a lease.
- Tenants who intend to move are required to provide notice in accordance with the provisions in their leases.
- Tenants are generally required to obtain prior approval before subleasing a home or apartment.
- Landlords must give notice if terminating a lease for reasons not based on a tenant's violation. Landlords must give notice of at least one rental period in an oral lease, or, in a written lease, landlords must abide by the contract terms.
Arkansas law covering residential tenants and landlords apply only to private rental units and not government-subsidized housing, where other laws or regulations may apply.
The federal Fair Housing Act protects tenants from discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender, disability, familial status or national origin. To learn more about fair housing laws, contact the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (www.hud.gov) or the Arkansas Fair Housing Commission (www.fairhousing.arkansas.gov)