Landlord-friendly states are becoming less common these days. However, Arkansas is one of the few states that has retained that title. Despite this, rental vacancies are dwindling and rental rates are rising. While the laws may be more landlord-friendly than most states, it’s still critical that AR landlords be acquainted with all the rules surrounding residential property management.
At a Glance:
Late Fees: no specified limitations.
Security Deposit: 2 months’ rent (applicable only to landlords who own 5 or more rental units).
Returned Payment Fee Limit: cannot exceed $30 per check.
Notice to Enter: no notice required by the AR Landlord-Tenant Act.
Late Fee/Returned Check Fee:
Late Fee Limit: Although there are no written limitations in Arkansas’ landlord tenant laws; a good rule of thumb to follow is to keep it reasonably related to any expenses that are incurred as a result of the payment being late such as an assessed late fee by a mortgage company.
Returned Check Fee Information: Arkansas laws regarding returned checks can be found in AR Code § 5-37-302-303 (2012). In order to collect the fee, a specific notice in accordance to the AR code and must be sent to the address on the check, by certified mail, registered mail (with return receipt) OR by regular first class mail provided it is supported by an “affidavit of mailing”.
Security Deposit Limit: There is a limit on the collection of a security deposit (no matter how it’s designated) of no more than two months’ rent. However, this rule does not apply to an owner, whether a company or individual, who owns less than five rental dwellings. If a landlord or owner is using a third party or company who manages the rental for a fee, the limitation would then apply.
Return of the Deposit: If a security deposit is collected, then the return must adhere to Chapter 16, Subchapter 3, Security Deposits § 18-16-305 of Arkansas code. In summary, the landlord must return the full security deposit OR a partial refund along with a written notice describing and deductions. This must be sent to the tenant’s last known address by first class mail. If for some reason, the notice was unable to reach the tenant or if the landlord is unable to locate the tenant after reasonable effort, after the pass of one-hundred and eighty days, the amount of refund becomes the property of the landlord to do with as he sees fit.
Right of Entry:
In Arkansas there are no regulations written into statutes or code that pertain to the right of entry of the landlord after tenant moves into the rental unit. With that being said, there is growing malcontent surrounding this subject. In 2014, the Arkansas Law Review examined this increasing contentious topic further. Although not necessarily required, it may make sense for a landlord to provide advance written notice when possible.
As if to make things more complicated, Arkansas has two ways to go about eviction.
- In Chapter 17 of the Arkansas Residential Landlord and Tenant Act of 2007 is the more typical procedure for evictions. Written notice is given and the tenant has a certain number of days (more details below) to comply and fix the issue. If the tenant ignores or fails to make good on the problem, (s)he either moves out or is taken to court. If the tenant loses in court, the landlord can schedule a “put-out” date in order to regain possession of the rental unit. The amount of notice required are:
- Notice for Unpaid Rent: 5 days to catch up on the rent.
- Rental Agreement Non-Compliance – 14 days to comply or lease shall terminate.
- Chapter 16 of the Landlord and Tenant Act of 2007 provides for a different option when the tenant fails to pay rent. After the tenant is given ten days notice in writing to vacate, if the tenant stays they will be guilty of a misdemeanor. Once convicted by a court in the county where the rental unit is, the tenant can be fined $25 for each day (s)he fails to vacate the premises.
**As you can see, eviction can be quite complicated in any state but a state that offers two different ways makes it even more so. This is a good reason to contact an attorney.
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