Arkansas is known for its natural beauty and Hot Springs Natural Park, but do you know much about their landlord tenant laws? If you’re looking to invest in rental property here, it’s important that you know your rights as a landlord as well as your tenants’ rights. When can you charge late fees? What is the waiting period before filing for eviction if your tenant is late on rent? All these questions and more are answered below.
Rent and Fees
Are application fees legal in Arkansas? Rental applications are not regulated in Arkansas, so it’s up to the landlord’s discretion if they would like to charge a reasonable fee to cover any costs associated with running credit or background checks on prospective tenants.
Late fees and rent increases are not regulated by the state either, and nor is there a mandatory grace period. Most landlords will charge a reasonable late fee of around 5% of the rent rate as soon as a tenant is late on rent. Considering that Arkansas average rent is around $1,235, a 5% late fee for this amount would equal $61.75.
For a bounced check or non-sufficient funds charge, landlords can charge a one-time fee of $30 per check, plus any charges a bank or other financial institution applies.
Tenants’ remedies are another important aspect of your state’s landlord-tenant law know. In some states, when the landlord fails to supply necessary accommodations for their tenants, the tenants are permitted to arrange for the repair to be done themselves and deduct its cost from rent. However, in Arkansas, withholding rent/repair and deduct is not upheld. If a landlord does not fulfill their obligation to maintain the property in habitable condition, the tenant should seek advice from an attorney and attend small claims court to iron out their issue.
Arkansas eviction laws specify that a landlord can file for eviction after posting a rent demand notice and allowing three days for the tenant to quit the premises (for civil evictions). If the situation is for a criminal eviction, then the tenant is allowed 10 days to quit. Rent is considered late after a five-day grace period unless otherwise specified in the lease agreement.
If the tenant violates a term(s) of the lease, the landlord must allow 14 days for the tenant to try and cure the breach or to vacate the premises. The same procedure applies if the tenant affects the health and safety of those around them or to the property.
Lastly, landlords can file for eviction immediately if the tenant commits certain illegal acts on the property. Landlords may issue an unconditional notice to quit for violations like prostitution, the manufacture or distribution of illegal substances, or illegal gambling.
For landlords who own six or more properties and who manage their properties independently (without the assistance of a third party), the security deposit limit is two months’ rent.
Arkansas landlords are not required to pay interest on security deposits, and they are also not required to keep their security deposits in a separate bank account. However, it’s generally advised that landlords separate their personal and business funds for tax and liability purposes.
Landlords are within their rights to withhold funds from a security deposit for unpaid rent and damages due to tenant negligence or rental agreement violations. However, any and all deductions must be listed and sent in a written notice to the tenant within 60 days, alongside the rest of their security deposit.
Arkansas landlord tenant laws leave a level of discretion to the landlord regarding many policies. It’s important to remain fair and equitable to your tenants, but if you like having as much control as possible over your policies regarding, for example, grace periods or repair and deduct circumstances, Arkansas may be a good place for you to invest.