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New Arkansas law sets rental property requirements

Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 5:07 PM CDT
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HARRISON, Ark. (KY3) - The Arkansas legislature recently passed Act 1052, which affects rights and duties of landlords and tenants.

The most notable is the habitability standards that will be required of all rental agreements beginning November 1. These standards set basic requirements within all rental properties by which tenants must make sure they are supplied. Act 1052 is the first statewide rental requirements to be set in the state. Arkansas is historically a pro-landlord state, meaning it has little written law establishing requirements for rental properties. The new requirements are as follows.

  • an available source of hot and cold running water;
  • an available source of electricity;
  • a source of potable drinking water;
  • a sanitary sewer system and plumbing that conform to applicable building and housing codes in existence at the time of installation;
  • a functioning roof and building envelope;
  • a functioning heating and air conditioning system to the extent the heating and air conditioning system served the premises at the time the landlord and the tenant entered into the lease or rental agreement.

A landlord is deemed in compliance under the following circumstances:

  • if, at the time of possession, the landlord supplies the tenant a written form to list any defects and the tenant either signs the form without noting a defect and takes possession or fails to return the form within 2 business days; or
  • for defects that arise later, if the tenant delivers written notice but the noncompliance either could not be remedied because the tenant refused access to the landlord for purposes of correcting or was caused by the deliberate or negligent act or omission of the tenant, a member of the tenant’s family, another occupant of or visitor on the premises, or any person other than the landlord or the landlord’s agent.

Monday, the city of Harrison broke ground on a new housing development, the first in town in several years.

“Harrison has continued to grow in business and industry, but we’ve had a need for a long time now to grow our housing,” said Bob Largent, President of the Harrison Chamber of Commerce. “This now gives our workforce and our leadership places to live.“

“I hope to see hundreds of single-family homes here,” said Lew Thompson who is overseeing the project. “There’ll be some four-plexes on the backside, three bedroom duplexes and their 2,000 square feet,” said Largent.

Those will have to follow new statewide guidelines for rental properties, once rental agreements are signed.

”I think everything on the list should be something that would be common sense for any landlord to supply,” said Connie Gray, who has been a landlord in Arkansas for several decades. “It’s a two-way street, you have to be able to meet your renters needs and then they pay rent so you can continue to maintain the properties.”

”Well of course, we’re adapted to that and used to it, and we need it, and thankful to have it,” said Julie Noell, a tenant of Grays.

If an issue arises, landlords have 30 days to resolve it after it being brought to their attention. Otherwise, the law says tenants can terminate rental agreements without fine, and have their security deposit refunded.

”if you keep your property where you would live in it yourself, then you won’t have issues,” said Gray. “And if you don’t keep it that way, then you will have issues.”

Many landlords are already used to similar guidelines.

”There’s a lot of housing assistance out there for tenants, if they need it, and those agencies have guidelines,” said Gray. ”I’m sure there’s slum landlords out there that the rent, the dollar sign, is the only thing that they look at. Hopefully this will help eliminate some of those individuals down the road.”

Act 1052 goes into affect November 1 and will be required by law within all rental agreements.

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