What’s the deal with evictions in Arkansas?
As a landlord, it’s likely that you’ll have to deal with the evictions process at some point. Unfortunately, there are multiple reasons that you may need a tenant to leave the premises, but you should always be aware of your rights and responsibilities when it’s time to evict. Arkansas eviction laws outline the steps you should take when you need to evict a tenant.
Hopefully, your situation won’t be as alarming as the newsworthy Edmond resident living at Summit Grove Apartments. Recently in the hot seat for facing felony counts of embezzlement and criminal use of a computer, Stacey Torre also has been served 19 eviction notices from her apartment complex.
Ideally, you won’t have to serve eviction notices 19 times. So long as you follow the proper procedure and are clear about your rights, you can increase the chances of a relatively drama-free eviction in Arkansas.
What are some reasons I can evict a tenant?
- The tenant is not making rent payments
- Criminal activity
- Causing damages to the home
- Allowing unauthorized individuals to live inside the home
- Other violations of the lease agreement
- The tenant is still living in the home after the lease term has ended
Are there situations in which I cannot evict a tenant?
Trying to evict a tenant in any of the following situations can serve to make matters worse. You might find yourself stuck with the tenant longer if you take the wrong steps on your own. Since you likely want to get the tenant off the premises as quickly as possible, make sure you follow proper protocol. Don’t take any action until you’ve had a chance to consult with an attorney.
- Retaliating against a tenant attempting to enforce tenant’s rights
- Alleged lease violations where the landlord continued to accept rent, this may be considered waiving the landlord’s right to evict
- Unreasonable rules added to the lease that were not there initially
What is the process normally like?
Where possible, it’s a good idea to avoid taking these issues to court as it might add more expenses and aggravation to the situation. Attempt to resolve the issues on your own first (of course, avoiding any illegal actions like a self-help eviction), and use court as a matter of last resort.
Arkansas provides two methods for landlords to evict tenants: unlawful detainer and municipal court. If a landlord believes that the tenant has violated the terms of the lease, he or she can initiate an unlawful detainer case. Three days of notice must be provided to the tenants. If the tenant does not vacate, the landlord may file a lawsuit. The municipal court procedure might be easier for landlords. It can only be used when:
- The tenants have refused to pay rent provided for in the lease agreement
- The tenants refuse to vacate the property within ten days of being notified to do so
The landlord may then submit a written notice to the tenant informing them of the intent to report the occurrence of a misdemeanor to the police. The tenant could face a citation if the rent is not paid.
Unlawful Detainer Steps
- Provide the tenant three days of notice regarding the rent or lease violation
- File a lawsuit with the court if the tenant has not vacated within three days
- Attend eviction hearing
If the tenant does not attend the eviction hearing, the landlord can obtain an eviction order.
Municipal Court Steps
- Give tenants ten days of notice to vacate the property
- Provide second written notice of intent to inform authorities
- Receive rent payment from court clerk if tenant found guilty
Where can I learn more?
If you have any questions, or think you may want to start the eviction process with a tenant in Arkansas, please consult a lawyer.
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Disclaimer: The materials on this database provide general information related to the law and are intended to provide a layman’s summary of the law. The information provided does not constitute legal advice and the manager of this database is not a law firm. These materials are intended, but cannot be promised or guaranteed to be current, complete or up-to-date. All of the information offered are intended for general informational purposes only. You should not act or rely on any of the information contained on this database without first seeking the advice of a qualified attorney.