What’s the deal with security deposit laws in Arkansas?
The security deposit serves as a safety net for landlords in the event that rent goes unpaid or that the property is left in nightmarish conditions. Failing to return the security deposit to the tenant can get you in big trouble.
That was the case for Arkansas resident Iris Payne. A model tenant, Payne left her apartment after 15 years and left the property in pristine condition (a situation that landlords wish was more common). When Payne wasn’t given a reasonable explanation of why her deposit wasn’t returned, she enlisted the help of the local news team- who brought awareness to her issue until the deposit was returned.
No landlord wants to have their security deposit issues aired on the local news or in any other public forum. You can avoid this by familiarizing yourself with appropriate procedures to follow with regard to Arkansas tenants and their security deposits.
Do landlords need to charge tenants a security deposit in Arkansas?
Not necessarily. But, the majority of residential leases have a security deposit clause, and it’s a wise idea to use one to protect yourself. The security deposit can come in handy if the tenant skips town without paying rent or if there is damage beyond normal wear and tear.
What are the limits on rental deposits in Arkansas?
- A landlord can charge up to two months’ rent for the security deposit if he or she owns six or more properties
- The landlord does not have to comply with the two month maximum if he or she owns fewer than six properties
For an $800 Little Rock apartment, a landlord could charge $1600 in the form of a security deposit.
Do landlords need to provide a receipt for a security deposit?
It’s not necessary in Arkansas to provide written notice of the receipt of a security deposit. However, it’s smart to provide a receipt for the security deposit, and many landlords use the lease as the official receipt.
It should include the amount of the deposit as well as the date it was received.
Does the money need to be kept in a separate account to allow it to accrue interest?
No. Arkansas laws regarding security deposits do not require that the landlord keep the funds in a separate account.
What can security deposit money be used for?
- Unpaid rent
- Damage beyond normal wear and tear
What is the deadline to return a security deposit in Arkansas?
The landlord must return the tenant’s security deposit with an itemized list of deductions within 60 days after the tenant has moved. It’s a good idea to document any damages with photos. Keep copies of all receipts for repairs done in the home.
Do landlords need to notify renters of security deposit money used to fix damages?
Yes, landlords must provide an itemized list of repairs for which the security deposit was used.
Where can I learn more about Arkansas Security Deposit laws?
If you have any questions, or think you may want to learn more about security deposit laws in Arkansas, please consult a lawyer.
- NOLO Guide to Arkansas Security Deposits
- Arkansas Legal Services Partnership Security Deposit Handout
- Arkansas Attorney General Landlord and Tenant Rights Alert
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