Last Updated on October 21, 2023 by Kelvin Nielsen
Generally speaking, it’s illegal for landlords to retaliate against their tenants for exercising certain legal rights. As a tenant, this basically means that it’d be illegal for a landlord to evict, harass, or raise the rent on you for doing something legal.
That said, the state of Arkansas is one of the most landlord-friendly states in the country. Which, actually allows landlords to retaliate against their tenants legally. The following is everything you need to know in this regard.
Arkansas Landlord Retaliation Laws
The state of Arkansas is among the few states that make it legal for landlords to retaliate against their tenants. So, yes, your Arkansas landlord can retaliate against you for doing certain things.
The following are examples of actions that your landlord can take against you.
- Raise rent
- Refuse to renew your lease after it has expired
- File an eviction lawsuit against you
- Refuse to make repairs
- Harass you
Speaking of harassment, there are certain things that your landlord, however, must not do. For example:
- Make threats against you or a member of your family.
- Make verbal or physical threats against you.
- Follow you around.
- Change your locks without serving you proper notice.
- Make repairs or improvements to your rented premises without your consent.
What is Illegal under Arkansas Landlord Retaliation Laws?
As already aforementioned, Arkansas law allows landlords to legally retaliate against tenants in most cases. The only exception is when you’re reporting a lead hazard.
Lead hazards are a health risk that may cause irreversible neurological damage as well as renal diseases, cardiovascular effects, and reproductive toxicity. And inasmuch as your landlord can generally retaliate against you for most things, they must not do so when it comes to reporting lead hazards.
The following are examples of things that would be illegal for your Arkansas landlord to do.
- Increase your rent after filing a complaint with the health department about lead hazards.
- Refusing to renew your lease after filing a complaint with the health department about lead hazards.
- Filing an eviction lawsuit against you because you complained to the local health department about lead hazards.
- Engaging in petty inconveniences like removing laundry facilities, draining the pool, or canceling cable access after learning you have reported them to health authorities about lead hazards in the property.
In other words, your landlord can retaliate against you for everything and anything as long as it has nothing to do with reporting them for lead hazards.
How can a Tenant Report a Landlord for Retaliation in Arkansas?
As a tenant in Arkansas, you have no legal response to landlord retaliation. The only exception here is if you’re reporting a lead hazard. In that case, the following are the steps that you must take.
- Call the local government health agency. The agency will investigate your claim for merit and take relevant measures. You can do so by dialing 1-800-424-LEAD (5323).
- File a complaint with the Arkansas Fair Housing Commission. You can do so either online or by mail.
- Get in touch with an attorney.
If the landlord is found guilty of illegally retaliating against you, they may be subject to a number of penalties. Including, criminal penalties, civil penalties, injunctive relief, and compensation for the damages caused by the hazard.
The state of Arkansas is one of the most landlord-friendly states in the country. Tenants have few legal options when retaliated against except when it comes to lead-based hazards.
Disclosure: The content herein isn’t a substitute for advice from a professional attorney. It’s only meant to serve educational purposes. If you have a specific question, kindly seek expert attorney services.
Sources: Arkansas Code Title 18 Chapters 16 & 17, https://advance.lexis.com/, https://casetext.com/case/preferred-med-assocs-llc-v-abraham-family-trust,
Hi, I’m Kelvin Nielsen, an experienced landlord and accomplished real estate lawyer. My focus is on answering your questions about renting in the hopes of making your life as a renter or a landlord a bit easier.