Last Updated on October 21, 2023 by Kelvin Nielsen
Admittedly, the relationship between a tenant and a landlord is not always a peaceful nor an easy one. Sometimes the harassment may arise out of ignorance by your landlord for lack of proper understanding of Arkansas landlord-tenant laws. Other times, the landlord may simply not like you anymore and want to get rid of you.
Either way, landlord harassment in Arkansas, as in any other U.S. state, is illegal, in whatever form it presents itself. As a tenant, you have a right to the quiet and peaceful enjoyment of your rented premises.
The only way the landlord can get you out of their property is by obtaining a court order. Using any other means to evict you, including harassing you, will not only fail, but may also be punishable under Arkansas law.
What Constitutes Landlord Harassment in Arkansas?
Landlord harassment occurs when a landlord willingly creates conditions that are meant to intimidate a tenant into breaking their lease. The harassment could be fashioned against a tenant or their guest.
- A proper eviction process. No matter the violation you have committed, the landlord must act within the law. They must serve you a proper eviction notice and follow the due course of the law.
- Terminate a periodic lease at any point during the tenancy as long as you serve proper notice. To terminate a month-to-month rental agreement, for instance, all you have to do is serve the landlord a 30 days’ advance notice.
- Enjoy your rented premises in peace and quiet. The landlord must not, for instance, lock you out of your home, threaten you, or raise rent illegally.
- Exercise your legal rights. For example, report the landlord to a local health government agency for habitability issues.
It’d be illegal for your landlord to harass you for exercising any of these rights. And these rights exist regardless of what the lease or rental agreement may say.
Examples of Landlord Harassment in Arkansas
Landlord harassment may come in different shapes and forms. The following are common examples.
1. Entering your Rented Property Illegally
While landlords have right of entry, they must do so in accordance with the lease and statutory laws. Unlike some other states, Arkansas doesn’t specify how much notice a landlord must give. Nonetheless, they must still give a reasonable notice. And more often than not, it’s usually a 24 hours’ advance notice.
An exception to the notice requirement is in case of an emergency.
In addition to the advance notice requirement, your landlord must also have a legitimate reason for entry. Common reasons for landlord entry include the following.
- To inspect the property.
- To show the unit to prospective tenants or buyers.
- To respond to an emergency.
The entry must also be within normal business hours, or as agreed by both parties.
2. Using Self-help Methods
This is another way you can know your Arkansas landlord is harassing you. It’s illegal for a landlord to use a self-help method to get you to leave. Below are some examples.
- Shutting off utilities, such as sewer, running water, and heat during winter.
- Cutting off amenities that are promised in the lease agreement. For example, reassigning your parking spot or cutting the access you had to laundry services.
- Locking you out. Landlords are subject to penalties for taking such an action.
- Removing your belongings from the unit. The landlord must have your permission to take such an action. The only exception here is in case of an emergency.
If your landlord does any of these things, report them to relevant authorities right away.
3. Refusing to Make Repairs
Arkansas is one of the most landlord friendly states in the country. Among other things, landlords are able to rent out their properties “as-is.” Also, they are not generally responsible for making repairs unless the responsibility is expressly stated in the lease.
As such, you can only hold the landlord responsible for repairs if they have promised to do so under the lease agreement. The agreement can either be oral or written.
If promised in the lease, then the landlord must make the repairs within a reasonable period of time. Specifically, no later than 30 days after serving them with proper written notice.
4. Raising Rent Illegally
Arkansas doesn’t have a statewide rent control law. And because of this, landlords are able to charge whatever rent and raise it by whatever amount.
That said, it’d be illegal for a landlord to do any of the following in regards to raising rent.
- Raising rent during a lease term. The landlord must wait until the term is over to do so. The only exception here is if the lease allows it.
- Raising rent out of discrimination. The landlord must not raise rent to discriminate against you for your race, color, nationality, sex, familial status, or any other protected class.
- Raising rent in retaliation. For instance, because you joined a tenants’ organization to champion for tenants’ rights, or reported them to local government agencies for habitability issues.
In addition, the landlord must provide you with an advance notice depending on the length of your lease. If you’re renting on a month-to-month basis, the landlord must serve you a one-month notice.
5. Serving an Improper Notice
Arkansas landlord-tenant law requires landlords to serve tenants with proper notices for certain events. Including, entry, eviction, and even when looking to terminate your periodic lease.
For example, when it comes to evictions, the landlord must provide you the following eviction notices.
- 3-Day Notice to Quit to evict a tenant for Nonpayment of Rent.
- 30-Day Notice to Quit to evict a tenant on a month-to-month lease or one without a lease.
If your landlord doesn’t give you such notices, it could be considered harassment.
Other Examples of Landlord Harassment in Arkansas
In addition to the aforementioned, the following are other acts that can qualify as landlord harassment in Arkansas
- Verbal or physical threats
- Refusal by the landlord to accept a rent payment
- Filing of a false eviction against you
- Creation of a nuisance that is meant to disturb your peace
- Sexual harassment, such as crude remarks or making an obscene sexual advance
How to Report a Landlord for Harassment in Arkansas
The following are the steps to take if you believe your landlord has harassed you.
- Document the incidence. Also, keep all correspondences you’ve had with the landlord regarding the matter.
- Get in touch with the Arkansas Fair Housing Commission (AFHC). They will investigate the complaint and take relevant action against the landlord if they find they have a case to answer. You can contact the AFHC by dialing (501) 682-3247 or (800) 340-9108.
- Consider filing a lawsuit against your landlord. Consult with an attorney first to discuss your options.
You have a right to enjoy your rented premises in peace and quiet under Arkansas law. As such, it’s illegal for your landlord to harass or intimidate you so you can abandon your rented premises.
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.
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.