The Landlord Protection Act, Arkansas Code § 18-17-101 et seq.
By William Prettyman · October 11, 2008 · 2008 Ark. L. Notes
In categories: Property Law, Real Estate Law
In the last legislative session the Legislature passed, apparently with little discussion or criticism, what is alleged to be a new landlord-tenant act. As will be detailed in this article the act would better be titled “The Landlord Protection Act.” The Residential Landlord and Tenant Act of 2007 is another, and particularly glaring example of how powerless tenants are in this state and the strength of the Realtors’ lobby acting on behalf of landlords. Arkansas already had the unique distinction of being the only state where it is a crime not to pay your rent. The statute, section 18-16-101, a relic of the 1900s, remains in place in spite of judicial and scholarly criticism, and indeed was strengthened in the 2001 Legislative session. Tenants are now subject to jail time as well as fines. At a time when the national trend is to increase landlord liability for accidents on the premises, Arkansas in the 2005 Legislative session not only reaffirmed the common law limitations on landlord liability, but arguably extended them. Finally, in 2006, Alabama announced with some fanfare that it had passed a warranty of habitability statute, so it would not be one of only two states not recognizing the concept. That leaves Arkansas as the only state where landlords do not have to maintain their residential rental units to at least minimal standards.