Lawmaker Calls For Change In Legislation After Arkansas Called ‘Worst State To Rent Home’

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FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) -- Arkansas has been called the worst place in America to rent a home.

Arkansas State Rep. Greg Leding, D-Fayetteville, said it is the only state in the country that does not equally protect landlords and their tenants.

"We are the only state that does not offer, or recognize, an implied warranty of habitability,” Leding said. "We are also the only state that criminalizes not being able to pay your rent the day it is due."

Leding said he wanted to make a changes in state laws so landlords would be required to provide basic necessities to their tenants.

"You should make sure the roof doesn't leak, that the doors lock, that you have floors, and reasonable amounts of hot water. We are not asking for a whole lot," Leding said.

Current state law does not require a landlord to provide those basic needs.

"We are one of the few states that doesn't have a tenant's bill of rights," Kit Williams, City Attorney for the City of Fayetteville, said. "Right now, Arkansas has chosen to pretty much be on the side of the landlord."

Williams said Arkansas is also one of the few states where failing to pay rent on time is criminalized.

"It is against the criminal law for someone to remain in a house and refuse to pay rent," he said.

Leding plans to work toward changing that as well.

"If they have a tenant who is not paying their rent, that is one thing, but if you are a working mom who just couldn't get her rent there on the first day of the month, or whenever it is due, I don't think you should come out of that situation with a criminal record," Leding said.

Leding said he plans to discuss these issues with the Landlords Association of Arkansas and then bring that discussion to the capitol.

“Because, if you are looking at these laws, [Arkansas] absolutely is [the worst place in the country to rent]," Leding said.

7 comments

  • Jeff Smithpeters

    Rent laws that favor the tenant can be a great draw for young people to remain in the state or even move here from other states. If young people are confident they’ll be living in a safe home which will be repaired in a timely fashion, that together with the low rents would be hard for the Mississippis and Louisianas to compete with.

    • The Patriot

      We don’t need people moving here from other states, especially the illegal immigrant and “refugee” variety.

  • Randy Ingle

    I support this attempt but perhaps we should also hold renters responsible for the damage they do to a property. The deposit rarely pays for restoring a rental.

    • flagratification

      Almost all rental agencies do, they require you to sign contracts that allows them to autodraft from your bank accounts, or put liens against you or your credit if it is needed. Deposits are nearly always required, and rarely paid back.

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