LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- The state General Assembly created a commission back in 2011 to examine Arkansas' Landlord-tenant laws, and the commission has returned with a full report on their findings.
The Non-Legislative Commission spent nine months studying the landlord-tenant laws, and the resulting report called existing laws in the state "significantly out of balance" and proposed 15 major reforms.
Commission member and UALR William H. Bowen School of Law Professor Lynn Foster said "Tenants have fewer rights in Arkansas than in any other state."
She also said Arkansas is the only state in which it is actually a crime for a tenant to fail to pay rent, and landlords have no legal obligation to make sure properties leased to tenants are safe or livable.
"This can have serious consequences for the health and safety of Arkansas families who are completely without recourse under current law," Foster added.
The commission recommended reforms including repealing the failure-to-pay-rent law and creating streamlined civil eviction process. Other recommendations include changes that would bring existing law more in line with the Uniform Residential Landlord Tenant Act.
"There are good landlords out there who already voluntarily include many of these recommended protections in their lease agreements," said Commission Chair Stephen Giles. "If implemented, these reforms will not only put landlords and tenants on more equal footing, but also make it more difficult for unscrupulous landlords to compete with the good ones."
The findings will be discussed at a symposium at the UALR William H. Bowen School of Law on Feb. 1, 2013. Registration is free and open to the public, and will include CLE credits for attorneys who participate.
The full report can be found at www.arkansasjustice.org.