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The relationship between landlords and tenants involves several legal issues, and the resources in this section help you understand these issues.

What is the Residential Landlord Tenant Act of 2007?

The Residential Landlord-Tenant Act of 2007 is a statute the Arkansas legislature passed that seeks to simplify, clarify, and modernize the laws governing the rental of residential properties and the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants.  The statute determines what terms and conditions a rental agreement may include, such as rent and the term of the agreement.  It also provides the procedure to be followed if either a landlord or tenant breaches any terms of their respective lease agreement.

What is Required from a Tenant Under This Act?

The statute requires tenants to maintain the leased property in good condition.  It explicitly states tenants shall comply with housing codes, keep the property safe and clean, dispose of any garbage or waste in a reasonable manner, keep all plumbing fixtures reasonably clean, and other terms.  These can be found in Arkansas Code Annotated section 18-17-601.

What Must a Landlord Do to Evict Under This Act?

If a tenant violates their lease agreement, the landlord is required to provide a notice to the tenant specifying the acts of the tenant that constitute noncompliance with the lease.  This notice shall include language stating the lease will terminate in no less than fourteen (14) days after the tenant receives the notice if the noncompliance is not remedied before the fourteen days are up.  The time frame for this notice is shorter if the violation of the lease is nonpayment of rent.  If a tenant does not pay rent, then the landlord is required to only give five (5) days’ notice that the rental agreement will terminate.

If a tenant has been provided one of the notices above and does not remedy the situation within the required time, a landlord may then file a complaint for eviction.  If the complaint contains an affidavit from someone with knowledge of the reason for eviction, then the court will issue an order requiring the tenant to vacate or to “appear and show cause” why they should not be evicted within ten (10) calendar days after the order is served on the tenant.  A written answer or objection constitutes “appearance” for purposes of that order.

If the tenant makes no appearance within that time frame, the court will order the clerk to issue a writ of possession, which is a legal document that gives the landlord the right to possess the property again and requires the tenant to vacate.  A sheriff will serve the writ upon the tenant, and the tenant will then have twenty four (24) hours to vacate the premises. The sheriff will return following those twenty four hours, and if the tenant has not vacated, the sheriff will place the tenant under arrest.

If the tenant does make an appearance with the court within the ten days following service of the show cause order, the court will hold a hearing.  At that hearing, the landlord will offer testimony and evidence in an attempt to show how the tenant violated the lease agreement.  Contrarily, the tenant will have the opportunity to offer testimony and evidence as to why they have not violated the lease agreement.  The court will then make a determination and either 1) direct the clerk to issue the writ of possession, or 2) find that the tenant did not violate the lease and is lawfully entitled to remain there.  If the court finds in favor of the tenant, he or she may remain in the property until 1) the lease expires, either by its terms or by agreement; 2) failure to pay rent; or 3) eviction in another proceeding.


There are some living arrangements that do not fall under the purview of the Arkansas Residential Landlord-Tenant Act.  These include residency at an institution, whether public or private, for medical, geriatric, educational, counseling, religious, or other similar services; occupancy in a hotel, motel, or other lodging subject to any sales tax; residence at a protective shelter; and others.  The full list of excluded living arrangements can be found in the Arkansas Code Annotated section 18-17-202.