Arkansas Eviction Law

••• Arkansas state contour against blurred USA flag image by Stasys Eidiejus from Fotolia.com

Arkansas law has some significant and unusual features. One difference is that a landlord can end a tenancy at any time without reason by giving notice. Another difference is that as well as the civil process for forcing an eviction, a landlord in a case of unpaid rent can instigate a criminal process that may mean fines for a tenant who refuses to leave a property.

Reasons

Unlike many states, Arkansas does not require the landlord to have a particular reason to evict a tenant. The landlord can instead end a lease simply by giving the appropriate notice as stated in the lease agreement. With an oral agreement, the landlord must give notice of one rental period. This means, for example, that if the tenant pays monthly, the landlord must give one month's notice.

Eviction Without Standard Notice

A landlord can only evict a tenant without giving the standard notice to end the lease in the event of nonpayment of rent or a breach of the lease. With non-payment of rent, the landlord can give notice that the tenant pay the rent within five days or become liable for eviction. With a breach of the lease that can be remedied, the landlord can give notice that the tenant remedy the breach within 14 days or become liable for eviction.

Eviction Process

Once the tenant becomes liable for eviction (whether because the lease has ended or the tenant has failed to comply with notice for unpaid rent or a lease breach), the landlord has two options for forcing an eviction.

Unlawful Detainers

This option is a civil process and can be used in any situation where the tenant is liable to eviction. The landlord must give notice that the tenant has three days to leave the property. After this, the landlord can file a court complaint that will result in a summons to the tenant. If the tenant does not request a hearing within five days of receiving the summons or if the hearing rules against them, the court sheriff can forcibly evict the tenant.

Failure to Vacate

This is a criminal process and can only be used in cases of unpaid rent. The landlord must issue a specific notice giving the tenant 10 days to leave the property. After this 10 days, the tenant will face misdemeanor charges for remaining in the property and can be fined $25 each day until leaving.