As a landlord in Arkansas, you must know the rules and regulations when it comes to tenants breaking a lease.
In this article, we will cover unjustified and justified reasons for early lease termination, so that you will be well informed when it comes to the rights of you and your tenants.
Rental Agreement in Arkansas
Having a clear rental agreement is essential. When your tenant signs their lease, it is your responsibility to make sure that they are aware of the penalties for unjustifiably breaking a lease, and that they are aware of their rights for justifiably breaking a lease.
Your rental agreement should also include how much notice a tenant must give when ending their periodic lease in Arkansas. In the state of Arkansas, your tenant must give you the following notice:
1. Arkansas tenants are mandated to provide written notice when they terminate a lease. The number of days for the notice will depend on the lease term. Tenants may deliver the termination notice either in person or by certified mail or registered mail.
2. Arkansas tenants who rent on a weekly basis are required to provide 7 days’ notice. For a monthly lease term, tenants should provide 30 days’ notice. It’s important to note that tenants in Arkansas are not required to provide notice for fixed end-date leases, because the lease will automatically expire on the last day of the lease.
- You should also include your responsibility as a landlord to re-rent the unit. Under Arkansas state law, landlords are not required to take reasonable steps to re-rent their unit when a tenant breaks their lease. Landlords in Arkansas do not have to attempt to rent their property as soon as the tenant moves out before the lease term ends.
Unjustified Reasons to Break a Lease in Arkansas
- The tenant bought a house.
- The tenant is relocating for a new job or school.
- The tenant is upgrading or downgrading.
- The tenant is moving in with a partner.
- The tenant is relocating to be near family.
Any of the reasons listed above are not enough reasons to break a lease and provide no legal protection against penalties for not honoring the lease. If the tenant wants to end the lease for any of these reasons, they should ask the landlord for mutual termination.
Justified Reasons to Break a Lease in Arkansas
As a landlord in Arkansas, you must know the justified reasons for a tenant to break a lease early. Below, you will find justified reasons for early termination of a lease.
Early Termination Clause
Landlords in Arkansas have the right to allow your tenants to terminate the lease before the term ends in exchange for a penalty fee. It’s important to include this clause in the rental agreement, including the amount of fees and the required number of days for the notice.
Active Military Duty
If your tenant became an active member of the military, they might be allowed to break the lease earlier than the end of the lease term in case they are relocated due to deployment or a permanent change of station.
Active service members are protected from their obligation for the lease starting on the date of entering duty until between 30 to 90 days after the date of discharge.
To be eligible for this relief act, the following conditions should be met:
- The lease must have been signed before the tenant enters active duty.
- The tenant should remain on active duty for the next 90 days or more.
- The tenant should deliver a written notice to the landlord together with a copy of the orders to deploy or Permanent Change of Station (PCS), or a letter signed by the commanding officer stating their pending deployment.
Violation of Privacy
As a landlord, it’s important to respect your tenants’ privacy. Knowing the law can help you avoid committing any violation.
According to Arkansas law, there is no specific amount of notice required for a landlord to enter the property. Also, tenants are not allowed to unreasonably withhold consent for a landlord to enter the rental unit.
Also, in Arkansas, there is no statute on lockouts. Tenants are not allowed to change locks on the premises without the permission of the landlord.
Under Arkansas law, tenants who are victims of domestic violence are provided with protection with special rental provisions, including the following:
As a landlord in Arkansas, you cannot lawfully refuse to rent to potential tenants, or terminate their lease, just because they are victims of domestic violence.Tenants who are victims of domestic violence can be allowed to change the locks at their own expense.
Keep in mind that as a landlord in Arkansas, you have the right to verify the claim of domestic violence status. You can require your tenants to provide a copy of the restraining order.
Violation of the Lease Agreement
As a landlord, you should comply with the provisions of the landlord-tenant law and the rental agreement. Any violation may be considered sufficient justification for your tenants to pre-terminate the lease. If you violate the Fair Housing Act, your tenant may have grounds to break the lease early.
Senior Citizen or Health Issue
Age-related or health-related pre-termination arrangements may be applicable. Tenants who have legal disabilities can also request early termination as a reasonable accommodation under the Fair Housing Act.
Uninhabitable property: Arkansas is the only state that does not have specific health and safety codes for landlords to follow. The Arkansas law does not provide minimum standards for rental properties.
Now you are well-versed when it comes to breaking a lease in Arkansas! If you have any questions, please reach out to us today. We are a leading property management company in Fayetteville and have years of experience working with landlords and investors. We’d love to work with you too! Contact Keyrenter Arkansas at 479-662-1800.