Arkansas Late Fees, Termination for Nonpayment of Rent, and Other Rent Rules

Learn Arkansas rent rules, including notice landlords must give tenants to raise the rent or end the tenancy for nonpayment of rent.

By , Attorney · UC Berkeley School of Law

Your lease or rental agreement should spell out your landlord's key rent rules, including:

  • the amount of rent (there are no limits to how much a landlord can charge in Arkansas)
  • where rent is due (such as by mail to the landlord's business address)
  • when rent is due (including what happens if the rent due date falls on a weekend date or holiday)
  • how rent should be paid (usually check, money order, cash, or credit card)
  • the amount of notice landlords must provide to increase rent
  • the amount of any extra fee if your rent check bounces, and
  • the consequences of paying rent late, including late fees and termination of the tenancy.

State laws in Arkansas cover several of these rent-related issues, including the amount of notice a landlord must provide to increase rent under a month-to-month tenancy, and how much time a tenant has to pay rent or move before a landlord can file for eviction.

Arkansas Rules on Late Fees

Rent is legally due on the date specified in your lease or rental agreement (usually the first of the month). Arkansas state law does not address late fees, so Arkansas landlords can charge a reasonable late fee if its terms are laid out in a written lease or rental agreement. If your lease or rental agreement doesn't say anything about late fees, your landlord can't impose one, no matter how reasonable it is.

Amount of Notice Arkansas Landlords Must Give Tenants to Increase Rent

Arkansas does not have a state statute on the amount of notice the landlord must provide tenants in order to increase the rent or change other terms of a month-to-month rental agreement. Unless your rental agreement specifies otherwise, the landlord must typically provide the same amount of notice to change the rent or another term of the tenancy as state law requires the landlord to provide when ending the tenancy—in this case, 30 days. Keep in mind that if you have a long-term lease, the landlord can't increase the rent until the lease ends and a new tenancy begins—unless the lease itself provides for an increase.

Rent Increases as Retaliation or Discrimination

Arkansas landlords may not raise the rent in a discriminatory manner—for example, only for members of a certain race. Also, Arkansas landlords may not use a rent increase in retaliation against you for exercising a legal right—for example, in response to your legitimate complaint to a local housing agency about a broken heater.

Arkansas State Laws on Termination for Nonpayment of Rent

Landlords must follow specific rules and procedures for ending a tenancy when a tenant has not paid the rent. Arkansas landlords can use unconditional quit notices to terminate a tenancy for nonpayment of rent—this means that the landlord doesn't have to give the tenant a second chance to pay rent.

Arkansas has two ways for landlords to evict a tenant who doesn't pay rent: a civil process called "unlawful detainer" and a criminal process called "failure to vacate." The unlawful detainer process is used more often than failure to vacate.

  • Unlawful detainer (civil eviction): When an Arkansas tenant fails to pay rent on the due date, the landlord must wait five days. If the rent isn't paid within five days of the due date, the landlord has the right to terminate the tenancy by giving the tenant an unconditional notice to quit. (Ark. Code Ann. § 18-17-901 (2021).) The unconditional notice to quit must give the tenant three days to leave. If the tenant doesn't leave after the three days have passed, the landlord can file an unlawful detainer suit. (Ark. Code Ann. § 18-60-304 (2021).)
  • Failure to vacate (criminal eviction): If the tenant fails to pay rent on the due date, the landlord can pursue criminal charges against the tenant. The landlord must give the tenant a 10 days' notice in writing to leave the rental. If the tenant doesn't leave during this time, the tenant is guilty of a misdemeanor. If the tenant is convicted, the court can fine the tenant no more than $25 for each day the tenant remains in the rental after the notice has expired. (Ark. Code Ann. § 18-16-101 (2021).)

For an overview of landlord-tenant laws in Arkansas, see Overview of Landlord-Tenant Laws in Arkansas.

See the Laws and Legal Research section of Nolo for advice on finding and reading statutes and court decisions.

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