Most residential leases and rental agreements in Arkansas require a security deposit. This is a dollar amount, usually one month's rent, that's intended to cover damage to the premises beyond normal wear and tear, and to cushion the financial blow if a tenant skips out early on the lease without paying. Here’s a summary of Arkansas landlord-tenant laws that cover the use and return of security deposits.
Does Arkansas law limit how much a landlord can charge a tenant for a security deposit?
Yes. Under Arkansas landlord-tenant laws, a landlord may charge a tenant the equivalent of two months' rent for the security deposit.
To learn more about steps that tenants can take to protect their security deposit after they've paid it, check out Nolo's article Protect Your Security Deposit When You Move In.
What about when a tenant moves out? What is the deadline in Arkansas for returning a security deposit?
Under Arkansas law, a landlord must return the tenant's security deposit with an itemized statement of deductions within 60 days after the tenant has moved out.
Learn more about tenants' rights and landlords' obligations when it comes to the return of the security deposit in Nolo's chart Cleaning and Repairs a Landlord Can Deduct from a Security Deposit and Nolo's article Get Your Security Deposit Back.
Is there additional information that Arkansas landlords must provide to tenants when it comes to security deposits in Arkansas?
Not at the state level in Arkansas. But be sure to check your local (county, city, or town) laws to see if your municipality requires landlords to take additional steps when it comes to tenants' security deposits.
Are there are any exemptions to Arkansas security deposit rules?
Yes. The law does not apply to landlords who own five or fewer rental units, unless these units are managed by a third party for a few. Arkansas security deposit law also does not apply to employees of the landlord, such as a manager, whose right to occupancy is conditioned upon employment in and about the premises.
Where can I look up Arkansas law on security deposits?
If you want to go right to the source and look up Arkansas law on security deposits -- or if you're writing a letter to your landlord or tenant and want to cite the applicable law -- the relevant statute(s) can be found at Arkansas Code Annotated §§ 18-16-303 to 18-16-305. Your city or county might have different landlord-tenant and security deposit laws than those at the state level in Arkansas. For tips on looking up Arkansas state and local laws, check out Nolo's State Laws & Legal Research section.
You can also find useful information in the state tenant guides (see http://gotyourbackarkansas.org/home/landlordtenant-rights-guide/).