If a landlord in Arkansas owns 6 or more properties or has an agent, such as a property manager, collect rent on their behalf, then the security deposit law applies to them.
Landlords who do not meet this qualification are not covered and the law does not apply. Here are the key points of the law that you’ll want to know.
1. There Is a 2x Monthly Rent Maximum That Can Be Charged.
This means if a single family home is being rented out at $1,000 per month, the maximum security deposit for that home would be $2,000.
The amount being requested should be placed in writing within the context of a rental agreement.
2. Landlords Have 60 Days To Return a Security Deposit.
A landlord does not need to give a security deposit back at the same time a move-out occurs.
An itemized list of any deductions is required, along with the amount being refunded, within 60 days if the landlord is covered by the law.
If not covered by the law, a tenant may need to make a demand for their security deposit.
3. Sometimes a Landlord Can Keep An Entire Security Deposit.
Tenants have 180 days to make a demand for their security deposit if it has not been received. If they do not make this demand, then a landlord may be able to keep the full amount.
The issue here is that if a landlord does not return a deposit with an itemized list, a tenant can sue in small claims court for 2x the deposit amount plus reasonable attorney’s fees.
4. Wear And Tear Is Not Charged To a Security Deposit.
What constitutes “normal” wear and tear is usually reflective of the type of damage that occurs.
One person puts less wear and tear on a carpet than 7 people and 2 dogs.
If there are dog scratches in the carpet that expose the padding, this may be considered damage. If there are just heavy wear patterns, they may not be considered damage.
The Arkansas security deposit law is designed to protect landlords from needless and costly damage to their property while giving tenants an insurance policy against the unexpected.
Remember that a tenant can be evicted for damages because of unreasonable use, even if the damage was caused accidentally, and that may allow a landlord to keep a security deposit and sue for repairs.
Because of this, if you have specific questions that are not covered in this guide, it is best to seek out professional legal assistance.