The Arkansas REALTORS® Association (ARA) has been long respected as the authority of real estate in Arkansas with specialized knowledge of all facets of the real estate industry. The ARA advocates for tenants, as well as landlords, by ensuring that complete information concerning proposed legislation, regulations, and laws affecting the real estate industry is shared to promote a fair process. The result of this involvement by the ARA promotes compliance and fairness for both tenants and landlords.
Ensuring that all sides of a real estate transaction are adequately protected and informed is a primary goal of the ARA. In 2001, the ARA worked with the Arkansas General Assembly to create the Arkansas Fair Housing Commission. The Arkansas Fair Housing Commission works with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development to enforce fair housing rules and regulations. Specifically, ACT 1785 guarantees Arkansans the opportunity to obtain housing and other real estate without discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, or familial status.
Additionally, the ARA published The Arkansas Landlord/Tenant Handbook, a comprehensive guide for tenants and landlord,s that explains the rights of tenants and the responsibilities of landlords. Some key points include:
- Contact information for all state agencies that provide rent subsidies and legal aid support.
- The laws, rights, and remedies for both landlords and tenants relating to breaking the terms of the lease and other provisions of occupancy.
The ARA provides this information in order to help tenants and landlords navigate these situations in a productive manner while minimizing legal fees for both parties. While at times engaging the legal system is necessary, costs for all parties can be kept lower if terms of the separation agreement or remedies to correct other deficiencies can be negotiated cordially and independently of the courts.
Tenants in Arkansas enjoy some of the lowest rental rates in the nation for housing exhibiting good standards of habitability. The ARA seeks to maintain this attractive status by keeping landlords abreast of current events in the industry that could impact the rates, taxes, and fees associated with property ownership.
The ARA closely monitors initiatives that could increase insurance rates or cause landlords to unfairly pay legal fees. Knowing that these hard costs will be passed to the tenants clearly positions the ARA’s advocacy for landlords’ and tenants’ rights.
This balance of advocacy for landlord/tenant issues has served the landlords and the tenants of our state well for many years. As plaintiff attorneys seek to push questions to the courts, the association works tirelessly to provide both sides with the information they need to settle disputes out of the courts, thereby keeping both landlords’ costs and tenants’ rents lower.
Local Market Advocacy and Promotion
The ARA asserts that a “one-size fits-all” approach to real estate law is not necessarily the best course of action. The ARA supports local option rules for cities and communities and opposes attempts by state government that are not in the best interests of the overall industry.
Ensuring that all Arkansans have access to safe, clean and affordable rent options is a priority for the ARA. Open-ended liability legislation puts this mission at risk as landlords will be subject to increased legal expenses and insurance costs. While the ARA understands that legal remedies are at times necessary, the questions of how these remedies are pursued are best handled by the municipalities themselves, not the state.
For more information or to download a copy of the Landlord/Tenant handbook go to: 2014 Landlord/Tenant Handbook, or contact us at 888-333-2206.