This bill is an attempt to make a uniform law apply to Arkansas. Though noted as legislation promoting a "warranty of habitability,” the language requiring that all premises are "safe" places a subjective, undefined and unattainable standard on landlords. The bill attempts to preserve existing tort law standards, but creates ambiguity that could increase expenses for landlords and, in turn, increase rents for tenants.
MYTH: This bill is an attempt to make a uniform law apply to Arkansas.
FACT: HB1486 is not based on the Uniform Residential Landlord Tenant Act, but instead was crafted by Arkansans for Arkansas. Drafters included a landlord, a tenant advocate, and experts on landlord-tenant law.
MYTH: The language requiring that all premises are "safe" places a subjective, undefined and unattainable standard on landlords.
FACT: The language of HB1486 only gives recourse to tenants when a landlord's failure to provide "safe" premises "materially affects health or safety." In other words, the problem has to pose a serious threat. This should not be an "unattainable" standard for any good landlord to meet.
MYTH: HB1486 creates ambiguity that could increase expenses for landlords and, in turn, increase rents for tenants.
FACT: Other states with implied warranties of habitability have comparable rental rates. Many states with such warranties explicitly provide for a tenant who prevails to recover attorney's fees. HB1486 does NOT provide for a tenant to sue for attorney's fees, nor does it impose any penalties. It simply allows the tenant to terminate the lease agreement or compel the landlord to uphold the terms of the rent agreement.
Please contact your legislator to help us set the record straight.
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