Slingerland 
Member since Jun 4, 2010

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Stuck at home on Tylenol 3 and antibiotics

Updated on June 8, 2010 at 1:18 PM

Recent Comments

Re: “Landlord-tenant bill gets a rough ride. Arkansas remains worst in country

@Amy... a flooded apartment? Sparking wires? Hmmm... sounds like a real-world example in my testimony earlier today :) .

But a VERY good question for DHS... and if asked, they'll probably not answer.

6 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Slingerland on 03/18/2015 at 10:29 PM

Re: “Landlord-tenant bill gets a rough ride. Arkansas remains worst in country

@JD: "What can be done to quickly remedy this situation so as not to bankrupt fair business people over a lack of a fair evict process??? I bet if landowners teamed up for some action , the state would respond a little quicker."

Nothing until the 2017 session. Good legislation takes time to bring together. And of the various players, the Realtors Association will have to be on board, or as today's vote showed, the bill would be dead.

Jason Pederson had an interesting comment on KATV tonight. According to followthemoney.org, the 17 Representatives who voted down HB1486 all took money form the Realtors Association.

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Slingerland on 03/18/2015 at 10:00 PM

Re: “Landlord-tenant bill gets a rough ride. Arkansas remains worst in country

JD, once again, the warranty issue was worked on by my group for two years; this was way before the Sixth Circuit decision two months ago.

I had been pushing my landlords association for YEARS to move away from Failure to Vacate and push for a streamlined, district court procedure. This was recommended in the 2012 commission report. But many landlords didn't want it, and for certain the Realtors didn't want it. Everybody was convinced we would never lose the FTV law.

Until we did of course. Now a lot of landlords are suddenly realizing that they should have been planning for an alternative. So, I'm not happy about the eviction situation, either.

But... just to make sure... Failure to Vacate and Warranty of Habitability are SEPARATE of each other. The timing was coincidental. And bad.

4 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Slingerland on 03/18/2015 at 9:26 PM

Re: “Landlord-tenant bill gets a rough ride. Arkansas remains worst in country

To JD:

You’re misinterpreting the quote of mine that you copied above. And maybe that’s my fault, I probably didn’t type clearly. So let me try to clarify.

First the eviction problem. I was part of the 2012 commission to study landlord tenant laws. The criminal eviction law was clearly unconstitutional after a 2001 change that required a tenant to post the rent amount owed as bond in order to plead not guilty. In a criminal trial, the defendant CANNOT be required to pay a fine or damages before pleading. That would be admitting guilt before pleading not guilty.

I went to all the chapters in my organization warning them we needed to move forward and fix the eviction issue before the criminal eviction was overturned. They chose not to do so. And as we know, Judge Wright killed it in the Sixth Circuit, and Judge Wright is NOT a liberal.

Bart Hester has run SB904 to roll the law change back to before the 2001 issue; the earlier version was found to be constitutional in the 1989 Duhan v. State trial. (I was told his bill died in committee, but I haven’t gotten confirmation yet.)

No other state had a criminal eviction procedure ever. No other state has a “free” eviction. But I agree, we need a streamlined system like many other states (Florida for example) has. Using the unlawful detainer law in Arkansas is cumbersome and expensive, and that expense will be passed onto the other tenants.

To warranty: as a percentage, we all know the percentage of slumlords is low. And they tend to be on the low-income side of the rental business. But does that mean we have to tolerate them? We have common sense laws to protect our water and food; should we not have a basic warranty to ensure that we don’t have to worry about the roof falling in? The floor falling out? The electrical not being a fire hazard?

I believe so. I charge top-of-the-market rent, but I also provide houses that are better than code. I promised my wife years ago that I would not have a house she would be ashamed of, or a house she would feel unsafe going to. That’s my “agenda”: doing right by my customers.

But while 49 other states have a warranty of habitability, Arkansas does not. Yet the landlords in the other states somehow stay in business.

Last, as far as Obama is concerned, I doubt any regular poster here would consider me to be an Obama supporter ;) .

7 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Slingerland on 03/18/2015 at 5:51 PM

Re: “Landlord-tenant bill gets a rough ride. Arkansas remains worst in country

JD,

The tenant can sue in the event of a life-threatening situation where they want to stay in the house and require the landlord to make the repair. And in a similar vein, if the landlord refuses to repair anything that materially affects health and safety, the tenant can give landlord a lease termination and move.

Note: this only works in cases of safety, not because there's a stain on the carpet.

In regards to housing, to be honest I'm pretty much in agreement with you that the local Housing Authority is often mired in politics and doesn't give a whit about the landlord's side. I don't take subsidized housing either.

And as far as evictions, that's an entire subject by itself... but the loss of Failure to Vacate is a major reason rents have shot up 10% in Pulaski and Perry counties. Evictions cost money and (like shoplifting) that cost gets covered by the other tenants.

8 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Slingerland on 03/18/2015 at 4:42 PM

Re: “Landlord-tenant bill gets a rough ride. Arkansas remains worst in country

To JDfromLR.

Where in the bill does it state the tenant can break something then enjoy rent-free months? Please tell me the chapter and line, if you can.

But since I "only" helped write it, let me quote something: page 3, lines 12-17:
(d) This section does not:
(1) Excuse a tenant from paying rent or prevent a landlord from exercising any remedy upon the tenant's material noncompliance with the rental agreement; or
(2) Provide a tenant a right to offset rent as a remedy for a landlord's failure to comply with this section.

In other words, the TENANT MUST CONTINUE TO PAY RENT.

Perhaps YOU should read it...

13 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Slingerland on 03/18/2015 at 3:13 PM

Re: “Landlord-tenant bill gets a rough ride. Arkansas remains worst in country

I had the privilege of presenting the bill with Representative Leding, and with Lynn Foster of the UALR Law School. As Max said, my organization supported the bill, and I had helped write it.

It was a "tough crowd", to say the least. I was proud of the bill: two years of my life working to write it, to bring it to the legislature. I saw the bill as bi-partisan, centrist, common sense legislation that respected my right to make a profit with a tenant's right to be safe.

But the bill was perceived as a "liberal" bill in a very conservative legislature, and it was an uphill fight. It is very sad to say, but it may be the only way to get a warranty of habitability in Arkansas would be to find the most egregious example and sue in Circuit Court. That's how the Failure to Vacate ("criminal" eviction) was finally overturned.

This won't change my business model: I'll take care of my places. And so will the majority of landlords. But the slumlords will keep doing what they do, too.

Howard Warren

22 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Slingerland on 03/18/2015 at 12:31 PM

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