The Arkansas Eviction Process

Posted over 1 year ago. Applies to Arkansas, 1 helpful vote

Email

Whether you are a tenant or a landlord, the Arkansas eviction process is something with which you should be familiar. Arkansas is a landlord friendly state, and so tenants that do not pay their rent should expect little leniency throughout the process.

Regaining Possession

Arkansas law states that a tenant who fails to pay rent and refuses to comply with the landlord’s three day written notice to move is guilty of unlawful detainer.

Once the tenant becomes guilty of unlawful detainer, the landlord may file suit against the tenant in court. After being served with the suit, the tenant has five days to file a written answer.

If the tenant wishes to dispute the landlord’s claims and wants to remain living on the premises, he or she must include with the answer enough money to cover any rent amount due and must continue to pay rent into the court registry for the duration of the proceedings.

If the tenant fails to answer, pay the rent due, or both, the court may issue a writ of possession, giving the landlord the right to retake the property. The sheriff will serve the writ upon the tenant, thereby giving the tenant 24 hours to move. If the tenant fails to do so, the sheriff will forcibly remove the tenant. At that point, the landlord will have regained possession of the property.

An unlawful detainer action, however, is a two-step process, regaining possession being only the first step. Up to this point, the court has made a preliminary determination as to who has right to possession the property. The question of damages is left for step two.

Obtaining Compensation

The landlord may, but is not obligated to, continue onto step two to seek damages for backed rent. Often, a landlord will forego this step because a tenant with the money to pay rent likely would have already done so.

Nevertheless, individual circumstances vary, and sometimes landlords believe they have a good chance at recovering damages.

Landlords should be aware, however, that a tenant may dispute the claim of unlawful detainer and may even file a counterclaim. If the final court findings are for the tenant, the landlord will be held liable for damages the tenant suffered as a result of being evicted. While this is relatively uncommon, it is something to keep in mind.

Additional Resources

Related Blog Post

Rate this guide

Related Topics

Notice to vacate property

A notice to vacate is a written notice from a landlord telling a tenant to move by a certain date. Often you'll have 30 days to leave, but state laws vary.

Caspar S. Jivalagian

UNLAWFUL DETAINER GUIDELINE

A step-by-step approach to handling California Unlawful Detainer Actions NOTICE 3-Day-Notice to Cure or Quit: This notice is usually used when a tenant has failed to tender or if there is a... more

Landlord-tenant law

Landlord-tenant law is governed mostly by state laws, and covers issues like security deposit limits and deadlines, evictions, and the right to withhold rent.

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask a Lawyer

Get free answers from experienced attorneys.

 

Ask now

20,556 answers this week

2,596 attorneys answering