WEB EXTRA: Fighting for renters’ rights

FOX24

"Arkansas law is unbalanced"

ARKANSAS (KFTA) — In July 2018, Arkansas Community Organizations launched Arkansas Arkansas Renters United (ARU).

The goal of the statewide renter’s group is to fight for balanced landlord-tenant laws so that renters have rights and protections.

“To guarantee safe and healthy housing and create more housing opportunities for renters,” said Neil Sealy with Arkansas Renters United.

Sealy said ARU is fighting for basic rights he believes renters should already have.

“Things like plumbing that works, heating and cooling that works, floors that are sound, a roof that is sound, no moisture in the walls that creates mold,” Sealy said.

Using a private Facebook group, ARU organizes tenants from around the state who live or have lived under a cruel landlord. Their stories are shared with lawmakers in hopes of changing the structure of landlord-tenant relations in the Natural State.

Sealy said the Facebook group is private out of fear of retaliation by landlords.

“We know of many instances where renters have been threatened by their landlord if they call city codes or if they complain too much,” Sealy said.

In upcoming legislative sessions, ARU plans to challenge the Arkansas REALTORS® Association (ARA), which has lobbyists based in Little Rock.

Some Lawmakers claim effective lobbying by the ARA in the past has prevented laws that would have improved rights for the renter from being passed.

“It doesn’t seem to matter whether it’s democrats or republicans or their working together, Arkansas REALTORS® Association is able to stop them each time,” said Sen. Greg Leding (D), who represents Arkansas’ fourth congressional district.

The ARA declined to answer questions regarding the creation of ARU, but did provide the following statement:

The Arkansas REALTORS® Association has worked tirelessly for several sessions to find legislation that helps good tenants and does not hurt good landlords. We will continue to work to support policy that benefits all Arkansans.

Arkansas REALTORS® Association

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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