Some lawmakers want to see changes to tenant laws in Arkansas.
After our previous investigation into claims of Beechwood Village Apartments over-charging students, we received several emails voicing similar concerns at several different complexes in Fayetteville.
We take a deeper look into tenant laws and tell you how to protect yourself.
A former renter at Beechwood and a local lawmaker believe current laws in Arkansas definitely are not in favor of the tenant.
Democratic Representative Greg Leding of District 86 believes Arkansas has some of the worst tenant laws in the country.
Apartment landlords are not required to provide air conditioning.The building does not have to be up to safety standards.
Leding said these are just a couple of examples of actual tenant laws in Arkansas.
“Tenants essentially have no rights in our state. We’re the only state without a warranty of habitability, which means a negligent landlord can rent you a place that he knows to be unsafe. We’re also the only state in the country where you could be thrown in jail for failing to pay your rent the day it’s due,” Leding said.
Hannah Ash used to live at Beechwood Village Apartments.
She said she was hit with nearly $3,000 in fees for cleaning and repairs after moving out.
“You start realizing how much you’re paying extra for, and I lived in a four bedroom by myself and they are charging me 100 dollars in electric when its supposed to be included in the rent,” Ash said,
Ash worked with an attorney and claims she sent a letter to Beechwood saying she would not pay the fees because it violated her contract.
She said she never heard from Beechwood again, and she never paid a dime.
Leding thinks We need to protect tenants from negligent landlords who take advantage of them by slapping on unnecessary fees.
It’s a story he sees all too often.
He proposed legislation in 2015 and 2017 to improve tenant rights.
“What we need do is create some basic protections for tenants to make sure they are guaranteed livable spaces,” Leding said,
His legislation did not pass either time, but Leding is still determined.
In the meantime, he said try not to get swindled.
“I would encourage every tenant to read very closely their lease agreement, make sure there are no hidden fees anything that they’re not going to agree to before you sign that lease,” Leding said.
We reached out to Beechwood Village Apartments and still have not heard back.
Leding said he plans to propose legislation for a third time in 20-19 with the goal of protecting renters in Arkansas.