Arkansas is the only state make it a crime for a renter to be late in making a rent payment. Under the failure to vacate statute, a tenant who is even one day late on a rent payment forfeits any security deposit or prepaid rent and can be convicted of a crime. Several courts have found the law to be unconstitutional, and Senate Bill 25 is an attempt to keep this a crime in Arkansas. Here are just a few more reasons why this bill would make for bad law:
- SB25 doesn’t even give courts the power to evict tenants. If a tenant misses a rent payment and refuses to leave, the only legal option available is to charge the tenant with more misdemeanor offenses.
- Arkansas treats all other contract disputes, like late mortgage or car payments, as civil matters.
- Prosecuting attorneys and law enforcement officials should be able to focus their resources on catching criminals, not enforcing private contracts.
- Taxpayers should not have to subsidize free lawyers for landlords who use criminal evictions.
Arkansas already has a civil eviction law in place. If landlords want easier, more effective procedures for evicting tenants who don’t pay, this is the law that should be amended. Call or email the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee TODAY to tell them to vote NO on Senate Bill 25:
Jeremy Hutchinson (Chair): 501-773-3760, Jeremy.Hutchinson@senate.ar.gov
Linda Collins-Smith (Vice Chair): 870-378-1434, firstname.lastname@example.org
Will Bond: 501-396-5400, email@example.com
Trent Garner: 870-818-9219, Trent.Garner@senate.ar.gov
Bryan King: 870-438-4565, firstname.lastname@example.org
Terry Rice: 479-637-3100, email@example.com
Greg Standridge: 479-968-1562, firstname.lastname@example.org
Gary Stubblefield: 479-635-4314, email@example.com