I get a lot of calls from both landlords and tenants wanting to know whether they are allowed to do something or are prohibited from doing something. The first thing I always ask is, “what does your lease say?” Whether you are a landlord or a tenant you should “get it in writing” that is, you should always have a written lease.
Most problems arise between landlords and tenants because the parties don’t clearly understand what their rights and responsibilities are. If the terms of the rental agreement are clearly written out in an easy to understand lease, and if each party has a copy of the lease, it is much easier to resolve disputes when they come up. For instance, if the lease says that rent is due on the first and late after the fifth of the month, the tenant knows that they have to have the rent in no later than the fifth. Or if the lease says “no pets allowed” the tenant knows Fido or Fluffy are not welcome.
A lease should at a minimum set out: (1) who the landlord is and who the tenants are; (2) how long the tenant(s) will have possession of the rental property; (3) the date rent is due; (4) the amount of rent due and where and how it is to be paid; (5) who is responsible for maintaining the property and/or repairs; (6) any rules the tenant must follow; and (7) the consequences for violating the lease.
If there is no written lease, then the landlord and tenant are left with looking to Arkansas state law and any local codes or ordinances when determining their rights.
If you need assistance drafting a lease or reviewing a lease, feel free to contact our office by clicking here or calling (501) 960-6060.