LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A safe home isn’t guaranteed for renters in Arkansas, but a bill introduced in the Capitol Thursday aims to change that by requiring landlords to meet basic safety standards.
HB 1410 bill backed by Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R-Paragould), outlines a list of what is considered standard livable conditions. That includes ensuring a property has running hot and cold water, working electricity. and meets health and safety standards laid out under city code.
Currently, Arkansas is one of the only states without an “implied warranty or habitability.” That means landlords are not required to make repairs or ensure a rental home is in livable condition.
Renters rights advocates have been pushing for something protecting renters to be put in the books for years.
As Owner and Broker at Goss Management & Realty, Anika Dixon oversees hundreds of rental properties in the Capitol City. Before putting a property up for rent, Dixon says she considers what it would be like if her family had to move in.
“No matter the price limit, would I make this home? If you’re able to say yes that’s great, but if you’re hesitant then you need to reconsider,” Dixon explained.
Dixon says she has a checklist of what she ensures a property has, including working door locks, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and working HVAC systems.
In her nearly 20 years experience, Dixon says she has come across some landlords who don’t consider basic safety standards.
“There are some that I know that are taking advantage of innocent people that are needing a good solid roof over their head,” Dixon said. “As fellow humans, we should not take advantage of them.”
The bill would also set a timeline for landlords to make reported repairs.
There are also protections for landlords. The bill outlines what’s considered the damage caused by a renter and protects an owner from having to fix that.
The full bill can be read by clicking here.