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Little Rock Tenants Call on City to Improve Rental Laws

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Dozens of renters across the Capital city took a stand Thursday night, calling for better housing laws and hoping to getting the attention of future city leaders.  

The meeting was hosted by the community organization, "Arkansas Renters United." Organizers say the goal was to put the spotlight on the state's lack of housing protections for renters.

Several of  Little Rock's mayoral candidates were at the meeting. Organizers say they are trying to get the conversation started and hopefully make housing laws a priority when the new mayor takes. 

Tenants spoke about issues ranging from mold to wiring sparking fires inside their homes, but the one thing every speaker had in common was problems with landlords not fixing these concerns. 

LaJoy Person, who lives in Little Rock, says she was stuck living in an unsafe apartment but and kept footing the bill for repairs which she says property maintenance should have addressed. 

"I came from a neighborhood where there was gang violence back and forth and I didn't want my children to in that. When I moved, I was just so happy to move," she said. "I didn't know that I was getting in another dangerous situation just living in this house where they don't fix the issues, they just Band-aid it to make it look good."

Organizers are calling on Little Rock City leaders to tighten regulations and hold landlords accountable for unsafe living conditions. 

During the meeting, they listed six improvements the city could make.  That ranged from creating a "no retaliation ordinance" to protect renters who report problems, to adding more code enforcement officers dedicated to rental inspections.

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