Breaking a lease early can mean a significant loss of money, as you’ll lose your stable income. However, as a landlord in Arkansas, you must know the regulations regarding early termination. This, along with a sound understanding of landlord-tenant laws, can save you from a lot of headaches in the long run.

To help you, this guide will cover everything a landlord needs to know ending a lease early in Arkansas!

Lease Agreement in Arkansas

The best way to keep a premises protected at all times is by drafting a solid lease agreement. Additionally, before signing the lease agreement, ensure that a tenant is aware of the penalties for terminating the lease early unjustifiably.

In the state of Arkansas, renters are required to give at least 30 days’ written notice if they’re planning to break their lease early. It’s your responsibility, as the landlord, to let your tenant know this, along with the justified reasons they can have for early lease termination.

What’s more, it’s important that a landlord add a subletting clause to all their written leases. In Arkansas, renters don’t have the right to sublease by default. Instead, they need explicit, written consent from the landlord to do so. If the landlord is willing to let a tenant sublet their property, they must state it in the rental lease.

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Unjustified Reasons to Break a Lease in Arkansas

Arkansas renters are legally allowed to break their lease early under certain circumstances. However, the reasons below don’t provide enough justification to release a tenant from their written lease agreement:

  • They purchased their first home
  • The renter is upgrading or downsizing
  • The resident is moving for school or a new job
  • The tenant is moving in with a partner
  • The tenant is moving to be closer to family

Terminating a lease early for any of these reasons could result in the landlord keeping the security deposit or even suing the tenant for damages.

Justified Reasons to Break a Lease in Arkansas

Knowing which are the justified reasons for a tenant to break a lease legally in your state goes a long way. Not only can it prevent legal disputes, but it can help the landlord improve their relationship with renters. Below are the justified reasons for termination of a lease in the state of Arkansas:

Active Military Duty

Renters who are active service members and are relocated due to deployment or change in station can break the lease legally. However, to do so, they must be an active-duty member of the military, reserve, or National Guard, receive a permanent change of station order or a deployment order for at least 90 days, and prove they signed the written lease before entering active duty.

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However, even after providing their landlord with proper written notice and this documentation, the earliest a tenant can terminate their lease is 30 days after the beginning of the next rent period.

Early Termination Clause

Adding this clause to a lease can provide legal grounds both the landlord and their renters to break the lease if needed. While it’s not required by law to add a termination clause to an agreement, it can greatly improve the relationship with renters and help a landlord keep their investment protected. The tenant is usually only require to provide proper notice to the landlord.

Domestic Violence

In the state of Arkansas, tenants who are victims of domestic violence have the right to terminate their lease without penalties. However, they must provide their landlords with documentation of the stalking or abuse from a qualified party, as well as a copy of a court-issued document.

Uninhabitable Living Conditions

Keeping your rental unit in safe and sanitary conditions is essential. In Arkansas, this means providing at least:

  • Clean, running water
  • Running electricity
  • A functioning roof
  • Hot and cold air
  • A sanitary sewage system

Landlords have 30 days to make repairs or solve any issues that affect the livability of their unit. If they don’t do it, tenants can go ahead and break the lease.

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Tenant Death

In Arkansas, a renter’s kin can break a lease if the tenant dies before the end of the lease or rental agreement after providing written notice. If necessary, the tenant’s family will be responsible for paying any past-due rent and damages exceeding normal wear and tear.

Harassment

As a landlord, you must always respect your tenant's privacy. The following actions can be considered landlord harassment and can be enough justification for tenants to break their lease:

  • Entering without notice. Landlords must provide at least 24 hours' notice before entering rental properties.
  • Constructive eviction. Landlords cannot remove or block exterior windows or doors, turn off utilities, or change the locks without letting tenants know. This type of behavior doesn’t constitute a legal eviction.
  • Engaging in discrimination. Failing to comply with the Fair Housing Act can qualify as landlord harassment.

Mental or Physical Disability

An Arkansas tenant can terminate a lease early because of mental or physical disabilities. Once landlords receive written notice for early lease termination, they must terminate the lease, or else they’d be breaching the Fair Housing Act.

Retaliation

Arkansas landlords are legally allowed to retaliate against tenants with measures such as raising the rent or refusing to renew a lease. However, if a landlord retaliates against a tenant for reporting lead hazards on the property, the tenant can legally break the lease early.

Bottom Line

It’s crucial that you know the justified and unjustified reasons for early lease termination in your state. This knowledge can greatly help you keep your investment protected in case a tenant ever wants to end their lease early.

Need help managing your rentals? Contact Pro X Property Management - Bentonville today! With over a decade of experience, we know how to keep your property protected.

Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided in this blog is intended for general guidance and should not be considered as a replacement for professional legal advice. It is important to be aware that laws pertaining to management may change, rendering this information outdated by the time you read it.