Last week, Senator Greg Leding and Representative Jay Robinson introduced SJR11, a joint resolution to create an amendment to the Arkansas Constitution if approved by Arkansas voters in 2022. The resolution would repeal Arkansas’s criminal eviction statute, require landlords to maintain premises, allow tenants of noncomplying landlords to withhold rent, sue to enforce, repair and deduct the repairs from their rent, or terminate the lease. It prohibits a landlord from retaliating against a tenant who exercises their rights under the amendment. It creates penalties for landlords who abuse access to rental premises, creates penalties for landlords who illegally evict tenants without a court order, and prevents landlords from raising rent without 60 days’ notice.
Although this resolution is not part of our legislative package, Arkansans for Stronger Communities supports SJR11 and the right of voters to have their say on this issue! SJR11 is one of 43 constitutional amendments introduced this session. The legislature is allowed to place only three on the Nov. 2022 ballot.
Although the odds of its enactment are slim, it’s an attempt to place the issue of minimum rental housing standards, which has overwhelming support, before the people.
ASC’s first bill, combining minimum rental standards with an eviction proceeding allowing every tenant a hearing, will be introduced early next week. If enacted it will become law. Get ready to contact legislators to urge its passage!