Arkansas Landlord Tenant Law: The Case for a Warranty of Habitability Regarding the Public’s Health Nate Willis II Presentation Agenda • • • • Background of Arkansas Tenant Law and Health Arkansas Renters and Health Outcomes Warranty of Habitability Implications for Health Warranty of Habitability Economical Implications • Policy Implications • Concluding Remarks Background • Currently evidence pertaining to housing Laws and Health does not exist for state of Arkansas. • Pro-tenant provisions to promote health and safety are void. • Historically, the warranty of habitability has a history for protecting health and safety of tenants. Renters and Health Outcomes • Historically low-income renters have not stood a chance to not only win, but never stood a chance to demonstrate their case for a landlord to provide habitable conditions in a court of law. • In Arkansas, there are thousands of third world housing unit conditions being leased that contribute to poor health outcomes across the state. • Out of the top 10 counties with the highest renter-occupied proportions, 7 of them received substantially poor health outcome rankings. Implications for Health • Current law does not require landlords to provide a habitable dwelling for protection against molds, insect infestations, toxic intrusions, and exposure from the elements. • Lack of the most basic facilities in leased housing units across the state contributes to the reported 51% of Arkansas families that encounter housing insecurity, which in turn affects their health. • Current law does not require landlords to maintain rental properties. Respiratory effects such as asthma, can be attributed to improper insulation and dampness from improper maintenance of housing units. Economical Implications • Evidence suggests that upkeep of residential tenement buildings can have a beneficial effect on a state’s economy. • Exertion of downward pressure on rents has a strong possibility to occur while increasing the supply of low-income housing. • An enforceable warranty of habitability can have positive implications to reduce health costs across the state. Policy Implications • Revision of Arkansas landlord-tenant law with an enforceable warranty of habitability may promote health and economic prosperity within the state. • Incorporating the warranty of habitability offers fairness and balance for both landlord and tenant in a revised Arkansas landlord-tenant law. • Positive unintended consequences of en enforceable warranty of habitability can be in effect with minimal effort or extra costs incurred to the state. Concluding Remarks • Arkansas has a relatively large proportion of renters in impoverished areas. • Low-income renters may face undue hardships from ‘milking’ strategies that put them at risk for unforeseeable negative health outcomes. • Landlords, tenants, and the state of Arkansas have an opportunity to benefit from an enforceable warranty of habitability from an economic and public health perspective.