Arkansas Landlord Tenant Law: The Case for a Warranty of

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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.
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