Arkansas Eviction Process
The following describes the process for evicting a tenant in Arkansas known as an Unlawful Detainer Action. This information applies to residential rental property. It does not discuss evictions from commercial or agricultural property or those related to foreclosure proceedings.
1. Notice to Quit is given to the tenant. If a tenant has violated the terms of the lease, you must first serve the tenant with a notice to quit. Here are the following notices and the reasons why each one would be used:
- Arkansas 3 Day Notice to Pay or Quit (For failure to pay rent after a 5 day grace period)
- Arkansas 14 Day Notice to Cure or Quit (For lease violations other than nonpayment)
An Arkansas 30 Day Notice to Terminate Lease does not require a reason by either party to not renew a month-to-month rental agreement. However, it may be enforced by a landlord like the 3 and 14 day notices if the tenant refuses to surrender the property by the termination date.
A complaint would only be filed with the court if the tenant fails to act by the date specified in the notice. Therefore, the landlord must certify that a copy was delivered to the tenant in person, affixed to the front door of the dwelling unit or sent by certified mail.
2. Wait for tenant to respond. Each Arkansas Notice to Quit has its own time frame a landlord must wait until an unlawful detainer action may be filed.
3. Lawsuit is filed. If the tenant fails to respond to the notice to quit the landlord may file an action in the Arkansas Circuit Court jurisdiction where the rental property is located. The following documents will need to be filed along with the current required filing fee (usually a few hundred dollars):
- Cover Sheet
- Notice of intent to issue a writ of possession.
4. Tenant is given notice of the lawsuit. The landlord must then hire a process server to physically serve the tenant with a copy of the documents. The tenant then has 5 days to either pay the full amount of rent owed or they must file an answer with the court. If the tenant fails to act at all, the court may issue a writ of possession which will give possession of the premises back to the landlord and the tenant will not be allowed to access the rental property.
5. Schedule an eviction trial. If the tenant files an answer to dispute the claims made by the landlord, the court will hold an eviction trial so the judge can hear from both parties and decide who gets possession of the property.
Notice to Quit
A 3 Day Notice to Pay or Quit may be used when a tenant fails to pay rent within 5 days of the due date. So on day 6, a landlord may serve the tenant demanding they bring the rent current in full or move within 5 days. (§ 18-60-304(3))
A 14 Day Notice to Cure or Quit may be used by a landlord for a material noncompliance of tenancy. The notice demands the violation be cured within 14 days or the tenant must vacate. (§ 18-17-701)