Arkansas Tenant Screening
Last Updated: January 21, 2015
Arkansas diverse geography ranges from the mountainous regions of the Ozark and the Ouachita Mountains, which make up the U.S. Interior Highlands, to the densely forested land in the south known as the Arkansas Timberlands, to the eastern lowlands along the Mississippi River and the Arkansas Delta. Known as The Natural State, the diverse regions of Arkansas offer residents and tourists a variety of opportunities for outdoor recreation.
How to Screen a Tenant in the State of Arkansas
DISCLAIMER: We do our best to keep this information accurate and up-to-date, but we cannot guarantee either. The most recent law changes may not be reflected here. We do not intend this information to be legal advice, nor are we qualified to advise you regarding legal matters. We highly recommend consulting a lawyer qualified to discuss landlord-tenant law to advise you. We do not specifically endorse any of the websites linked from these pages, nor are we in any way affiliated with the agencies or individuals who have published them. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of information posted on these sites. If you find a problem on this page, please contact us so that we can get it fixed.
Step 1: Know Your Rights & Responsibilities
Landlords and property managers are subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act [PDF] (FCRA) during the tenant screening process. Additionally, Arkansas has laws that affect the tenant screening process. You can find the current Arkansas Housing Codes here. If you are finding the formalities of the state code daunting, you might want to check out these friendlier sites:
Recent Law Changes
City Council members in December passed an ordinance that will require anyone who sells or rents a house in Fayetteville to disclose to the buyer or tenant that no more than three unrelated roommates are allowed to live together in a single-family home. The buyer or tenant must then acknowledge in writing that they understand the rules. New Fayetteville law targets over-occupancy
Step 2: Required Forms & Disclosures
Tip: before you rent for the first time, consider hiring a lawyer to review all of the documents you will use during the application and rental process to ensure that you are protected to the fullest extent of the law.
- Rental Application [PDF] (this must be completed in full by the applicant prior to screening)
- Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act [PDF]
- Consumer Report Disclosure [PDF]
If you are ACCEPTING an applicant:
- Move-In Checklist [PDF]
- Mold: Currently, no federal or Arkansas state agency is specifically authorized to regulate exposure to indoor mold growth. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration General Duty Clause and Hazard Communication Standard have sometimes been invoked to resolve indoor microbial growth problems in non-industrial workplaces. However, enforceable numerical standards or regulations specifying acceptable concentrations of molds in indoor air have not been defined. Arkansas Mold Investigation Advisory Board Report
- Lease Agreement (written), containing or attaching the following information:
- Owner/Agent Identity – this should include name and address, and if the owner/agent is out-of-state it must include contact information for a resident of the COUNTY in which the rental is located that can act as an agent for the purposes of serving notices and process.
- Security Deposit – this must include the amount of the deposit and the conditions under which some or all of the deposit may be withheld. It must also include the name and banking institution holding the deposit.
- Non-refundable Fees – explicitly describe any non-refundable fees, and state clearly that they are non-refundable.
- Fire Protection & Safety Information: You must disclose the available fire protection and safety information specific to the unit you are renting, including smoking policy, evacuation plans, and who to notify in case of emergency.
If you are DECLINING an applicant:
- Adverse Action Notice [PDF]
Step 3: Order a Tenant Screening Report
What You’ll Need
- A completed rental application signed by the applicant.
- Some details about your applicant:
- Email address
- Date of birth
- Social Security number
- Previous address
- Bank account number (optional)
- Bank routing number (optional)
What Will Be Covered
- Package Options
- Background Report Coverage for Arkansas:
- Criminal, OFAC/Patriot Act & Sex Offender Records – A nationwide search is always performed. These jurisdictions specifically are available in Arkansas: AR Admin Office Of Courts 2, AR Department Of Corrections, AR Sex Offender Registry.
- Eviction Records – records are available from the following counties: Arkansas, Ashley, Baxter, Benton, Boone, Bradley, Calhoun, Carroll, Chicot, Clark, Clay, Cleburne, Cleveland, Columbia, Conway, Craighead, Crawford, Crittenden, Cross, Dallas, Desha, Drew, Faulkner, Franklin, Fulton, Garland, Grant, Greene, Hempstead, Hot Spring, Howard, Independence, Izard, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Lafayette, Lawrence, Lee, Lincoln, Little River, Logan, Lonoke, Madison, Marion, Miller, Mississippi, Monroe, Montgomery, Nevada, Newton, Ouachita, Perry, Phillips, Pike, Poinsett, Polk, Pope, Prairie, Pulaski, Randolph, Saline, Scott, Searcy, Sebastian, Sevier, Sharp, St Francis, Stone, Union, Van Buren, Washington, White, Woodruf, Yell.
- Bankruptcies, Liens & Judgments – records are available from the following counties: Arkansas, Ashley, Baxter, Benton, Boone, Bradley, Calhoun, Carroll, Chicot, Clark, Clay, Cleburne, Cleveland, Columbia, Conway, Craighead, Crawford, Crittenden, Cross, Dallas, Desha, Drew, Faulkner, Franklin, Fulton, Garland, Grant, Greene, Hempstead, Hot Spring, Howard, Independence, Izard, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Lafayette, Lawrence, Lee, Lincoln, Little River, Logan, Lonoke, Madison, Marion, Miller, Mississippi, Monroe, Montgomery, Nevada, Newton, Ouachita, Perry, Phillips, Pike, Poinsett, Polk, Pope, Prairie, Pulaski, Randolph, Saline, Scott, Searcy, Sebastian, Sevier, Sharp, St. Francis, Stone, Union, Van Buren, Washington, White, Woodruff, Yell.
- Social Security Number validation, Death Index, credit checks, previous addresses, alias names, and the Rent Check Advisor include all information available regardless of location.
Resources for Arkansas Landlords
- Arkansas State Bar Association Lawyer Search
- Arkansas Courts
- Law Enforcement Agencies in Arkansas (Wikipedia)