Group challenges state eviction law

Group challenges state eviction law

FAYETTEVILLE, AR (KAIT/KNWA) - The Arkansas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union will be heading to court to challenge the state's eviction law, saying it unfairly pressures tenants and places the tenant in criminal jeopardy.

According to a report from KNWA in northwest Arkansas, Arkansas is the only state in the Union in which a tenant can face criminal charges for not paying rent on time after being notified by a landlord.

The law has been on the books since 2001. In the law, a tenant can face criminal charges if they do not pay rent on time and don't vacate the premises within 10 days of being notified, the television station reported.

Holly Dickson, the legal director for the Arkansas ACLU, said the law is unfair.

"It pressures the tenant into leaving the property and does not allow them any defense in criminal court other than the fact that they actually pay their rent," Dickson told KNWA.

The law was amended earlier this year but included the criminal penalties.

Rep. Greg Leding, D-Fayetteville, said he believes there can be some sort of compromise on the issue.

"We want landlords to get paid, people do need to pay their rent, but in circumstances where somebody is just not able to make it on the day it's due, there should be some sort of process that allows them to work through the situation," Leding said.

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