If it’s one thing that every tenancy should have, it’s the security deposit. Because it’s so commonplace, it may seem too easy in handling a security deposit. However, be aware of the special regulations that Arkansas has put upon the receipt, usage, and return of the security deposit. Primarily, the security deposit may not exceed 2 months’ rent. Arkansas is very general with legislation regarding the usage of the deposit; it may be used towards the payment of accrued unpaid rent and any damages that the landlord has suffered because of the tenant’s noncompliance with the lease agreement.
At the end of the tenancy, within 60 days after, the landlord must return all or a portion of the security deposit with an itemized list describing any deductions from the full amount to the last known address of the tenant, if a forwarding address was not given. If the security deposit is returned to the landlord and he or she cannot contact the tenant in any other way, the security deposit becomes the property of the landlord 180 days after the payment was mailed.
If the landlord fails his or her duties to return the security deposit either within the time frame allotted or for the full amount due to the tenant, the tenant may recover the security deposit wrongfully withheld, damages in an amount equal to two times the amount wrongfully withheld, costs, and attorney’s fees. If, however, the landlord encountered an error outside of his or her own power in sending the deposit or the amount wrongfully returned was based on a good faith dispute as to the amount due, then the landlord is only liable for the amount to be returned and costs.