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Do-It-Yourself Landlords

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CONWAY -

Last week we told you that under state law in Arkansas, a landlord is not required to fix anything in his rental property.

Most landlords do maintain livable properties.

In fact, some do more than the law allows.

On Friday you heard a tenant says she was concerned about her landlord working on electrical and plumbing issues because he isn't licensed.

She wished there was a law to prevent such repair activity.

And it turns out…there is.

We asked a licensed electrician to take a look at the air conditioning and heating unit at the rented trailer at #3 Azalea Lane in Conway.

Our electrician says each unit was among the oldest he had seen that are still functioning.

And it was clear to him that the person working to keep each operating is not professionally trained.

We asked the landlord, Ricky White of White Rental Properties, about that during a telephone interview.

"What about your repair work? Are you licensed to do that?"

"I didn't know you had to be licensed to work on your own stuff," White told us.

White says he has 20 rental properties, including the trailer currently rented by Ramona Staggs.

White readily admits that he does some of his own electrical and plumbing work, citing 28 years of experience.

However, White is not licensed to do either type of repair work.

"If they're not certified to fix things I think they should hire somebody to fix it," argues Staggs.  "And if they can't hire anybody to fix it they don't need to be renting the places."

According to state law, a person doesn't need a license to do "…electrical work on his or her primary residence except as otherwise required by state law, regulations or local ordinances."

In other words, you can work on the home you live in but not only the other homes you own…unless you are licensed.

So why are there so many do-it-yourself landlords?

It's cheaper, tenants tolerate it rather than risk getting complaining and getting tossed, and the law is hard to enforce.

There are only three state electrical inspectors and seven state HVAC inspectors for the entire state of Arkansas.

Air date:  February 25th, 2013