A bill filed during the recently completed legislative session sought to require Arkansas landlords to maintain safe and livable conditions for their tenants.
It went nowhere.
That means renters still have little recourse against property owners who refuse to fix anything.
Diane Alford knows that. She would like to move, but a lack of cash and a year-long lease are causing her to stay put and endure terrible conditions.
"That's nasty," says Alford, stating the obvious as she shows us her sewage soaked bathroom.
Alford says for a month the toilet in her rent house has been backing up...not just over the rim but also into her bathtub, bathroom sink and even kitchen sink.
She has been going to the bathroom outside in a five gallon bucket.
"Suppose somebody comes through there driving down the highway and sees my butt," says Alford. "That wouldn't look good. They'll be calling the Sheriff on me for indecent disposal. I mean he needs to do something. He really, really does."
We reached Diane's landlord by phone.
"She said she told you a month ago that her septic tank needed to be pumped...that her toilet and everything was backing up..."
He claims he had no idea things were so bad. He assures us he will get the plumbing problem fixed.
But nothing in Arkansas law requires any landlord to do anything.
Legislators recently failed to take any action on a bill that would have changed this.
Louis Flowers has the same landlord and recently had to fix the roof on his rent house.
"I think landlords should always keep up their own things that go wrong with their property if someone is renting from them," says Flowers. "You know they should take care of that. It shouldn't be up to the tenant unless they damage it themselves."
If this particular landlord doesn't keep his word and get Diane's plumbing fixed we intend to tell you much more about him next week.
Air date: April 25th, 2013
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