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Landlord/Tenant Rights

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SEARCY (KATV) -

Two extensive studies on landlord/tenant rights in Arkansas have both concluded the same thing: the deck is heavily stacked in favor of landlords and property owners.

One Searcy man is experiencing that reality right now.

Danny Norris has lived in the same Searcy apartment for nearly two years.

After always paying his rent on time, he admits he was late in October due to a mix-up in his federal support.

But he says that's not why he is getting the boot.

Norris isn't sure what happened to the door of his apartment...it's been this way since he moved into Meadow Lake apartments. But the repair job was poorly done and requests to fix it have fallen on deaf ears.

After a HUD inspector expressed concern, Norris went over his landlord's head and called Lindsey Management.

The result?

"The landlord got mad at me," recalls Norris.

Since then Norris has received warning notices and eviction notices...and last week he was sued in civil court.

"I'm afraid if I go to court like they want me to that the judge will rule in their favor," says Norris, who also doesn't have the funds to hire an attorney (he says he lives on $857.00 a month). "In fact the Legal Aid wrote me a note and told me that she would not take me to court because I'm gonna lose."

Norris says he has tried multiple times to pay his October rent but property manager Patricia Love has refused to take it.

In Arkansas, if you fail to pay rent you can be prosecuted. No other state has such a provision.

Also in Arkansas, landlords are under no obligation to fix anything for a tenant. Again, it's a situation found only in Arkansas.

"They want you to pay the rent," says Norris. "You need to not pay the rent until they fix it. And then they want to kick you out. I don't think that's right."

If Norris isn't out by October 15th he has been told the police will be called.

Neither the property manager (Ms. Love) nor an attorney for Lindsey Management (Cliff Henry of Conway) wanted to comment on the eviction.

A statement from Mr. Henry received after 6:00 pm Monday reads: "Thank you for your interest in this matter. The plaintiff in this matter, Meadow Lake II Apartments, does not comment on ongoing litigation. This matter is properly before the White County Circuit Court and should be handled through the Court."

Air date: October 14th, 2013