6 Steps to Unlawful Detainer – Step 6: The Damages

IMG_7809The 6 Steps to Unlawful Detainer

Part 6 of a 6 part series on the Unlawful Detainer Action in Arkansas.

Your problem tenants are finally gone, and you have your property back!  Now, who is going to pay for these damages?

Step 6: The Damages

ASSESS DAMAGES: It is time to assess the damages.  It is important to do this as promptly as possible.  For most rentals, Arkansas law requires that any security deposit be returned within 60 days.  If all, or a portion, of the security deposit is retained, then you will need to provide your ex-tenants with an itemized written notice of damages before the 60 day deadline.

Most landlords look to the following, when assessing damages:

  • Unpaid Rent
  • Cleaning Charges
  • Repair Charges
  • Legal Fees and Court Costs

If the security deposit covers all of the damages, then you are golden!  However, this is not usually the case.

So, what can you do if you apply the security deposit to damages, but still come up short?

DEMAND LETTER: Your next step is to send the ex-tenant a demand letter, with an itemized list of damages and a due date.  Now is a good time to call your attorney. He or she can make sure that your demand letter complies with Arkansas Law and lays the groundwork for going back to court, if necessary.

When your ex-tenants don’t respond, and the due date has come and gone… now what?

You guessed it… back to court!

COURT FILINGS: Your attorney’s next step will depend upon the response of your ex-tenant to your previously-filed complaint and your recent demand letter.

If your ex-tenant NEVER answered your complaint in Step 2, then your attorney will likely file a Motion for Default Judgment with the court.  This motion outlines all steps taken to date, how much money is due, and indicates that the ex-tenant has been unresponsive. Most importantly, this motion asks the court to award monetary damages to the plaintiff.  Your attorney will also draft a proposed order for the judge to sign.

If your ex-tenant DID file an answer to your complaint, you may need to attend another hearing prior to winning your judgment.

Once you get your judgment against the ex-tenant, you will need to collect on it. Collecting on a judgment can occur through the garnishment of bank accounts or wages, or liens against the ex-tenant’s property.  Ask your attorney to walk you through your options for collecting on the judgment.

Need to review a step in the unlawful detainer process? 

Go back to… Step 1: The Notice

Go back to… Step 2: The Complaint

Go back to… Step 3: The Hearing

Go back to… Step 4: The Writ of Possession

Go back to… Step 5: Execution of the Writ of Possession

If you need help with the Unlawful Detainer process:

If you need assistance with your Landlord-tenant legal matter in Arkansas, please contact Deborah at The Hardin Law Firm, PLC.  For our out-of-state clients, we are available via phone, fax, and email, to assist you with your real estate needs.

ATTORNEY: Learn more about Deborah L. Hardin.

SERVING: Cabot, Beebe, Ward, Searcy, Jacksonville, Lonoke County, White County, Faulkner County, and other central Arkansas areas. We also routinely serve out-of-state property owners, who require representation in Arkansas.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this web site is intended to convey general information. It should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. It is not an offer to represent you, nor is it intended to create an attorney-client relationship.

 Last updated: June 13, 2016 at 18:59 pm