HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » 1 Day Late on Rent Can La...
Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 07:13 AM

1 Day Late on Rent Can Land You in Jail? A Shockingly Draconian Renters Law (Hard Times USA)

http://www.alternet.org/hard-times-usa/1-day-late-rent-can-land-you-jail-shockingly-draconian-renters-law-hard-times-usa



One evening this past August, Angela and Steve received a knock on the door. The couple opened it to see two police officers standing outside.

“One of them said, ‘We have a warrant for y’all’s arrest. … The next thing I remember is my husband dragging me from the kitchen. I had fainted,” Angela recalled, according to Human Rights Watch.

Their crime? The couple was unable to afford their $585 rent payment that month.

Two weeks after their rent was due, Steve approached their landlord with half of the money for the rent, but she wouldn’t take it.

35 replies, 2499 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 35 replies Author Time Post
Reply 1 Day Late on Rent Can Land You in Jail? A Shockingly Draconian Renters Law (Hard Times USA) (Original post)
xchrom Feb 2013 OP
RKP5637 Feb 2013 #1
pipoman Feb 2013 #2
Art_from_Ark Feb 2013 #8
pipoman Feb 2013 #11
Art_from_Ark Feb 2013 #33
pipoman Feb 2013 #34
Art_from_Ark Feb 2013 #35
bowens43 Feb 2013 #3
Marrah_G Feb 2013 #5
msanthrope Feb 2013 #7
msanthrope Feb 2013 #6
cali Feb 2013 #4
ck4829 Feb 2013 #9
Recursion Feb 2013 #10
frylock Feb 2013 #18
dmallind Feb 2013 #12
Jersey Devil Feb 2013 #13
woo me with science Feb 2013 #17
pipoman Feb 2013 #16
frylock Feb 2013 #19
snooper2 Feb 2013 #14
slackmaster Feb 2013 #31
NCTraveler Feb 2013 #15
frylock Feb 2013 #20
Ikonoklast Feb 2013 #21
frylock Feb 2013 #22
NCTraveler Feb 2013 #27
frylock Feb 2013 #28
frylock Feb 2013 #23
Peter cotton Feb 2013 #24
frylock Feb 2013 #25
Peter cotton Feb 2013 #29
frylock Feb 2013 #30
dsc Feb 2013 #26
slackmaster Feb 2013 #32

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 07:48 AM

1. USA, Inc. Money 1st, people last. n/t

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 07:59 AM

2. I couldn't tell

if the 10 day notice is a court document?

In my state eviction is a civil procedure with no criminal penalty until/unless the tenant(s) ignore a court order, or become violent during the eviction process. A "10 day notice" is part of the eviction process here. The notice is not part of a court case unless the tenant does not vacate during the 10 days. Then the landlord files a civil case against the tenant. Part of the civil filing is a copy of the 10 day notice and when/who it was served or posted. After the filing an order for appearance is issued, usually between several days and a month from the filing..this must be personally served or posted..many judges are open to hear service disputes if this paper is served/posted by the landlord as opposed to an officer of the court. If the tenant appears the judge will listen to their pleas and will determine a date by which the residence must be vacated. If the tenant does not appear, the court will usually issue an order for immediate eviction. The eviction order must be served by an officer of the court and is immediate upon service. Often, probably 75% of the time, when the tenant did not appear, by the time I would get there with the eviction order, the tenant was already out and I would simply call the landlord to change the locks or call a locksmith and post the notice of trespass if the tenant returns without making arrangements with the landlord. If the person refuses to leave at this time they can be cited for contempt or several other misdemeanor possibilities (failure to comply, disorderly conduct, impairing official duty, etc). All this takes a month or 2 at best..there is no criminal penalty for failure to pay any debt including rent.

Sounds like AR needs a civil procedure overhaul..

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to pipoman (Reply #2)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 09:27 AM

8. Here is the law in Arkansas:

Failure to pay rent or to pay rent on time, for any reason, is grounds for eviction. There are two types of eviction procedures a landlord can use: “unlawful detainer” (a civil eviction) and “failure to vacate” (a criminal eviction).

Unlawful Detainer: If a landlord uses the “unlawful detainer” method of eviction, he must give you three days’ written notice to vacate. If you do not leave, the landlord can sue by filing a complaint against you in court. After you receive a summons to appear in court, you have five days to object in writing to the eviction. Any objection must be filed with the clerk of the court in which the eviction action was filed, and you should send a copy of your objection to the landlord’s lawyer. If you do not file an objection, you can be removed from the dwelling by the county sheriff. If you do object, a hearing will be scheduled to determine the outcome to your case.

Failure to Vacate: If a landlord wishes to use the “failure to vacate” method of eviction, he must give you 10days written notice. This method of eviction applies only to non-payment of rent. If you do not leave the premises within 10 days, the prosecuting attorney has the discretion to charge you with a misdemeanor. You would then be required to appear in court where you could be fined up to $25 for each day you remained in the dwelling after being given the 10-day notice to vacate.

http://gotyourbackarkansas.org/home/landlordtenant-rights-guide/

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Art_from_Ark (Reply #8)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:40 AM

11. Yeah, the "failure to vacate"

statute is unusual I believe..it seems almost ex parte, I suspect in most states an eviction can reach the criminal level, but requires more than a request for a warrant by a landlord..

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to pipoman (Reply #11)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:38 PM

33. Here is the law in, for example, Kansas

"If a tenant does not move when asked to, or leaves personal possessions in a rental apartment, the landlord may file criminal charges or sell the tenant's abandoned possessions."

Read more: How to Evict a Tenant in Kansas | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_6563460_evict-tenant-kansas.html#ixzz2M4DUuCew

I suspect lots of other states also have similar laws on the books.

I should also add that the "criminal" aspect of the Arkansas law, as explained at the state attorney general's web site, seems to be a fine. Nowhere is there any mention of jail time.

One more thing-- the article in the OP mentions first names only-- no last names, and no city. If these people were actually sent to jail just for failure to pay rent, then that would seem to be in violation of the law.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Art_from_Ark (Reply #33)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 11:06 PM

34. Hmm

I have served hundreds of eviction notices (in Kansas) of all types for major property managers and have never heard of this. In fact if I, as the agent of the landlord, went to a property in, say, Wichita and try to kick someone out without a court order signed by a district court judge, the police will evict the evictor(sic)..either something has changed since 7 years ago when I left that 20 year career, or this is an example of why one shouldn't get their legal advice from e-how..

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to pipoman (Reply #34)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 12:42 AM

35. Seven years is a long time in politics

A lot can happen during that time. The Arkansas law that is the object of the OP, for example, was passed 6 years ago.

At any rate, the eHow information about Kansas does seem to be an exaggeration, just like the claim in the OP that being one day late with a rent payment, or being late with a rent payment at all, in Arkansas is grounds for getting thrown in jail.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 08:03 AM

3. although the law is indeed draconian , the head line is very misleading

no one gos o jail for being late with their rent.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to bowens43 (Reply #3)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 08:22 AM

5. 100 people were actually charged with a crime.

And some are held until trial.

"And because the law is poorly written, judges improvise the punishment. Some try to avoid handing out charges and give tenants an extra week to move out. But others regularly hand out fines of $400 or detain tenants before trial. Human Rights Watch witnessed one district judge yell at an accused renter and compare her to a bank robber. "

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Marrah_G (Reply #5)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 08:39 AM

7. But the charge is not non-payment of rent--it's failure to vacate. And sloppy legal reporting of

the HRW report is great propaganda, but provides little help to people who might actually need legal help.

What I found frustrating about the report--and I suggest you read it, as opposed to just the article--is that it contains very little practical information as to what remedy is available.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to bowens43 (Reply #3)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 08:36 AM

6. This is the problem of relying on Alternet for legal news. It's a great report by HRW, badly

reported on by Alternet.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 08:07 AM

4. Arkansas seems to be an endless well of bad laws aimed at the poor and women

<snip>

Arkansas is the only U.S. state where tenants can wind up with a criminal record if they can’t afford to pay their rent on time. The state’s “failure to vacate" laws allow landlords, without independent investigation, to charge tenants with a misdemeanor offense and have them arrested if they fail to move out after receiving a 10-day eviction notice. Landlords can give tenants the notice after they are only one day late with their payment.

The reason Arkansas has such harsh tenant laws dates back to 2007, when the Residential Landlord and Tenant Act passed, stripping landlords of many responsibilities while burdening tenants. Currently, while tenants are supposed to properly dispose of waste, landlords have no obligation to provide them with garbage receptacles. Landlords are also not required to provide tenants with safe or sanitary property; they are, however, allowed to enter their tenants’ property whenever they deem fit.

<snip>

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 09:34 AM

9. Feudalism.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 09:37 AM

10. So, one day late on rent *can't* land you in jail

but can get you a failure to vacate writ, 10 days later, the penalty for which is a fine. I like Alternet less and less as time passes.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Recursion (Reply #10)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 04:00 PM

18. i like people less and less as time passes..

this law is bullshit.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:53 AM

12. How many days should non-paying tenants stay free? What should happen if they don't leave?

These questions must have definite answers, or the vast majority of people would simply stop paying rent. What would your answers be as an owner?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to dmallind (Reply #12)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:58 AM

13. criminal penalties are akin to debtors' prison

If a tenant doesn't pay rent you can file a complaint with a court and let the court set an eviction date. There is no need to criminalize a contractual debt. My bet is that if someone challenged this law it would be found unconstitutional. The trouble is that poor people who don't pay rent can't afford lawyers to challenge laws. Hopefully someone like the ACLU will step in and try to right this wrong.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Jersey Devil (Reply #13)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 02:45 PM

17. Thank you

for pointing out the obfuscation going on here, and bringing the thread back to the real point: that *criminal* charges are unnecessary, vicious, and outrageous.

It is utterly nauseating to see the DU Corporate Brigade lining up so rapidly to try to drown this thread in outrageous excuses for bringing criminal charges against the poor.

We are in deep, deep peril in this country. Our corporate nation has sold its moral center, and we are relentlessly propagandized to accept the unconscionable.


Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to dmallind (Reply #12)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 02:30 PM

16. Every state, including

AR, has a means for physical eviction..the distinction here is that there is a criminal statute for merely not vacating within 10 days after notice is served. Most (if not all) other states have more grace built into the process than AR and staying through the process isn't criminal.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to dmallind (Reply #12)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 04:02 PM

19. certainly more than 10 days..

but i'm kinda funny that way in that my life isn't driven by absolute greed and love of money.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 11:02 AM

14. does anybody even go to journalism school anymore?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to snooper2 (Reply #14)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 08:02 PM

31. Apparently not

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 11:04 AM

15. Highly inaccurate headline. nt.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to NCTraveler (Reply #15)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 04:03 PM

20. okay. 11 days late on rent can land you in jail.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to frylock (Reply #20)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 04:11 PM

21. Wrong. Failure to vacate the premises after being notified gets you in trouble.

Ten days after being notified and then not leaving.

"Not Leaving" is the operative phrase. Being late paying the rent is not the reason they get arrested.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Ikonoklast (Reply #21)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 04:17 PM

22. so you think it's reasonable to give someone 10 days to vacate the prem?

someone struggling to make rent? are you on the right site? because that is fucking heartless. shit, people get 30 days here. but fuck it. are there no workhouses? are there no debtors prisons? welcome to the fucking big tent I guess.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to frylock (Reply #20)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 04:58 PM

27. Still not accurate.

But we do agree that the headline is inaccurate. And that is what my post is about.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to NCTraveler (Reply #27)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 05:20 PM

28. yes, we can agree on that..

it was sensationalized as many headlines tend to be. doesn't change the fact that the law is draconian bullshit.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 04:19 PM

23. look at the replies and hold your heads high with pride DU.

big tent!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 04:21 PM

24. This headline is a lie.

 

These people hadn't vacated after receiving an eviction notice.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Peter cotton (Reply #24)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 04:43 PM

25. so you too are pro-living in car?

gawd I love the compassion on display at this site. it just oozes like sweat after a three-day meth binge.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to frylock (Reply #25)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 07:06 PM

29. That's a separate question entirely, is it not?

 

Was anything I said in post #24 incorrect?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Peter cotton (Reply #29)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 07:58 PM

30. evidently all anyone wants to talk about is the headline..

and we've ascertained about 15 posts ago that it is indeed inaccurate. I guess that nobody is very comfortable addressing the issue as to whether 10 days is ample time to find a new place and vacate the current premises. having had 30 days to accomplish such a feat, through no fault of my own mind you, I found it to be a rather daunting and stressful task. and that was being fully employed with plenty of money to lay down for first/last months rent, renting a truck, and establishing utilities. clearly, someone in this situation, who offered their asshole landlord half the rent, does not have that luxury. I find that those focusing on the hyperbole of the headline seem to miss the point in spectacular fashion. but maybe everyone here is a copy editor. idk.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 04:57 PM

26. as bad as the law is the title isn't right

it takes 10 days. I do think the law is horrible but we shouldn't tell stories we like instead of the truth.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 08:03 PM

32. A person who fails to vacate a rental after due process for a delinquency can be arrested anywhere

 

For trespassing. The process and time required vary from state to state.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread