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View Diary: A day late with the rent? Eviction and prison may be in your future in Arkansas (80 comments)

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  •  No, they are not arrested for (5+ / 0-)

    "simply owing money." They are arrested for what amounts to trespassing -- i.e., "failure to vacate," as the story puts it.  Once they have been ordered by a court or otherwise to vacate the property for non-payment of rent, they become illegal trespassers, and that's what they are arrested for -- trespassing on someone else's property.  

    I agree that this particular law seems abusive.  But it's not, as the diary and you put it, being arrested for "simply owing money."  

    •  does it say that elsewhere? (0+ / 0-)

      according to the diary it is failure to leave on the landlord's demand, not the court's, that is a criminal offense

      •  I quote the statute in full below. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pi Li, VClib

        And see my other comments.  I suspect that this Human Watch Rights article has left out some facts, because the statute is pretty clear that you get a court hearing before you can be found guilty of a criminal misdemeanor, and the penalty after the Court proceeding is a $25 a day fine.  

        It's sort of like trespass.  The statute says that if you fail to pay rent, you've lost your right to stay.  The landlord can tell you to leave, like any other property owner can tell you to leave his property, but he has to give you 10 days.  If you don't do that, then you are cited for the misdemeanor "failure to vacate" (the way you would be cited for trespass if I tell you to leave my property and you don't).  If you want, you can stay on the property and you get an opportunity to come to court and contest it,  just the way you would in a trespass case.  If you plead guilty, meaning you should have vacated when you were told to, the penalty is a $25 per day fine for every day you stayed.  If you plead not guilty, you can stay until your case is over, but you have to keep paying rent into the registry of the Court.  If you win, you get your money back.  If you lose, the landlord gets the money.  

    •  based on the word of the landlord (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nchristine

      who may or may not be telling the truth and has much incentive to lie.

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