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Bill seeks to help landlords evict quicker, cheaper

LITTLE ROCK (KATV) -

Arkansas is consistently ranked near the bottom of all states when it comes to the rights of renters.

So far there is little hope things will improve for tenants this legislative session.

Sarah Love spent much of the past two months living in her car after getting locked out by her landlord.

Back in October Love was looking for a cheaper place to live.

She found it...one upstairs room for $250 a month.

It needed work...but the owner said he would fix things up.

"Fix everything within a month or so," recalls Love about her landlord’s promise.

"But after two months they hadn't fixed it?"

"They hadn't fixed it,” says Love.

Love called code enforcement and before the day was over her landlord...Cristian Castillo...had changed the locks on the house.

Despite the fact that she owed no rent...she was not allowed to get her clothes, paperwork or medicine.

"I have no idea where my things are,” says Love. “My new computer...I have no idea where Cleo's sofa is. I have no idea where nothing is. My family pictures...I can't replace that. I can't replace any of that."

Senator Linda Collins-Smith of Pocahontas...herself a landlord...told her colleagues how much compassion she shows her tenants when they fall on hard times. But then Collins-Smith and her fellow Republicans on the Senate Judiciary committee passed Senate Bill 25.

"So what do you think about lawmakers passing a bill to make it easier for landlords to kick tenants out and not passing any laws that would help make homes more livable for tenants?"

"Summing it up in one word...it sucks,” says Love. “OK. It really does. You know it is not fair to people. It's not fair to people who need a place to live. Plus...then there are children involved in a lot of cases."

Of course there is still time to file legislation, but so far all bills filed pertaining to landlord/tenant relations are pro-landlord.

Senate Bill 25 will next be considered by the full Senate.

Air date: January 26th, 2017

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