Arkansas Property Laws: A Guide for Homeowners

Owning a home is a dream for many, but understanding the laws that govern property ownership in Arkansas can be daunting —- especially when Arkansas’s home ownership rate is 1.98% below the national average.

Whether you're a homeowner, real estate agent, or aspiring investor, it's important to have a solid grasp of these laws so you know what to expect the next time you're in the market.


What Are Arkansas’ Property Rights?

Property rights form the foundation of property ownership in Arkansas. Here are some key points to consider:

When you purchase a property, you acquire certain rights to use, enjoy, and dispose of it as you see fit, within the bounds of the law.

For example, you may run into boundary disputes. Issues regarding property boundaries can arise, leading to disputes with neighbors. You also have to consider zoning regulations, which dictate how you can use your property.


Easements and Property Access

Easements are like permissions that allow certain people or groups to use or access someone else's property for specific purposes.

For example, a neighbor might have an easement to walk through your backyard to access a shared driveway. So, easements essentially give others the right to do certain things on your property, even though you still own it.

Here's what you need to know:

  • Types of Easements: There are various types of easements, including utility easements, access easements, and easements by prescription. Each type grants different rights to the holder.
  • Negotiating Easements: If you're faced with a request for an easement on your property (neighbors, utility workers, internet installers, government entities, etc.), it's essential to understand the implications fully. Consulting with a legal expert can help you negotiate terms that protect your interests while accommodating the needs of the requesting party.



Land Use Regulations

Land use regulations in Arkansas are rules that dictate how land can be used and developed. These rules are put in place to ensure that properties are used in a way that is safe, orderly, and beneficial for the community.

They cover things like what types of buildings can be constructed, how far they must be from property lines, what activities are allowed on the land, and what environmental considerations need to be taken into account, such as:

  • Zoning Ordinances: Local governments enact zoning ordinances to regulate land use within their jurisdictions.
  • Building Codes: Compliance with building codes is mandatory for all construction projects. Failure to adhere to these codes can result in fines, delays, or even legal action.

Basically, these regulations help to manage and organize how land is utilized throughout the state to promote the well-being of residents and protect the environment.


What’s New in Arkansas?

The legal landscape surrounding property laws is continually evolving. Here’s some recent news in Arkansas regarding property law.


Environmental Regulations

In April 2023, Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed Senate Bill 383 (SB 383) into law, placing restrictions on certain foreign investments in Arkansas land.

SB 383 prohibits certain foreign investors from acquiring agricultural land and restricts certain foreign business entities from acquiring any real property within Arkansas.

Meanwhile, the permissibility of building tiny homes in Arkansas depends on zoning designations, building codes, and land use restrictions, with some cities like Bentonville becoming more tiny house-friendly.


Short-Term Rentals

Cities across Arkansas, from bustling Little Rock to picturesque towns in the Ozarks, are increasingly implementing regulations on short-term rental operators.

In October 2021, Eureka Springs, a popular tourist destination with over 750,000 visitors annually, prohibited short-term rentals in residential areas due to nuisance complaints and concerns about housing availability. Fayetteville now mandates permits for operators and has set “density caps” on the number of short-term rentals allowed in multifamily buildings and citywide.



Hot Springs has introduced a Compliance Officer role to identify unlicensed operators, threatening fines of up to $500 per day. In Little Rock, a proposed ordinance to regulate short-term rentals is currently being developed and will be discussed in public meetings.


Do You Need Help With Your Property?

Arkansas property laws can be complex, but understanding the basics can help you start off on the right foot. 

But should you have any questions or need assistance with property-related legal matters, don't hesitate to consult with a knowledgeable attorney in real estate law like the lawyers at Hickey & Hull Law Partners.

Chat, fill out our online form, or contact us today to get a free consultation. Our River Valley office number is 479.434.2414, and our Northwest Arkansas number is 479.802.6560.