Arkansas Short-Term Rental Laws: A Guide to Navigating the Essentials

Couple conversing with a vacation rental host.

The landscape of short-term rentals in Arkansas is as diverse and dynamic as the state itself. From the bustling streets of Little Rock to the tranquil beauty of the Ozarks, Arkansas short-term rental laws play a pivotal role in shaping the experience for both hosts and guests. In this detailed exploration, we delve into the key aspects of Arkansas short-term rental laws, providing real data and specific legislative references to aid understanding.

Understanding the Legal Framework

Arkansas short-term rental laws are a mosaic of state statutes and local ordinances. At the state level, Act 1072 of 2019 is particularly significant. It prohibits cities and counties from enacting ordinances that outright ban short-term rentals but allows them to regulate for health and safety purposes.

Key Provisions

Health and Safety RegulationsLocal governments can impose regulations to safeguard health and safety.
Non-DiscriminationShort-term rentals cannot be banned based on their classification alone.

Taxation and Licensing

Short-term rentals have gained immense popularity in recent years, with platforms like Airbnb and VRBO making it easier than ever for property owners to rent out their spaces. However, in the state of Arkansas, there are specific taxation and licensing requirements that hosts must adhere to. Let’s delve into the critical aspects of taxation and licensing for short-term rentals in Arkansas, covering tax types, rates, and the necessary steps for compliance.

Tax Types

Arkansas imposes several taxes on short-term rentals, which hosts are responsible for collecting and remitting. These taxes are designed to generate revenue for the state and local governments while ensuring a level playing field between short-term rentals and traditional lodging establishments. Here are the key tax types applicable to short-term rentals in Arkansas:

  • State Sales Tax: The state sales tax rate for short-term rentals in Arkansas is currently set at 6.5%. Hosts are required to collect this tax from their guests and remit it to the state’s tax authorities;
  • Local Sales Tax: In addition to the state sales tax, hosts must also collect and remit local sales tax. The local sales tax rate varies by locality, as it is determined by individual cities and counties. Hosts should check with their local tax authorities to determine the specific rate applicable to their area;
  • Tourism Tax: Some areas in Arkansas impose a tourism tax on short-term rentals. This tax is usually assessed in popular tourist destinations and is intended to support local tourism initiatives. Hosts operating in areas where tourism tax is applicable must collect and remit this tax as well.

Licensing Requirements

In addition to tax obligations, hosts of short-term rentals in Arkansas are also required to obtain a business license and register for tax purposes. This is an essential step in ensuring compliance with state and local regulations. Here’s a breakdown of the licensing and registration process:

  • Business License: Hosts must obtain a business license from their local city or county government. The specific requirements and application process may vary depending on the locality. It’s crucial to contact the local government office or visit their website to obtain the necessary forms and information;
  • Tax Registration: After obtaining a business license, hosts are required to register for tax purposes with the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration. This registration allows hosts to collect and remit both state and local sales taxes. Hosts can complete the tax registration process online through the department’s website.

Consequences of Non-Compliance

Non-compliance with Arkansas short-term rental taxation and licensing requirements can result in various penalties, which may include:

  • Fines: Hosts who fail to collect and remit the required taxes or operate without a business license may face fines imposed by the state or local authorities. The amount of fines can vary based on the specific violation and the discretion of the enforcement agency;
  • Revocation of Rental License: In some cases, non-compliance can lead to the revocation of the rental license, effectively prohibiting hosts from continuing to offer short-term rentals. This can have significant financial implications for hosts who rely on rental income.

Insurance and Liability

Hosts should be aware that their standard homeowner’s insurance policy might not provide adequate coverage for short-term rental activities. Here’s an overview of liability and insurance considerations for short-term rentals in Arkansas:

Liability Coverage

Liability coverage is a crucial aspect of insurance for short-term rental hosts in Arkansas. It protects hosts in case of accidents or incidents that occur on their property during a guest’s stay. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Host Liability: Hosts can be held responsible for any injuries or damages that occur on their property. Liability coverage helps mitigate the financial burden of legal expenses and potential settlements;
  • Guest Injuries: If a guest gets injured while staying at your short-term rental property, liability coverage can provide protection. This includes incidents like slip and falls, accidents, or injuries caused by property defects;
  • Property Damage: Liability coverage may also extend to cover damages to the guest’s personal property if it is damaged due to the host’s negligence or property issues;
  • Legal Defense: In the event of a lawsuit related to a guest’s injury or property damage, liability coverage can assist in covering legal defense costs;
  • Coverage Limits: Hosts should carefully review their insurance policies to understand the coverage limits and ensure they have adequate protection. It is advisable to consult with an insurance agent to determine the appropriate coverage amount.

Property Coverage

Property coverage is another essential aspect of insurance for short-term rental hosts, specifically designed to address damages caused by guests. Here are key considerations:

  • Coverage for Damages: Property coverage protects against damages to your rental property caused by guests. This includes damage to furniture, appliances, fixtures, and structural elements;
  • Coverage for Theft: Some property insurance policies may also cover theft or vandalism by guests. This is important to safeguard your valuable assets;
  • Inventory Documentation: It’s advisable to maintain detailed documentation of your rental property’s inventory, including photographs, descriptions, and values. This documentation can be crucial when filing a claim for property damages;
  • Deductibles: Like liability coverage, hosts should be aware of the deductibles associated with property coverage. Higher deductibles can result in lower premium costs, but hosts should ensure they can afford the deductible in case of a claim;
  • Review and Update: Hosts should periodically review and update their property coverage to reflect any changes in their rental property’s value or contents.

Safety and Compliance

In Arkansas, safety is paramount when it comes to short-term rentals. Compliance with building codes, fire safety standards, and health regulations is essential. Here are the key safety requirements:

Safety RequirementsDescription
Smoke DetectorsSmoke detectors are mandatory in all sleeping areas of your rental property. This includes bedrooms, as well as any other space where guests may sleep. It is crucial to install and maintain these detectors to ensure they are in working order at all times. Regular battery checks and replacements are essential.
Carbon Monoxide DetectorsIf your property has potential sources of carbon monoxide, such as gas appliances or a garage, you are required to install carbon monoxide detectors. These detectors are vital for detecting this odorless, colorless gas, which can be life-threatening.
Regular InspectionsTo maintain compliance with health and safety standards, it is essential to conduct regular inspections of your rental property. These inspections should cover all safety features, including smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, and emergency exits. Ensure that your property is in excellent condition and free from hazards.
Consequences of Non-ComplianceFailing to adhere to safety requirements can lead to fines or legal actions. It is not only crucial for the well-being of your guests but also to protect your legal and financial interests. Compliance with these safety measures is not negotiable.

Neighborhood and Community Impact

In addition to safety considerations, Arkansas short-term rental laws also address the impact of these rentals on neighborhoods and communities. To maintain a harmonious coexistence with your neighbors and the local community, it is essential to be aware of and comply with the following community considerations:

  • Noise Ordinances: Local noise regulations must be adhered to at all times. Guests should be made aware of these regulations in your rental agreement, and it is advisable to establish quiet hours to prevent disturbances during nighttime. Be proactive in addressing noise complaints promptly;
  • Parking Regulations: Ensure that your guests comply with local parking rules. Provide clear instructions on where guests can park, and make it easy for them to follow these rules. Illegally parked vehicles can disrupt the neighborhood and result in complaints;
  • Trash Disposal: Proper waste management practices are crucial to maintaining the cleanliness of your property and the neighborhood. Provide clear instructions to your guests on how to dispose of their trash and recycling. Ensure that you have an efficient garbage collection system in place.

Dispute Resolution and Enforcement

Disputes related to short-term rentals in Arkansas are governed by a framework that includes mediation and legal recourse.

Enforcement Mechanisms

In Arkansas, the resolution of disputes and enforcement of short-term rental regulations relies on a structured framework designed to address various violations effectively. Here’s a detailed overview of the enforcement mechanisms:

  • Local Enforcement: The primary responsibility for handling most violations related to short-term rentals falls upon local authorities, such as city or county governments. These local entities have the jurisdiction and resources to manage day-to-day compliance issues. Common violations addressed by local enforcement may include noise disturbances, parking violations, or property maintenance issues. Local authorities typically issue warnings, citations, or fines based on the nature and severity of the violation;
  • State Involvement: In cases where short-term rental violations have broader legal implications or when local authorities encounter difficulties in enforcing regulations, the state government may become involved. State agencies, such as the Arkansas Department of Health, may step in to address health and safety concerns. Additionally, state laws and regulations may supersede local ordinances in certain situations, especially if there are inconsistencies between the two. State involvement often signifies more serious violations or recurring non-compliance.


To ensure compliance and deter violations, Arkansas short-term rental laws outline a range of penalties that can be imposed on hosts or property owners. These penalties are designed to encourage adherence to the established regulations and maintain the integrity of the short-term rental market. Penalties may include:

  • Fines: Fines are a common penalty for various violations, such as failing to follow safety regulations, disregarding local noise ordinances, or not complying with parking rules. The amount of the fine typically varies depending on the severity of the violation and may escalate for repeated offenses;
  • Rental Suspension: In more severe cases of non-compliance, local authorities or state agencies may opt to suspend a property’s ability to operate as a short-term rental for a specified period. This action aims to address recurring issues and protect the community from further disturbances;
  • Revocation: In extreme cases where egregious violations persist, the authorities may consider revoking the short-term rental permit altogether. This means that the property owner would no longer be allowed to offer their property as a short-term rental, and it may have long-term legal and financial consequences.


Navigating Arkansas short-term rental laws requires a thorough understanding of various legal, tax, and safety requirements. By adhering to these regulations, hosts can ensure a compliant, safe, and enjoyable experience for their guests, contributing positively to the vibrant short-term rental scene in Arkansas.


Are short-term rentals legal statewide in Arkansas?

Yes, but local regulations regarding safety, taxes, and community impact apply.

What taxes are applicable to short-term rentals in Arkansas?

State and local sales taxes, plus a tourism tax in certain areas.

Do I need additional insurance for operating a short-term rental?

Yes, standard homeowner’s insurance may not suffice. Liability and property coverage are recommended.

Are there specific safety requirements for short-term rentals?

Yes, including smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and adherence to building codes.

Can local authorities ban short-term rentals?

They cannot ban them outright but can regulate for health and safety.

What happens if I don’t comply with these laws?

Non-compliance can lead to fines, legal action, or revocation of the rental license.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *