Looking for clear and concise information on Alabama landlord tenant law? Get all your answers from this plain English guide to the Alabama Landlord Tenant Act.
AL Landlord Tenant Law:
The landlord can ask prospective tenants for application fees to cover the costs of background and credit checks. The fee amount should be reasonable - We recommend charging $25 to $30 per applicant. If the landlord did not run any tenant screening checks, the fees should be refunded.
Before running background or credit checks on tenant applicants, landlords must first obtain the applicant's written permission. [Fair Credit Reporting Act Sec.604(a)(3)(F)]
For landlords to run background and credit checks, the tenant application form needs to ask for the applicant's:
The federal Fair Housing Act disallows landlords from rejecting prospective renters based on their race, color, religion, nationality, sex, *familial status or physical/mental disability. *Familial status means landlords cannot reject someone for having one or more children under 18. Familial status also includes pregnant women and people planning to have (or adapt) children under 18.
A tenancy agreement (also known as a lease agreement or rental agreement) can be written or verbal.
The landlord and tenant can choose between a month to month tenancy or fixed term lease. For a month to month tenancy, the landlord or tenant can change its terms and conditions at the end of every month. For a fixed term lease, the landlord and tenant CANNOT change the lease terms and conditions during its duration... unless there is written consent from both parties.
Unless the tenancy agreement specifies a fixed term lease, the landlord and tenant will enter into a month to month tenancy by default. If the tenant is paying rent weekly (instead of monthly), then the tenancy will be week to week. [AL 35-9A-161.(d)]
Alabama landlord tenant law requires all tenancy agreements to contain the following details:
According to Alabama landlord tenant law, your lease agreement CANNOT:
If the landlord deliberately includes these disallowed terms and conditions in the tenancy agreement, the tenant can sue the landlord for one month's rent and (reasonable) attorney fees.
Alabama landlord tenant law allows the landlord to ask for up to one month's rent as security deposit. If there are pets, changes to the premises or increased liability risks (to the landlord or premises), the landlord can ask for additional deposit. [AL 35-9A-201.(a)]
Alabama landlord tenant law requires the landlord to inform the tenant of the terms and conditions for security deposit deductions.
Valid reasons for security deposit deductions (under Alabama landlord tenant law) include:
Once the lease terminates and the tenant returns the property, the landlord must send the tenant a list of security deposit deductions and refund any remaining deposit within 60 days. This list has to individually account for all damages and rent owed in writing. [AL 35-9A-201.(b)]
If the landlord isn't returning the entire deposit, he or she must send the tenant an itemized list of deductions within 60 days. [AL 35-9A-201.(c)]
Once the tenant vacates the property, he or she shall provide an address for the landlord to mail the deposit and itemized list of deductions (if applicable). If the tenant did not provide an address, the landlord shall send the deposit and itemized list to the tenant's last known address or the rental property by first class mail. [AL 35-9A-201.(d)]
If the tenant fails to claim any deposit or outstanding check within 90 days, it will be forfeited.
If the landlord fails to follow Alabama landlord tenant law for deducting and returning security deposit, the tenant can recover up to two times the amount of security deposit. [AL 35-9A-201.(f)]
Once property ownership is transferred, the new owner will be responsible for refunding any security deposit or prepaid rent to the tenant (at the end of the tenancy). [AL 35-9A-205.(a)] Therefore the new owner should make sure that the previous owner transfers all security deposits and prepaid rents along with the property.
The previous owner is no longer responsible for the tenancy once ALL three conditions are met:
Birmingham, Alabama AL
The tenant has to pay the rent without demand or reminders. As long as the landlord and tenant are agreeable, they can choose the time, place and method of rent payment.
By default, rent is payable once the tenancy begins and shall be paid on the same day of every month. Rent is to be collected at the rental property. [AL 35-9A-161.(c)]
There are no Alabama landlord tenant statutes on imposing charges for late rent payments.
If the landlord wants to impose late rent charges, it has to be specified in the tenancy agreement. While there are no state laws on late fees, landlords cannot overcharge or impose unfair terms. Otherwise the tenant can refuse to pay and challenge the late fees in court.
Most states consider reasonable late fees to be around 3 to 5% of the rent amount. In addition, landlords should wait until rent payment is at least three days late before charging late fees.
There are no specific Alabama landlord tenant statutes on raising rent.
We recommend that the landlord and tenant work out the following details and include them in the rental agreement:
The Alabama Landlord Tenant Act requires the landlord to maintain the property in a safe and habitable condition:
Alabama landlord tenant law also requires the tenant to keep the property in a clean and safe condition:
If the landlord fails to maintain the property (and it affects the tenant's health and safety) OR severely violates the rental agreement, the tenant can give the landlord a written notice stating the problem and giving the landlord 14 days to correct it. [AL 35-9A-401.(a)]
If the problem is corrected within 14 days (of the landlord receiving this notice), the tenancy shall continue. [AL 35-9A-401.(a)(1)]
If the problem isn't corrected within 14 days, the tenancy shall terminate and the tenant can move out. In this case, the landlord has to return all security deposits and prepaid rents (after deductions) to the tenant. [AL 35-9A-401.(d)]
In addition, the tenant may also sue the landlord for actual damages plus attorney fees AND obtain a court order to make the landlord follow the tenancy agreement and Alabama landlord tenant law. [AL 35-9A-401.(b)]
According to AL landlord tenant law, the landlord doesn't have to pay for utility services unless he or she agrees to in the rental agreement. [AL 35-9A-404.(a)]
If the landlord fails to supply electricity, heating, running water, hot water, gas and other essential services, the tenant can give the landlord a written notice to terminate the rental agreement after 14 days.
In this case, the landlord has to return all security deposits and prepaid rents (after deductions) to the tenant. [AL 35-9A-404.(b)(1)]
In addition, the tenant may also sue the landlord for damages based on the property's decline in rental value (due to the lack of essential services). [AL 35-9A-404.(b)(2)]
According to Alabama landlord tenant law, the landlord is allowed to enter the property for the following reasons [AL 35-9A-303.(a)]:
In the above situations, the landlord must inform the tenant at least 48 hours in advance before entering the property. The landlord can only enter the property with the tenant's consent and during reasonable hours.
Alabama landlord tenant law allows the landlord to inform the tenant by posting a written notice on the main entrance of the property. This notice must state the intended time and purpose of entry. [AL 35-9A-303.(c)]
According to Alabama landlord tenant law, the landlord may enter the property without permission in the following situations:
The tenant cannot deny access if the landlord has a valid reason to enter the property. Otherwise the landlord can EITHER
In addition, the landlord may also sue the tenant for actual damages. [AL 35-9A-442.(a)]
The landlord must have a valid reason and obtain the tenant's permission (whenever required by Alabama landlord tenant law) to enter the property. If the landlord fails to do so or harasses the tenant, the tenant can EITHER
In addition, the tenant may also sue the landlord for actual damages. [AL 35-9A-442.(b)]
There are no specific Alabama landlord tenant laws on subletting.
We recommend that the landlord and tenant work out the following details and include them in the rental agreement:
Montgomery, Alabama AL
Alabama landlord tenant law requires you to give the other party a written notice to quit before terminating a tenancy.
For a week to week tenancy, you must give this notice at least 7 days before the termination date. [AL 35-9A-441.(a)]
For a month to month tenancy, you have to give this notice at least 30 days in advance. [AL 35-9A-441.(b)]
If you are the tenant, the following are the minimum number of days for giving your landlord a notice to quit:
Landlord violated tenancy agreement or didn't perform duties
Landlord entered property illegally
Property damage due to fire, disaster or accident
If the property is badly damaged by fire, disasters or (unavoidable) accidents, the tenant can move out immediately THEN notify the landlord within 14 days that he or she intends to terminate the tenancy. This notice must be in writing and the tenancy will terminate once the tenant moves out. [AL 35-9A-406.(a)(1)]
After the tenant moves out, the landlord has to return all security deposits and prepaid rents (after deductions) to the tenant. According to Alabama landlord tenant law, the tenant shall not be charged for rent starting from the date of the fire, disaster or accident. [AL 35-9A-406.(b)]
If the property is still habitable, the tenant should stay out of any damaged area. The rent amount shall be reduced based on the extent of property damage. [AL 35-9A-406.(a)(2)]
According to Alaska landlord tenant law, the following are valid reasons for evicting tenants and the minimum number of days for giving them a notice to quit:
Tenant did not pay rent
Tenant violated tenancy agreement or didn't perform duties
Tenant refused landlord's valid request to enter property
If the tenant did not pay rent on time, the landlord can send the tenant a seven day written notice to terminate the tenancy. This notice must state the amount of rent and any late fees owed.
If the rent and late fees are paid within seven days, the tenant may stay. [AL 35-9A-421.(b)]
If the tenant violates the tenancy agreement in a *significant manner, the landlord can send the tenant a 14 day written notice to terminate the tenancy. *Significant manner refers to situations that affects human health and safety.
Similarly if the tenant fails to perform his or her duties (see Tenant Duties and Responsibilities above) in a *significant manner, the landlord can also send the tenant a 14 day written notice to terminate the tenancy.
This written notice has to state what is the tenant's violation or failure in duty. If the tenant corrects the problem within 14 days, the tenant may stay. [AL 35-9A-421.(a)]
If the tenant continues staying on the property (without the landlord's consent) after the rental agreement expires or is terminated, the landlord can sue the tenant for three month's rent plus attorney fees. If actual
damages exceeds three month's rent, the landlord may sue for the full
amount. [AL 33-9A-441.(c)]
According to Alabama landlord tenant law, the landlord CANNOT force the tenant to move out by shutting off utilities (electricity, water, gas, sanitation), taking the tenant's belongings or taking possession of the property by force without a court hearing.
If the landlord forces the tenant to move out with (the unlawful methods above) or shuts off utilities, the tenant can EITHER
In addition, the tenant may also sue the landlord for three month's rent plus attorney fees. If actual damages exceeds three month's rent, the tenant may sue for the full amount. [AL 33-9A-441.(c)]
Alabama landlord tenant law doesn't state what situations are considered as abandonment of the property by the tenant.
However the rental agreement can include the following requirement: The tenant must inform the landlord if he or she is expected to be absent from the property for more than 14 days. The tenant has to inform the landlord no later than the fifth day of absence. [AL 35-9A-304]
If the rental agreement contains the above requirement and the tenant fails to inform the landlord on time, the landlord can sue the tenant for actual damages. [AL 35-9A-423.(a)]
As long as the landlord makes a proper effort to re-rent the abandoned property at a fair rate, the abandoning tenant will be responsible for paying rent until the tenancy ends. If a new tenant is moving in before the tenancy ends, then the abandoning tenant can stop paying rent once the new tenant moves in. [AL 35-9A-423.(c)]
Alabama Landlord Tenant Law: Alabama Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act
Alabama Landlord Tenant Handbook: The Alabama Tenant's Handbook