Alaska Landlord Tenant Law

Looking for clear and concise information on Alaska landlord tenant law? Get all your answers from this plain English guide to the Alaska Landlord Tenant Act.

AK Landlord Tenant Law:

  • Alaska Statutes Title 34, Chapter 03 - Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act

Tenant Application

Application Fees

The landlord can ask prospective tenants for application fees to cover the costs of background and credit checks. Alaska landlord tenant law prohibits landlords from overcharging so 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.

If a prospective tenant is accepted and moves in, this application fee cannot be used as part of the security deposit.

If a prospective tenant is accepted but chooses NOT to move in, the landlord has to return what's left of the application fee (if any). In this case, the tenant is responsible for the landlord's cost of finding a replacement tenant (which includes lost rent during this period).

Background and Credit Check

You can screen tenant applicants with a background check or full credit report from RentPrep.

A background check will show a person's history of addresses, evictions, bankruptcies, judgments and liens.

A full credit report comes with a basic background check, credit check plus criminal check. A basic background check shows a person's history of addresses, evictions and bankruptcies.

Landlords do not need the tenant or applicant's consent to run background and credit checks.  Fair Credit Reporting Act § 604(a)(3)(F)

Avoiding Discrimination

The Fair Housing Act disallows landlords from discriminating against prospective renters based on their race, color, religion, sex, *familial status, national origin or physical/mental handicap.  42 U.S.C. § 3604

*Familial status - pregnant women and families with person(s) under 18.

In addition, Alaska landlord tenant law disallows landlords from discriminating someone as a renter because of his or her marital status (or change in marital status).  AS § 18.80.200

In the Municipality of Anchorage, it is also illegal for landlords to reject someone as a renter because of his or her age.  A.M.C. § 05.20.020

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Tenancy Agreement

(also known as a lease agreement or rental agreement)

Whether you're a landlord or tenant, it's important to have a written lease agreement with terms and conditions that favors you and follows your state laws.

To save time and avoid mistakes, you can customize your own lease agreement at LawDepot. This site will ask you a set of questions related to your tenancy and create a state-specific agreement based on your answers.

Required for Tenancy Agreement

Alaska landlord tenant law requires all tenancy agreements to contain the following details:

  • Name and address of person authorized to manage the property  AS 34.03.080.(a)(1)
  • Name and address of property owner or owner's agent (person authorized to act on behalf of owner)  AS § 34.03.080.(a)(2)
  • Terms and conditions for security deposit deductions  AS § 34.03.070.(c)
  • Disclosure and information of lead-based paint in the property (for housing built before 1978)

Recommended for Tenancy Agreement

  • Name and address of tenant(s)
  • Number of people (occupants) staying on the property
  • Type of tenancy: month to month tenancy or fixed term lease
  • How much is the rent
  • When, how and where the rent is to be paid
  • When is rent is considered late and the penalties for late rent payment
  • How much is the security deposit and pet deposit (if any)
  • Who holds the deposit(s) and where will it be held
  • What utilities and services are provided and who pays for them
  • What are the landlord's and tenant's duties for property maintenance
  • Can the tenant sublet the property or assign the lease
  • When to inform the landlord if tenant will be away for a long time
  • Prohibited activities and items

Disallowed for Tenancy Agreement

According to Alaska landlord tenant law AS § 34.03.040.(a), your lease agreement CANNOT:

  • make the landlord or tenant give up any legal rights and remedies under the Alaska Landlord and Tenant Act
  • permit the landlord to get a confession of judgment against the tenant
  • limit the landlord or tenant's liability when they have failed in their duties
  • make the tenant pay for the landlord's attorney fees (unless ordered by the courts)
  • make the tenant pay for rent when the landlord fails to maintain the property (as required by the law)  AS § 34.03.050, AS § 34.03.100.(a)
  • allow the landlord to seize the tenant's personal belongings  AS § 34.03.250

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Security Deposit

If the monthly rent of the unit is $2,000 or less, the landlord can ask for up to two month's rent as security deposit. If the monthly rent is more than $2,000, there is no limit for the security deposit amount (as long as the tenant is agreeable).  AS § 34.03.070.(a)

Alaska landlord tenant law requires the landlord to hold the security deposit in a trust account of a bank, savings loan association or licensed escrow agent. The landlord can combine security deposits from multiple tenants into a single account, but each tenant's security deposit has be individually accounted for. This trust account cannot contain other types of funds.  AS § 34.03.070.(c)

The tenant gets to keep any interest earned by the trust account (unless he or she agrees to forgo it in the lease agreement).

If the tenant keeps a pet (that is not a *service animal), the landlord can ask for an additional pet deposit. The maximum amount for this pet deposit is one month's rent and it can only be deducted for pet-related damages. *A service animal is an animal (usually a dog) that is trained to assist disabled people.  AS § 34.03.070.(h)

Deductions and Returns

Alaska 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 Alaska landlord tenant law) include:

  • Rent owed
  • Property damage due to negligence, misuse or abuse by tenant, occupants or tenant's guests
  • Costs and losses incurred by landlord due to the tenant failing in his or her duties - See Tenant Duties and Responsibilities below  AS § 34.02.120

The landlord is NOT allowed to take money from the security deposit due to damage from *normal wear and tear. *Normal wear and tear is the natural deterioration of the property (and its contents) from normal everyday use.   AS § 34.03.070.(b)

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 14 days. This list has to individually account for all damages and rent owed in writing.  AS § 34.03.070.(b)

This deadline is extended to 30 days if there are damages due to the tenant's fault or the tenant abandons the property (or doesn't give proper notice to quit).

If the landlord fails to follow Alaska landlord tenant law for deducting and returning security deposit, the tenant can recover up to two times the amount of security deposit.  AS § 34.03.070.(d)

If Property is Sold

Once the 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). Therefore the new owner should make sure that the previous owner transfers all security deposits and prepaid rents along with the property.  AS § 34.03.070.(f)

The previous owner is no longer responsible for the tenancy once ALL three conditions are met:

  1. The previous owner makes a proper transfer of all security deposits and prepaid rents to the new owner
  2. The previous owner informs the tenant in writing that the property is being sold
  3. The new owner and tenant enters into a new agreement on the condition and contents of the property

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Anchorage, Alaska AK

Alaska Landlord Tenant Law

Rent

Alaska landlord tenant law requires the tenant to pay 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.  AS § 34.03.020.(c)

Late Rent

There are no specific Alaska landlord tenant statutes on imposing charges for late rent payments. If the landlord wants to impose late rent charges, it must be specified in the lease agreement.
   
The government handbook recommends a 'low to reasonable' flat rate or per-day charge for late rent payments. 3 to 5% of the monthly rent is considered reasonable in most states, and the landlord cannot ask for more than 10.5% in Alaska.

Raising Rent

According to the Alaska Landlord Tenant Act, the landlord can choose to raise the rent by any amount.

For a month to month tenancy, the landlord has to notify the tenant of a rent increase at least 30 days in advance. The tenant can then choose to pay the higher rent or move out. If the tenant chooses to leave, he or she should give the landlord a 30 day notice to terminate tenancy in writing.

For a fixed term tenancy, the landlord isn't allowed to raise the rent until the tenancy expires.

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Property Maintenance

Landlord Duties and Responsibilities

The Alaska Landlord Tenant Act AS § 34.03.100 requires the landlord to maintain the property in a safe and habitable condition:

  • Repairs: Make all repairs to keep the property safe and habitable
  • Common Areas: Keep all common areas clean and safe (includes removing snow and ice from common areas)
  • Maintenance: Maintain all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, kitchen facilities in safe working condition
  • Waste Disposal: Provide outlets for waste disposal and arrange for waste removal
  • Heating: Supply running water, hot water and heating (as far as conditions allow)
  • Security: Provide and maintain locks and keys (if requested by the tenant)
  • Smoke Detectors: Provide smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

Tenant Duties and Responsibilities

Alaska landlord tenant law AS § 34.03.120 also requires the tenant to keep the property in a clean and safe condition:

  • Cleanliness: Keep the property clean and safe (as far as conditions will allow)
  • Waste Disposal: Dispose all waste from the property in a clean and safe manner
  • Proper Usage: Use all facilities and appliances properly. This includes all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, kitchen and common area facilities (e.g. elevators)
  • Property Damage: Avoid property damage due to negligence, misuse or abuse by the tenant, occupants or tenant's guests
  • Neighbors: Avoid disturbing neighbors and also disallow others from disturbing neighbors
  • Smoke Detectors: Maintain the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors  AS § 18.70.095
  • Security: Obtain the landlord's permission in writing before changing door locks. After changing locks, the tenant must provide the landlord with the new door keys immediately.
  • Overcrowding: Avoid exceeding the maximum number of people allowed on the property (by the lease agreement or Alaska landlord tenant law)

If Landlord Fails to Maintain Property

If the landlord fails in his or her responsibilities, the tenant has two choices:

1. The tenant can move out (if it affects the tenant's health and safety)

The tenant must give the landlord a written notice stating the problem and giving the landlord 10 days to fix it, or else the tenant will move out in 20 days. If the problem is fixed within 10 days (of the landlord receiving this notice), the tenancy will continue.

2. The tenant can sue the landlord for damages

If the landlord violates the lease agreement or Alaska landlord tenant law, the tenant can sue the landlord in court for damages or to obtain a court order (that requires the landlord to do, or stop doing something). If total damages are less than $10,000, the tenant may sue the landlord in small claims court.  AS § 34.03.160

If Landlord Fails to Provide Essential Services

If the landlord fails to provide an essential service (such as heat, water, electricity, plumbing or sanitation), the tenant has three choices:

1. The tenant can make repairs and deduct the cost from rent

The tenant has to inform the landlord in writing that he or she intends to fix the problem and deduct the expenses from next month's rent. The tenant should keep the receipts for all related costs.  AS § 34.03.180.(a)(1)

2. The tenant can sue the landlord for damages

If the problems are severe and diminish the property's rental value, the tenant can sue the landlord to recover damages.  AS § 34.03.180.(a)(2), AS § 34.03.190

3. The tenant can move to substitute housing for the time being

The tenant can give the landlord written notice that he or she is moving into substitute housing. The tenant doesn't have to pay rent until the problem is fixed. If the substitute housing costs more, the tenant can ask the landlord to pay for the difference (as long as the costs are reasonable).  AS § 34.03.180.(a)(3)

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Property Access

When Tenant's Permission is Required

According to Alaska landlord tenant law AS § 34.03.140.(a), the landlord is only allowed to enter the property for the following reasons:

  • Carrying out property inspection
  • Performing property maintenance or repairs
  • Supplying essential (or mutually agreed) services and utilities
  • Removing landlord's belongings (that are not part of the tenancy agreement)
  • Showing property to prospective buyers, tenants or contractors
  • Removing landlord's belongings (that are not part of the tenancy agreement)

In the above situations, the landlord must inform the tenant at least 24 hours in advance before entering the property. The landlord can only enter the property with the tenant's consent and during reasonable hours.  AS § 34.03.140.(c)

When Tenant's Permission is NOT Required

According to Alaska landlord tenant law, the landlord may enter the property without permission in the following situations:

  • Emergencies such as smoke, fire, flooding or explosion  AS § 34.03.140.(b)
  • It is not possible to contact the tenant by normal means
  • Tenant has been away from the property for more than seven days without notice  AS 34.03.140.(d)(2)

If Tenant Refuses Landlord's Valid Request to Enter Property

The tenant cannot deny access if the landlord has a valid reason to enter the property. Otherwise the landlord can EITHER

  1. obtain a court order that requires the tenant to let the landlord in OR
  2. terminate the lease agreement by giving the tenant a written notice at least 10 days in advance.

In addition, the landlord may also sue the tenant for one month's rent. If actual damages exceeds one month's rent, the landlord may sue for the full amount.  AS § 34.03.300.(a)

If Landlord Enters Property Illegally

The landlord must have a valid reason and obtain the tenant's permission (whenever required by Alaska landlord tenant law) to enter the property. If the landlord fails to do so or harasses the tenant, the tenant can EITHER

  1. obtain a court order that stops the landlord from entering the property illegally or harassing the tenant OR
  2. terminate the lease agreement by giving the tenant a written notice at least 10 days in advance.

In addition, the tenant may also sue the landlord for one month's rent PLUS court costs and attorney fees. If actual damages exceeds one month's rent, the tenant may sue for the full amount.  AS § 34.03.300.(b)

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Subletting

Alaska landlord tenant law disallows subletting unless the landlord agrees to it in writing.  AS § 34.03.060.(a)

If the lease agreement allows subletting, every prospective subtenant may present the landlord a written offer containing the following details of the SUBTENANT:

  • Name, age*, present address, marital status
  • Name and address of employer
  • Name and address of previous landlord(s) for the past three years
  • Two credit references
  • Number of accompanying occupants

*The landlord cannot ask a prospective subtenant for his or her age in the Municipality of Anchorage  AMC § 05.20.020

Rejecting Subtenants

The landlord can reject a subletting offer by giving the tenant a written rejection within 14 days. The rejection has to contain one or more of the following valid reasons:

  • Subtenant's bad credit report or financial standings
  • Too many people in the household
  • Subtenant is unwilling to follow existing lease agreement terms
  • Subtenant's pets
  • Subtenant's proposed commercial activity
  • Unsatisfactory rental history according to subtenant's previous landlord

If the landlord doesn't give a written rejection within 14 days, it is assumed that the landlord has consented to the sublease. If the reason for rejection isn't valid, the tenant can EITHER proceed with subletting OR terminate the lease agreement (by giving the landlord a written notice 30 days in advance).  AS § 34.03.060.(e)

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Juneau, Alaska AK

Juneau, Alaska AK

Termination of Tenancy

Number of Days for Notice to Quit

Alaska landlord tenant law requires you to give the other party a written notice to quit before terminating a tenancy.  AS § 34.03.290

For a week to week tenancy, you must give this notice at least 14 days before the termination date.

For a month to month tenancy, you have to give this notice at least 30 days in advance.

TENANT

If you are the tenant, the following are the minimum number of days for giving your landlord a notice to quit:

Landlord raised rent (for month to month tenancy)

30 days

Landlord failed to maintain property

20 days

Landlord entered property illegally

10 days

Landlord rejected subletting without valid reason

30 days

Property damage due to fire, disaster or unavoidable accident

Immediate

Property Damage Due to Fire, Disaster or Unavoidable Accident

If the property is badly damaged by fire, disasters or (unavoidable) accidents, the tenant can immediately move out and stop paying rent. The tenant must inform the landlord that he or she intends to terminate the tenancy, and the tenancy will be terminated once the tenant moves out.

After the tenant moves out, the landlord must return the security deposit (after any deductions) to the tenant. The tenant won't have to pay rent starting from the date of the fire or natural disaster, so the landlord must also return any prepaid rent to the tenant.

If only part of the property is damaged, the tenant should move out of the damaged area. The rent amount will be lowered based on how much of the property is still livable.  AS § 34.03.200.(a)

Notice to Quit Contents

If you are the tenant, your notice must contain the following:

  • Address of rental property
  • Termination date and time
  • Signature of person giving the notice

If you're the landlord, your notice must ALSO contain the following:

  • Why the tenancy is being terminated
  • Any corrective action that tenant may take to avoid termination of tenancy and when it must be completed (if applicable)
  • Landlord may sue to remove tenant from the property if tenant doesn't move out by termination date  AS § 09.45.105

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Eviction

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

7 days

Tenant or related person deliberately caused property damage

1 day

Tenant violated tenancy agreement or didn't perform duties

10 days

Tenant or related person was involved in illegal activities on property

5 days

Tenant did not pay utility bills

5 days

Whether you are a landlord evicting someone or a tenant facing eviction, it's important that you handle matters correctly according to your state laws.

If you have any questions or doubts on eviction, you can ask a local landlord tenant lawyer online.

Tenant Did Not Pay Rent

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 owed and inform the tenant that he or she can choose to pay or move out.  AS § 09.45.105

If the rent is paid within seven days, the tenant may stay. If the tenant tries to pay rent after seven days, the landlord may refuse the rent and continue with eviction.  AS § 34.03.220.(b)

Tenant or Related Person Deliberately Caused Property Damage

If the tenant (or tenant's occupant or tenant's guest) deliberately caused more than $400 of damage to the property, the landlord can send the tenant 24 hour written notice to terminate the tenancy.  AS § 34.03.220.(a)(1)

Even if the tenant offers to repair the damage, the landlord may still go ahead with the eviction. In any case, the tenant will still be responsible for the repair costs.

Tenant Violated Tenancy Agreement or Didn't Perform Duties

If the tenant violates the tenancy agreement in a *significant manner, the landlord can send the tenant a ten day written notice to terminate the tenancy. Similarly if the tenant fails to perform his or her duties (as required by Alaska landlord tenant law) in a *significant manner, the landlord can also send the tenant a ten day written notice to terminate the tenancy. *Significant manner refers to situations that affects human health and safety.

This written notice has to state what is the tenant's violation or failure in duty. If the tenant corrects the problem within 10 days, the tenant may stay.  AS § 34.03.220.(a)(2)

However if the tenant violates the tenancy agreement (or fails in his or her duty) in a similar manner within six months, the landlord can evict the tenant by sending him or her a written five day notice. In this case, the tenant must move out.

Tenant or Related Person was Involved in Illegal Activities on Property

If the tenant (or tenant's occupant or tenant's guest) engaged in illegal activity on the property, the landlord can evict the tenant by sending the tenant a written five day notice. Examples of illegal activities include prostitution, gambling, illegal drug production or sale.  AS § 34.03.220.(a)(1), AS § 09.45.090.(a)(2)(G)

Tenant Did Not Pay Utility Bills

If a public utility cuts off electricity, water or gas to the property because the tenant did not pay utility bills, the landlord can send the tenant a five day written notice to terminate the tenancy.  AS § 34.03.220.(e)

Eviction Notice

Also known as "Notice of Termination of Tenancy" or "Notice to Quit", Alaska landlord tenant law AS § 09.45.105 requires all eviction notices to contain the following:

  • Reason(s) for termination of tenancy
  • Date and time that tenancy will terminate
  • State that the tenant must move out of the property by the termination date and time
  • State that the landlord may sue to remove the tenant from the property if the tenant doesn't move out by termination date and time

If Alaska landlord tenant law allows the tenant to avoid eviction by correcting the problem(s), the eviction notice must also contain:

  • Corrective action(s) to be taken by the tenant
  • Date and time that the corrective action(s) must be completed

The landlord can serve an eviction notice to the tenant in three ways:

  1. Delivering the notice to the tenant in person
  2. Leave the notice at the property if the tenant is absent
  3. Send the notice by registered or certified mail  AS § 09.45.100.(c)

Unlawful Eviction

According to Alaska landlord tenant law, the landlord CANNOT force the tenant to move out by shutting off utilities (electricity, water, gas, sanitation), changing the locks, taking the tenant's belongings or taking possession of the property by force without a court hearing.  AS § 34.03.040.(a)(1)

If the landlord forces the tenant to move out with (the unlawful methods above) or shuts off utilities, the tenant can EITHER

  1. regain possession of the property OR
  2. terminate the tenancy agreement

In addition, the tenant may also sue the landlord for 1.5 times the amount of actual damages.  AS § 34.03.210

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Abandonment

When is it Abandonment?

According to the Alaska Landlord Tenant Act, the tenant has abandoned the property when ALL three conditions are met:

  1. Tenant is late in paying rent
  2. Tenant has been absent from the property for more than seven consecutive days, but has left his or her belongings in the property  AS § 34.03.360.(1)
  3. Tenant did not inform the landlord that he or she will be away from the property for more than seven days  AS § 34.03.150

Once the property is abandoned, the landlord may enter it, clean it, and re-rent it.

As long as the landlord makes a proper effort to re-rent the 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.  AS § 34.03.230.(c)

Dealing with Abandoned Belongings

If the tenant abandoned the property and left his or her personal belongings behind, the landlord must inform the tenant where the belongings are stored AND give the tenant at least 15 days to remove them.  AS § 34.03.260

The landlord must also state what he or she intends to do with the belongings if it is not removed. The landlord can choose to destroy, dispose or sell the belongings (in a public sale).

While the landlord has to make a reasonable effort to store the abandoned belongings, the landlord isn't responsible for any damage or losses... unless it's due to the landlord's abuse or neglect. If the abandoned belongings are moved to a commercial storage company, the tenant will be responsible for the moving and storage costs.

If the landlord chooses to sell the abandoned belongings, he or she has to hold a public sale. The landlord should post a written public sale notice in *three places at least 10 days before the sale. *The three places has to be within five miles of the public sale location, and one of them must be at the nearest post office.  AS § 34.03.260(e), AS § 09.35.140

The landlord may use revenue from the public sale to pay for the following:

  • Cost of moving and storing the abandoned belongings
  • Cost of holding the public sale
  • Any remaining rent owed or damages that the tenant is responsible for (after deducting from the security deposit first)

Any leftover revenue should be paid to the tenant. If the tenant cannot be contacted, the landlord may be required to pay the leftover revenue to the Department of Revenue under the unclaimed property law.  AS § 34.45

If the landlord deliberately violates or neglects Alaska landlord tenant laws on abandonment, the tenant may sue the landlord for up to two times the amount of actual damages.  AS § 34.03.260.(d)

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Mobile Homes

There are specific rules in Alaska landlord tenant law for mobile home owners renting parking space from mobile home park operators.

Rental Agreement

The rental agreement between the mobile home owner and mobile home park operator CANNOT

  • prevent the mobile home owner from selling the mobile home
  • require the mobile home owner to make permanent improvements to park property
  • make the mobile home owner pay a fee to sell or transfer the mobile home
  • make the mobile home owner pay a fee to move the mobile home into or out of the park  AS § 34.03.040.(c)

Before entering into a rental agreement, the park operator must inform the mobile home owner of all required capital improvements (to be made by the mobile home owner) in writing. Examples of such improvements are skirting, utility hook-ups and tie downs.  AS § 34.03.080.(d)

Eviction

The park operator can ONLY evict a mobile home owner for the following reasons:

  • The mobile home owner is late in paying rent and failed to pay even after receiving a written seven day notice
  • The mobile home owner has been convicted of violating the law PLUS this violation is persisting and endangers the health and safety of others in the park
  • The mobile home owner has violated the rental agreement and did not correct the problem even after receiving a written notice from the park operator
  • Change use of land use on which the park sits

In the case of mobile homes, the time period for giving notice to quit is the same as all other types of residential properties - See Eviction and Termination of Tenancy above. The only exception is eviction due to change in land use - Notice must be given at least 270 days in advance and may extend to one year (depending on municipal laws and the new purpose of the land).  AS § 34.03.225.(a)

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Resources

Alaska Landlord Tenant Law: Alaska Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act

Alaska Landlord Tenant Handbook: The Alaska Landlord and Tenant Act: What It Means to You

Eviction: Information for Landlords and Tenant about Forcible Entry and Detainer Actions

If you have any questions or need legal advice, you can ask a local landlord tenant lawyer online.

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