Alabama Landlord Tenant Rights
If you’re a landlord or tenant in Alabama, you may be curious to what your rights and responsibilities are; leasing a home to someone or leasing the home yourself is a huge financial commitment. Let’s take a quick look at Alabama landlord and tenant rights below and explore what landlords and tenants can and can’t do under city and state laws.
Landlords have specific responsibilities to their tenants. Unless the premises is a condominium or mobile home, landlord responsibilities include:
- Provide housing that is safe and habitable
- Disclosing all lead paint hazards
- Make needed repairs to, and maintenance of, the premises, such as:
- Structural components
- Failure to provide the above, 14 days after written notice, will result in a refund of the security deposit as well as possible actual damages and reasonable attorney’s fees
- Treat bedbugs in the home
- Maintain safe and clean common areas
- Facilitating trash pickup
- Give tenants 2-day notice before entering the premises unless in an emergency
Tenants have the above rights even if a formal lease doesn’t exist.
Landlords are forbidden from:
- Raising the rent during the term of the lease
- Making changes to the lease during its term
- Engaging in retaliatory conduct (such as threatening to start eviction proceedings if the tenant reports an unsafe condition)
Tenants also have responsibilities to their landlords, such as:
- Keeping the residence clean and free from hazards
- Not damaging the property
- Not disturbing other tenants
- No illegal activity on the premises
- Dispose of all trash
- Keep plumbing clear
- Reasonable use of appliances
- Must abide by any 7-day notices to clean or repair
- Pay rent (even if repairs are needed)
- Refrain from making repairs or improvements on the property themselves
- Must allow the landlord to come into the residence with proper notice
- Inform the landlord if the tenant will be absent from the property for two weeks or more
- Provide the landlord with a valid forwarding address
The security deposit for an Alabama leased residence can’t exceed one month’s rent.
Landlords can withhold the security deposit to make repairs and in other instances. If this is the case, they must provide the tenant with an itemized list of the amounts withheld and a description of the reason for withholding the funds and deliver this itemized list to the tenant via first class mail within 60 days.
If none exist, they must return a tenant’s security deposit 35 days after the end of the lease, or owe the tenant double the amount. Tenants must cash their returned security deposit within 180 days, or forfeit it.
Rent and Fees
There are also laws concerning the payment of rents and additional fees. Landlords have the right to collect rent in a timely manner. They can ask for additional fees along with the security deposit for:
- Tenant activities that increase the risk of liability
Landlords have the right to evict tenants if the lease has expired or is violated, but must abide by certain rules when doing so. There are only certain circumstances when the landlord can evict tenants, including:
- Nonpayment of rent
- Violation of lease terms
- False information provided by tenants
- No lease
- Expiration of lease
- Tenants committed a material health or safety violation
- Illegal acts were committed on the property.
- Notice of termination for non-payment of rent must be given 7 days prior to eviction
Tenants have the right to pursue some forms of alternative action if the lease is violated by the landlord, such as bringing a case in small claims court.
Lease Termination Notice
In most cases, the landlord must give the tenant notice before eviction, unless the lease is for a specified amount of time. If the lease runs month to month, the landlord must provide the tenants with a 30-day eviction notice. If the lease is on a weekly basis, the tenants must be given a 7-day notice of eviction.
Relevant State Agencies
Official Rules and Regulations
Landlord and tenant rights are protected by state law. Alabama is one of only a handful of states that has not adopted the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, but does have their own version of the act.