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Alabama Landlord-Tenant Laws

Alabama Landlord Tenant LawsThis article is intended to be an online resource for Alabama landlords.  We summarize key Alabama Landlord-Tenant laws that are most applicable to residential rental units.

This article is not qualified legal advice.  Individuals seeking guidance need to work with a legal advisor who is qualified in the jurisdiction.  Alabama Landlord Tenant Laws and statutes may vary from county to county or city to city, this article provides state level laws and statutes. 

Also, laws and statutes are subject to change and may cause sections of this article to be outdated.  We provide links to assist landlords and tenants to the state statute page for further research.

Click here if you are seeking renters insurance in Alabama.

 

Quick Facts for Real Estate Investors Considering Alabama

Alabama landlord-tenant laws are considered Landlord friendly.

There are 4.8 million residents in Alabama.  Major metropolitan markets in Alabama are:

  • Birmingham-Hoover: Estimated population of 1,128,047, which 32% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $842
  • Huntsville: Estimated population of 462,693, which 32% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $784
  • Mobile: Estimated population of 412,992, which 36% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $810
  • Montgomery: Estimated population of 374,536, which 36% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $845

 

Jump to Different Alabama Landlord Tenant Laws

 

 

 

 

SECURITY DEPOSIT LAWS IN ALABAMA

 

Does Alabama require security deposits? 

Alabama does not require security deposits.  (Ala. Code § 35-9A-201(a))

Is a security deposit receipt required in Alabama? 

Alabama does not require landlords to provide a receipt of security deposit.

How much security deposit can a landlord charge in Alabama? 

In Alabama, a landlord can charge one month’s rent for security deposit. 

Storage Requirements for Security Deposits in Alabama:

No statute

Can security deposits be commingled with other assets in Alabama? 

Alabama landlords can commingle their security deposits with other assets.  However, it is always recommended to keep them separated.  Alabama has no statute.

Do landlords have to pay interest on security deposits in Alabama? 

Landlords are not required to pay interest on security deposits. 

When must a landlord return the deposit by in Alabama? 

In Alabama, landlords have 35 days to return the security deposit. 

When can a landlord in Alabama withhold security deposit?

At the end of a lease, the landlord is required to return the tenant’s security deposit.  However, landlords may withhold all or portions of a tenant’s security deposit if:

  • Damage in excess of normal wear and tear
  • Unpaid rent
  • Breach of lease

 

Landlords must include a list with the remaining security deposit.  That list must be sent via first-class mail.   (Ala. Code § 35-9A-301).

Nonrefundable fees: 

No Statute.

Require written description / itemized list of damages and charges?

Landlords are required to provide written and itemized list of damages, sent via first-class mail.  (Ala. Code § 35-9A-201(d))

What happens to Alabama landlords that fail to comply returning the security deposit?

When landlords in Alabama fail to comply with state law (Ala. Code § 35-9A-201(f)), they can be penalized twice the amount of the security deposit when the landlord does not an itemized list or security deposit within 60 days.

 

 

 

 

 

RENTAL AGREEMENT LAWS IN ALABAMA

 

Rental agreements required in Alabama:

Tenancies 12 months or longer in Alabama require a rental agreement.  If tenancy is less, it is still encouraged to create a written rental agreement.  If you need a lease, Burbz offers an online Alabama rental lease agreement.

What are the required lease provisions in Alabama?

Alabama requires certain provisions to be included in the lease agreement.  Besides both the landlord and tenant names, the landlord should also list:

  • Amount of Rent
  • Tenant name
  • Landlord name
  • Liable party for utility responsibilities
  • Rental unit description
  • Late fee clause
  • Security deposit clause

 

It is also strongly recommended to include these provisions:

  • Landlord’s responsibilities
  • Tenant’s responsibilities
  • Pet policies
  • Cleaning Fees
  • Other fees

 


Landlords cannot include:

  • Tenant’s waiving their Landlord-Tenant Act rights or remedies
  • Tenant must pay for landlord’s legal fees associated with disputes over their lease agreement
  • Tenant accepting a blank waiver / indemnifies for landlord’s potential liability

 

What are the rental agreement notice requirements in Alabama: 

Fixed-End or Year-to-Year:No notice.

Month-to-Month: 30 days or more from lease expiration. (Ala. Code § 35-9A-441(b))

Week-to-Week: 7 days notice or more from lease expiration. (Ala. Code § 35-9A-441(a))

What happens when the tenant remains without consent after the rental agreement expires or terminates?

No Statute.

Does the lease automatically renew in Alabama? 

Leases terminate upon expiration, unless stated in the lease agreement.

Rent Increase Notice:

No statute.

Rent Grace Period for Residential:

No statute.

Rent Grace Period for Manufactured Homes:

No statute.

Prepaid Rent:

No statute.

 

 

 

 

 

Late Fees and Limits in Alabama

Late Fees for Residential:

No statute. 

Late Fees for Manufactured Homes:

No statute.

 

Limits to late fees in Alabama:

No statute.

 

 

 

 

 

ALABAMA LEASE TERMINATIONS / NOTICES TO QUIT

 

In Alabama, lease agreements between landlords and tenants can be terminated.  Read our blog for landlords about handling early lease terminations.  Here are the cause and effects:

 

What is the Pay or Quit for Nonpayment requirement in Alabama?

Alabama requires 7 days to remedy or quit.

How many days must a landlord allow before terminating for a Lease Violation?

If the tenant breaches the Lease Agreement besides unpaid rent, Alabama requires landlords to provide 14 days to remedy or quit. 

How many days when terminating for Falsification of Information? 

No Statute.

 

 

 

 

 

ALABAMA LAWS ON REPAIRS

 

Alabama tenants have no statutory right to make repairs and deduct the cost from rent.  

How many days must the tenant give for non-emergency repairs? 

14 days for non-emergencies.

Can tenant without rent for landlords’ failure to provide essential services (i.e. water, heat, etc.)?

Yes.  (Ala. Code § 35-9A-401)

 

 

If the landlord fails to take necessary action, then the tenants can legally:

Alabama allows tenants to:

  • Terminate the lease, in 14-days
  • Full refund of security deposit
  • Recover cost for actual damages
  • Recover of reasonable attorney fees

 

 

 

ALABAMA LANDLORD RESPONSIBILITIES

What must the landlord provide in good and working order?

Alabama defines certain responsibilities for landlords, including:

  • Must comply with all applicable building codes affecting health and safety
  • Must keep all common areas in a clean and safe condition
  • Must supply running water and reasonable amounts of hot water, at all times.
  • Must maintain facilities and appliances in good and working order, including:
  • Habitable unit
  • Electrical
  • Plumbing
  • Heating
  • Ventilating
  • Air Conditioning
  • Running water with reasonable amounts of hot water

More information at (Ala. Code § 35-9A-204).

 

Do landlords have to provide appliances and services?

No Statute.

 

 

 

 

ALABAMA TENANT LAWS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

 

Tenant must maintain a fit and habitable premise and is prohibited from intentionally or negligently damaging or removing any part of the premise.  (Ala. Code § 35-9A-301)

 

 

 

 

 

ALABAMA EVICTION LAWS

 

Alabama requires a landlord to file a Summons and Complaint for Unlawful Detainer action to evict a tenant. 

Landlords may evict tenants for the following:

  • Not paying rent
  • Breach of lease agreement

 

Eviction Process for Landlords:

1.  Notice
Landlords must provide the tenant with proper 14-day notice of the eviction proceedings.  Landlords are required to deliver notice by hand or by process server.

2.Complaint
Landlords must file a complaint to the court which their rental unit is located.  Justice court if less than $6,000.  Or else, Superior Court in the county.

3.Summons
Both parties receive a summon for a date of the eviction hearing.  Tenants also receive a copy of the complaint.  If the tenant decides to fight eviction, the tenant must be present at the hearing.  Tenants can also request a brief postponement of the hearing with good cause.

4.Hearing
A judge listens to the landlord and tenant regarding the case.  The judge will then decide on whether the tenant is to be evicted or not.

 

Can landlords do a ‘self help’ eviction?

In Alabama, it is illegal for landlords to attempt to evict a tenant not through a court order.

Are landlords allowed to lock out tenants by changing locks?

Landlords cannot change locks.

Are landlords allowed to turn off utilities?

Landlords cannot turn off utilities.

Tenants may not be evicted for non-payment of rent if:

No statute.

 

 

 

 

 

ALABAMA LAWS ON RETALIATION

 

Alabama laws state a landlord cannot terminate a lease, refuse a lease renewal or raise rents when:

•  Tenant submitted a complaint to government agency for building or health code violation
•  Tenant has sent written complaints to the landlords about repairs
•  Tenant has complained to government agency for enforcing the wage-price stabilization act

 

 

 

 

 

 

LAWS ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, SEXUAL MISCONDUCT, AND SEXUAL ASSAULT

Alabama has no statutory laws for protecting tenants involved with domestic violence, sexual misconduct or sexual assault.

 

 

 

ALABAMA LAWS FOR LOCKS AND LANDLORDS

 

Are landlords requested to change locks before new tenants:

Before new tenants moves in, landlords are not required to change the locks.  It is always recommended to do so.

 

Are landlords required to install any specific security device:

No Statute.

 

Do landlords have to change locks for domestic violence victims:

No Statute.

 

 

 

 

 

ALABAMA PET LAWS & PET POLICIES

Alabama does not have any specific pet laws.  Landlords are legally allowed to create their own pet policies and requirements.  Including tolerance for breeds, size, types, and more.  Read our guide to pet policies.

 

 

What are the max pet deposits in Alabama:
No Statute. (Ala. Code § 35-9A-201(a))

 

Damages from Pets:

No Statute.

 

 

 

 

DO LANDLORDS IN ALABAMA NEED A RENTAL LICENSE?

 

Landlords do not need a rental license in Alabama. 

 

 

 

 

NOTICE OF ENTRY LAWS IN ALABAMA

Do landlords in Alabama have to provide notice of entry? 

Landlords are required to provide 2-days’ notice for normal circumstances entry.    This includes:

  • Non-emergency maintenance and repairs
  • Showing prospective tenants the unit
  • Inspections

When can a landlord enter without notice:

According to (Ala. Code § 35-9A-303(d)), landlords may enter:

  • Emergencies
  • Court order
  • Unit is abandoned

 

Can landlords enter for non-emergency maintenance and repairs?

Yes.  (Ala. Code § 35-9A-303(d))

 

Can landlords enter for showings?

Yes.  (Ala. Code § 35-9A-303(b)(4))

 

 

Can landlords enter for emergencies without notice?

Yes.  (Ala. Code § 35-9A-303(a)(1))

 

Can landlords enter during Tenant’s extended absence?

No statute. 

 

Can landlords enter for pesticide use?

No statute. 

 

 

 

 

ALABAMA SUBLEASE AND ASSIGNMENT PROVISIONS

Is subleasing permitted?

Yes

 

Do you need the landlord consent?

If the lease includes a clause stating the landlord allows or requires consent.

 

Can the LL / lease prohibit subletting?

Yes

 

 

 

 

TENANT ABANDONED PROPERTY IN ALABAMA

 

Alabama Landlord-Tenant Laws has specific procedures that landlords must follow when tenants leave belongings.  This may be from evictions or moving out at the expiration of lease.

 

How long must landlords hold Tenant’s personal property?

Landlords must hold onto the tenants personal belongings 14 days after the landlord’s written declaration of abandonment.

How much notice must landlords give if law enforcement has legally locked them out?

7-days

Can the landlords sell property to pay for outstanding debts?

No Statute.

What happens to excess proceeds?

No Statute.  It is recommended to hold the proceeds in a trust for 12 months or send to their last known address.

How long must landlords keep records of the sale for?

No Statute.  It is recommended to keep records for at least 12 months just in case.

Landlord must store the tenant’s abandoned property where:

No Statute.

Are the landlords liable for damage?

No Statute.

 

 

 

 

REQUIRED RENTAL AGREEMENT DISCLOSURES FOR ALABAMA LEASES

 

Alabama Landlord-Tenant Laws requires the following be included with all Rental Agreement Disclosures:

 

Lead Paint Disclosure:  Yes.  Federal law requires every landlord to disclose known information on lead-based paint and hazards.  Landlords must provide this EPA-approved pamphlet.

100 Year Floodplain Disclosure:  No statute. 

Disclosure of Landlord and Tenant Act: No statute. 

Bedbug Disclosure: No statute. 

Move-In Documents: No statute. 

Owner or Agent Identity:  Yes.

Utility Disclosure:  No statute. 

Landlord’s towing or parking rules policies:  No statute. 

Electric service interruption:  No statute. 

 

 

 

 

HELPFUL RESOURCES

 

 

Alabama Uniform Landlord-Tenant Act

Alabama Legal Help

Alabama Real Estate Commission

Alabama Center for Dispute Resolution

Alabama Housing Finance Authority

 

 

 

 

 

ALABAMA RELATED COURT INFO & LINKS

Alabama Small Claims Court Limits:

$6,000 is the minimum for small claims court.

 

Alabama Small Claims Court

Alabama Judicial Branch

Alabama Attorney General

 

 

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