What is Alabama Landlord Tenant Law?
- Alabama landlord tenant law is designed to protect the rights of both landlords and tenants.
- The law establishes the duties of each party, as well as the remedies available if those duties are not met.
- Some of the key provisions of Alabama landlord tenant law include the following:
– Landlords must provide a written lease agreement that complies with state law.
– Landlords must disclose any known defects in the rental property.
– Tenants must pay rent on time and keep the rental property clean and safe.
– Tenants must not damage the rental property or engage in illegal activity on the premises.
Alabama landlord tenant law – Below mentioned questions and answers will help you understand this law.
How much can I charge for rent?
Alabama does not restrict the amount of rent a Landlord is permitted to charge. Therefore, a landlord may charge whatever he feels necessary. Additionally, the state of Alabama has not established rent control or stabilization.
May I charge an application fee, late rent charge or a returned payment fee?
Reasonable cost should always be kept in mind when instituting any charges. Although there are no limits placed on the amount a landlord can charge for the above stated fees, landlords should always execute caution and fairness.
How do I handle a security deposit?
The security deposit may not exceed an amount greater than one month’s rent. The collection of the last month’s rent in advance; in addition to the security deposit is not permissible. Alabama Landlord Tenant Law contain no specific criteria regarding the acceptance of a non-refundable pet deposit, key or lock deposit. The absence of a statute or rule regarding “other” deposits does not necessarily signify that it’s an accepted practice. Landlords should keep this in mind when deciding to use miscellaneous deposits in addition to the security deposit.
Do I need a separate bank account for the security deposit?
There are no specific regulations in Alabama regarding the placement of security deposits by Alabama landlord tenant law. However, it’s good practice to keep a tenant’s security deposit separate from the landlord’s personal finances. A landlord is not required to pay interest on a security deposit.
After my tenant has moved, how long do I have to send the security deposit back?
Landlord’s must return the security deposit or provide accounting for the deductions taken from the deposit within 60 days of lease termination as provided for by Alabama landlord tenant law. When deductions are made to a security deposit, normal wear and tear is usually excluded, while excess damage may be deducted.
What are the rules for ending an Alabama lease agreement?
A fixed term lease is a rental agreement that contains a beginning and ending date. In this circumstance, the lease agreement simply ends on the date specified within the contract. If the lease agreement specifies a notice; under those circumstances, the notice that is spelled out in the lease would be followed. A periodic lease is a lease that continues from period to period (i.e. month to month). Periodic leases continue until either a landlord or tenant gives notice of at least 30 days. If the lease agreement is based upon week to week periods then only 7 days notice is required. If no lease is used, it is considered a verbal lease agreement; the rules for a periodic lease would then apply under Alabama landlord tenant law.
Are there circumstances where I am required to release a tenant from a lease agreement?
A landlord may be forced to release a tenant from a contractual agreement when the dwelling unit or premise is damaged and/or destroyed by fire or casualty not caused by the tenant, deeming the rental property unlivable. Under these circumstances, a tenant may immediately vacate the premise and notify the landlord in writing within 14 days of the tenant’s intention to terminate the rental agreement.
My tenant was supposed to be out of the apartment and he is still there. What do I do?
If a tenant remains in possession without the landlord’s consent after expiration of the rental agreement or its termination, the landlord may bring an action for possession. If the tenant’s holdover is willful and not in good faith, the landlord may also recover an amount equal to but not more than 3 month’s periodic rent or the actual damages sustained by the landlord, whichever is greater, along with reasonable attorney’s fees.
In Alabama, is it possible for a renter to break a lease early?
Although Alabama Landlord Tenant Law permits renters to break their lease early, the process is more difficult than if the tenant were free to do so independently. According to Alabama law, a tenant may terminate the lease with particular notice in a few defined situations. These situations are often restricted to flagrant breaches of health and safety regulations or when a renter is recalled for active duty in the military.
A tenant must give written notice of their desire to terminate the lease and any other information needed by Alabama law if one of these circumstances occurs. Tenants can safeguard their rights to end a lease early by becoming aware of Alabama Landlord Tenant Law.
How much notice do I have to give a tenant to evict them?
Evicting a tenant can be a tricky process, and Alabama Law outlines the proper procedure for landlords to take. Depending on the situation and the violation in question, Alabama landlords must provide tenants with either three days or two weeks’ notice. Those who do not comply with Alabama Landlord Tenant Law risk potential legal issues later on down the line, so it is important that landlords familiarize themselves with all relevant details to properly evict a tenant.
My tenant has not paid his rent and I served him notice. What do I do next?
Go to the District court in the county of which the property is located. You will file a court action referred to as an unlawful detainer, filed with the clerk of court. Check with the appropriate court as there are fees involved. The Landlord/Plaintiff may sue for possession of property and for money damages in the same action. It is important to include a copy of the “Notice to Tenant” when filing an original action. The Unlawful Detainer Complaint must be served by certified mail or personal service by either the Sheriff’s office or a private process server.
If the landlord isn’t performing the required repairs, may the tenant withhold rent?
According to Alabama Landlord Tenant Law, tenants are protected and have the right to refuse payment of rent if a landlord neglects to perform essential repairs. The landlord must get written notification of the issue from the tenant first, and the renter must give the landlord a fair amount of time to fix it. Tenants have the right to withhold some or all of their rent until repairs are finished if, following this alarm, the landlord still doesn’t take any action.
This only applies if the flaw would have made it impossible or difficult for the tenant to enjoy the rental property, such as when the landlord neglected to provide running water or electricity. If a renter in Alabama selects this course of action, they should notify the regional housing authority as well as the Alabama Security Deposits office, who may assist them in determining their legal rights and available choices.
My tenant wants to pay his rent but I have already filed in court. Can I accept the payment and still proceed with eviction?
Yes, the acceptance of unpaid rent after expiration of a termination notice is permitted, however this does not constitute a waiver of the termination. Therefore, a landlord may still move forward and seek possession and the tenant’s removal.
I have been assigned a court date, must I go?
Once a court date is set, a landlord should always arrive prepared. In many cases tenant’s often fail to appear in court, ultimately favoring the landlord. Regardless of the assumption that a tenant may not come to the court hearing, it is important to have all your ducks in a row. Come prepared and bring proof of rents received, such as a current rental ledger along with all correspondence including letters, notices and emails. If you have dates of phone conversations, they can be important as well. Proof is especially important in cases that involve nuisance or other lease violations.
I won in court! Now what happens?
A Writ of Restitution or Possession cannot be requested until after the filing of a post-judgment motion and the appeal time has expired. This would be fourteen days from the date of the judgment in the District Court. The landlord must seek a writ of restitution or possession that will order the sheriff to physically remove the tenants and the tenant’s personal property.
What do I do with the tenant’s personal items that are left behind?
The landlord has no duty to store the tenant’s property if abandoned for more than 14 days. After 14 days have passed, you can either discard everything or donate it to a charity.
How long does it usually take for eviction?
It depends, but could take approximately 4-6 weeks to obtain possession.
How can I tell if my tenant has “skipped” out of the apartment?
When a tenant moves out without proper notice it is considered abandonment. Although the Alabama landlord tenant Law do not define the term abandonment, there are clues to look for. A landlord should probably consider whether the property appears to be lived in, whether there are utilities and/or whether the tenant has removed a significant amount of their possessions from the unit. Check for food in the cabinets or refrigerator. Usually if there is none, this can be pretty significant in determining abandonment. Take pictures and save them as proof for court, just in case.
If a landlord finds that a tenant has abandoned the rental property, the landlord can mail a notice of abandonment to the tenant’s last known address as well as post a notice of abandonment on the door of the rental property. Five days after mailing the abandonment notice to the tenant and posting it upon the door of the rental unit, the landlord can change the locks and retake possession of the rental property.
After the landlord has retaken possession of the rental property, he/she must hold
abandoned possessions for ten (10) days. Thereafter, they may be sold or discarded. The tenant is responsible to pay for storage and moving costs in order to claim the held possessions.
What must I do to inspect my property? Do I have to notify the tenant?
A landlord may not abuse the right of access or use it to harass the tenant. Emergency situations do warrant entry, however the landlord should give the tenant at least 2 days’ notice of the landlord’s intent to enter. Under normal circumstances, a landlord may enter at reasonable times only. Posting of a notice on the primary entrance to the residence stating the intended time and purpose of the entry is a permitted method for the purpose of the landlord’s right of access to the premises.
Do I have the right to enforce no smoking in my rental property?
A landlord may establish a “No Smoking” policy by providing so in the Lease.
Disclosure: The information provided herein is intended as a general discussion of legal issues concerning landlord tenant law. Information provided is not legal advice or a legal opinion, and it is recommended that the reader seek independent counsel for any specific issue.
I need to know how to get my personal belongings from my place of residency of tge last year and a half. I’m leaving due to threats of physical violence towards me by another tenant who ia refusing to return my belongings unless I come alone, otherwiss he says he will donate them to hannah home or just throw them away and u need to please find out my rights I’m from Birmingham Alabama can you please help me ?!