Understanding how state laws work is crucial if you want to promote a healthy leasing relationship from start to end. Alabama landlord-tenant laws include several guidelines that both landlords and tenants should always follow to comply with the law.
These laws may vary from state to state; in fact, each rental case is unique. However, every rental agreement should abide by their state's regulations to avoid problems. In this case, we're going to talk about the Alabama landlord-tenant law.
Landlord-tenant laws involve several sections that explain how a lease should work for all the parties involved. In the case of Alabama, the required guidelines are fairly flexible, which offers many opportunities for both landlords and tenants.
On this page, you're going to look at an overview of how the Alabama landlord-tenant law works. However, if you feel like you need specific legal advice tailored to your rental case, make sure to contact an attorney.
Is Alabama Considered a Landlord-Friendly State?
Currently, Alabama is considered a landlord-friendly state. This is because there aren't many provisions regarding what a landlord can or cannot do, which allows them to be more flexible with their contracts. On the other hand, the Alabama landlord-tenant law protects tenants from some specific matters, such as discrimination or harassment.
What Provisions Should be Included in a Rental Agreement in Alabama?
All the guidelines, rights, and other miscellaneous information are thoroughly explained in the Alabama Code (Title 35-9A). Keep in mind that those are general rules, but each rental case may be different from one another.
Overall, here's what a lease agreement usually includes, according to the Alabama landlord-tenant law:
- Description of the leased premises.
- Address of the unit.
- Information about the parties involved in the lease.
- Overview of landlord and tenant legal rights.
- Rent payments.
- Security deposits.
- Conditions for termination of the lease.
- Person responsible for regular maintenance and repairs on the property.
What Are Landlords' Rights and Responsibilities?
The Alabama landlord-tenant law states that both tenants and landlords must comply with a set of rules before beginning the lease term. This is to ensure that everything goes smoothly all the time. In essence, this section explains what the landlord and tenant can and cannot do during the tenancy.
Alabama landlords have the legal right to collect rent payments, collect a security deposit to cover damages to the property, and seek a formal eviction suit in case the tenant breaches the contract or the landlord-tenant laws.
Overall, landlords must give the tenant a rental unit that complies with local health and safety regulations. Additionally, Alabama landlords must also provide repairs to the leased property if they're requested by the tenant; these repairs must be done promptly to prevent any legal disputes with the tenant.
Another requirement for landlords in the landlord-tenant laws is to respect tenant s rights at all times, which involves not disturbing them when they're using the property in peace.
What Are Tenants' Rights and Responsibilities?
According to the Alabama landlord-tenant law, tenants in Alabama have the right to seek a habitable unit that complies with local health and safety regulations. If the property requires any repairs, tenant rights allow them to request these services from the landlord. In these cases, the landlord must provide the service in a timely manner. Otherwise, tenants are allowed to pursue alternative action to fix the problem.
Alabama tenants must comply with the following guidelines in the landlord-tenant laws throughout the entire tenancy period:
- Maintain the premises in good repair.
- Pay rent on time.
- Make small repair services when needed.
- Not disturb other neighbors and tenants.
- Clean the premises within seven days of notice (If the landlord requests it).
Alabama Landlord-Tenant Laws - General Clauses
As said before, all the information you need to know on how to promote a legally healthy tenancy is in the Alabama Code, specifically in the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (Section 35-9A). The clauses below are the most important ones to include in your lease agreement since they're the foundation for both tenants and landlords. If you want a more in-depth explanation of these landlord-tenant laws, make sure to search for the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (Section 35-9A).
When it comes to rent, Alabama is a fairly flexible area. First, there are no rent control policies in the Alabama landlord-tenant law, meaning that Alabama landlords can charge as much as they consider appropriate for rent. Keep in mind that unless stated otherwise in the agreement, tenants have to pay rent at the beginning of each month. If the landlord doesn't specify any information regarding the cost of rent, tenants have to pay an amount equal to the fair market value of the premises.
The Alabama landlord-tenant law allows landlords to charge late fees if they want, but it's not a legal requirement. If they decide to include these fees in the agreement, they can charge any amount they want.
Alabama landlords can raise rent without having to give their tenant any notice. However, it's often seen as good practice to come to an agreement with the tenant on rental notice policies. It's important to note that Alabama landlords cannot raise rent as a discriminatory measure since it goes against the Fair Housing Act and the landlord-tenant laws.
Alabama landlord-tenant laws don't specify anything regarding grace periods for the tenant; this means that landlords can charge their tenant late fees as soon as the rent is due. In these cases, the Alabama tenant must pay as soon as possible to avoid legal disputes.
A security deposit is mainly used to cover expenses in the lease that hadn't been accounted for, such as unpaid rent from the tenant or damages that exceed normal wear and tear. In the case of Alabama, the amount of the security deposit cannot be higher than the cost of one month of rent. Aside from this one month deposit, landlords can charge an additional amount of deposit if the Alabama tenant plans to take a pet with them.
Alabama landlords must return the security deposit to their tenant within a month of the tenant moving out of the property, although this period can be extended to 60 days. If the landlord fails to return the security deposit within these 60 days, the Alabama tenant could seek legal advice.
The Alabama landlord-tenant laws establish that the landlord can partially withhold the security deposit in case the tenant decided to withhold rent without reason or if they violated the conditions of the lease.
If this is the case, the landlord has 60 days to give the tenant an itemized list of deductions. After these 60 days, the landlord might not be entitled to collect the deposit.
As of today, landlords in Alabama don't have to pay any interest on the security deposit.
According to the Alabama landlord-tenant laws, an Alabama tenant can terminate the lease if they want. However, they must provide a particular amount of notice, depending on the type of tenancy. Here's an overview of the required amount of notice for each tenancy:
- Weekly Leases: Seven-day notice.
- Monthly Leases: 30-day notice.
- Quarterly Leases: Non-applicable.
- Yearly Leases: Non-applicable.
Alternatively, Alabama tenants can terminate the lease early for any of the following reasons:
- Early termination cause.
- The rental unit doesn't comply with fair housing regulations.
- Active military duty.
- Landlord harassment.
An eviction works slightly differently from a lease termination. In these cases, the landlord has the right to evict their tenant is one of the following conditions apply:
- Breach on the Lease: 14 days' notice to cure or quit.
- Nonpayment of Rent: Seven days' notice to pay or quit.
- Criminal Activity: Seven days' quit notice.
Keep in mind that tenant rights protect them against any kind of retaliation from their landlord, according to the Alabama landlord-tenant laws.
See our full guide on the eviction process and laws for Alabama.
Landlord-tenant laws require every landlord to inform their tenant of any concentrations of lead paint in the rental if it was built before 1978. If the landlord fails to do so, they might be exposed to legal consequences. Read more about this clause in EPA's pamphlet.
According to the Alabama Code, landlords must provide the name and address of every person involved in the lease.
Landlord-tenant laws in Alabama are fairly easy to follow. You need to be compliant with every law in your local area if you want to keep a good leasing relationship at all times. Aside from complying with the law, you need to make sure that both tenants and landlords agree upon everything discussed in the lease.
If you want to know more about the landlord-tenant laws in Alabama, make sure to search for a local attorney.
Is the landlord allowed to enter the property?
The Alabama landlord-tenant laws establish that the landlord must give the tenant at least a two-day written notice before they enter the property. However, the landlord can enter the property without any notice in cases of emergency.
What cases can be heard in a small claims court?
A small claims court in Alabama can hear rental cases valued up to $6,000. These contracts usually have a six-year statute of limitations.
Can the tenant change the locks of the property?
Federal law doesn't explain any specific information regarding the required provisions to change locks. It's assumed that Alabama tenants have the right to change the locks if they feel threatened by another person. However, it's also assumed that an Alabama tenant cannot change the locks without telling their landlord.
How are tenants protected against discrimination?
According to the Alabama landlord-tenant laws, the Alabama Code, and the Fair Housing Act, tenants are protected from any kind of discrimination against them based on their race, sex, religion, color, nationality, disability, and others.