State Rules and Regulations for Alabama Rental Properties and Landlords
Alabama Landlord Tenant Laws are governed by Alabama Code, Title 35: Property – Chapter 9A, Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act. In addition to the General Provisions and Definitions, the Alabama Landlord Tenant Laws explain the rights and responsibilities of the parties to a landlord tenant agreement. Remedies are provided should one of the parties in a landlord tenant relationship violate the Alabama Landlord Tenant Law statutes.
Alabama Official Rules and Regulations
- Code of Alabama 35-9 – Landlord and Tenant
- Code of Alabama 35-9A – Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act
- Alabama Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (2008) (PDF) – Birmingham Bar Association
Alabama Landlord Responsibilities
Landlords in Alabama are responsible for maintaining a habitable domicile and providing repairs in a timely manner when required. If they do not, tenants can make repairs and deduct the cost from future rent payments. However, tenants are not permitted to unilaterally withhold rent.
Landlords are also required to honor the tenant’s rights and not disturb them when they are peaceably and reasonably using the property.
Alabama differs from other states on numerous rights and responsibilities. Interpretation of the above rights and rules can vary.
Tenant Responsibilities in Alabama
- Compliance: Ensure that all rules and requirements of the building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety are followed. [AL 35-9A-301.(1)]
- Cleanliness: Keep the property clean and safe (as far as conditions will allow) [AL 35-9A-301.(2)]
- Waste Disposal: Dispose all waste from the property in a clean and safe manner [AL 35-9A-301.(3)]
- Maintenance: Keep all plumbing fixtures as clear as their condition permits [AL 35-9A-301.(4)]
- 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). [AL 35-9A-301.(5)]
- Property Damage: Avoid property damage due to negligence, misuse or abuse by the tenant, occupants or tenant’s guests [AL 35-9A-301.(6)]
- Neighbors: Avoid disturbing neighbors and also disallow others from disturbing neighbors [AL 35-9A-301.(7)]
Security Deposits and Alabama Regulations
- Security Deposit Maximum: 1 month’s rent
- Security Deposit Interest: No statute
- Additional Deposits: Landlords should define what does the security deposit cover and can charge additional deposits for pets, undoing any tenant required alterations (ie. ramps, handrails, etc.) or any other tenant specific activities that increase liability
- Security Deposit Return: 35 days after tenant moves
- Permitted Uses of the Deposit: Landlords can use the deposit to pay unpaid and to repair any damages, beyond normal wear and tear, due to the tenant failing to meet the statutory requirements (as set forth in Ala. Code § 35-9A-301 of a tenant. (Ala. Code §35-9A-201(b))
- Security Deposit can be Withheld: Yes. (Ala. Code § 35-9A-201(c))
- Require Written Description/Itemized List of Damages and Charges: Yes. The list, itemizing the amount withheld and for what reason, must be sent via first class to the tenant within 60 days. The tenant must provide the landlord a valid forwarding address to send the list to. (Ala. Code § 35-9A-201(d))
- Receipt of Security Deposit: No statute.
- Record Keeping of Deposit Withholdings: No statute.
- Failure to Comply: Tenants can receive up to twice the amount of the security deposit paid if the landlord does not mail the security deposit or an itemized list of withholdings with 60 days. (Ala. Code § 35-9A-201(f))
Alabama Rents and Fees
- Returned Check Fees: $30 plus collection costs
- Rent Increase Notice: 30 days notice
- Right to Withhold: Tenants may not withhold rent or exercise the right to “repair and deduct”
- Late Fees: As stipulated in lease
- Rent Control: None (Preemption by statute)
- Self-Help Evictions: No. If evicted through self-help, tenants can recover up to three months rent, or the actual damages, whichever is great. The tenant can also recover “reasonable” attorney’s fees. (Ala. Code § 35-9A-407)
- Landlord Allowed to Recover Court and Attorney’s Fees: Yes. (Ala. Code § 35-9A-421(c))
- Landlord Must Make a Reasonable Attempt to Mitigate Damages to Lessee, including an Attempt to Re-rent: Yes, but state statute notes that “such duty shall not take priority over the landlord’s right to first rent other vacant units” (Ala. Code § 35-9A-423(c))
Alabama Regulations Governing Notice of Entry
- Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Fixed End Date in Lease: No notice is required as the lease simply expires.
- Notice to Terminate Any Periodic Lease of a Year or More:
- Notice to Terminate a Periodic Lease – Month-to-Month: 30 days written notice from either the landlord or the tenant (Ala. Code § 35-9A-441(b))
- Notice to Terminate a Periodic Lease – Week-to-week: 7 days written notice from either the landlord or the tenant (Ala. Code § 35-9A-441(a))
- Notice to Terminate Lease due to Sale of Property: No statute.
- Notice of date/time of Move-Out Inspection: No statute
- Notice of Termination for Nonpayment: 7 days written notice to either pay any past due rent and associated late fees, or the rental agreement is terminated.(Ala. Code § 35-9A-421(b))
- Notice for Lease Violation: 7 days written notice to remedy the violation, or the rental agreement is terminated. (Ala. Code § 35-9A-421(a))
- Required Notice before Entry: 2 days, and the notice must be posted to the door. (Ala. Code § 35-9A-303(d))
- Entry Allowed with Notice for Maintenance and Repairs: Yes (Ala. Code § 35-9A-303(d))
- Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: Yes (Ala. Code § 35-9A-303(a)(1))
- Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: Unannounced reasonable entry is allowed if the tenant is absent for more than 14 days. (Ala. Code § 35-9A-303(d))
- Entry Allowed with Notice for Showing the Property: Yes. The landlord must give the tenant two days’ notice before the showing (Ala. Code § 35-9A-303(b)(4))
- Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: No statute.
- Lockouts Allowed: No statute.
- Utility Shut-offs Allowed: No statute.
Alabama Housing Discrimination
Protected groups. Alabama landlords cannot discriminate housing against any groups outlined in the federal Fair Housing Act. Alabama does not have additional protections for classes of people not outlined in the Fair Housing Act.
Discriminatory acts. Acts that are considered discriminatory when directed as one or more prospective renters in a specially protected class include:
- Refusing to rent or sell on a bona fide offer
- Providing differing terms, benefits, or privileges
- Alluding to limitations that amount to discrimination
- Lie about the status of a unit
There is currently no explicit penalties for discrimination spelled out in Alabama law. The Fair Housing Act sets forth guidelines on how to file a discrimination suit with the state.
Evictions in Alabama
Landlords in Alabama have broad powers to evict tenants. Alabama landlords can evict tenants for:
- Nonpayment of rent – If a tenant misses a rental payment, landlords must give a 7-day pay notice. Failure to pay within this 7-day window can be grounds for eviction.
- Violation of lease terms – If a tenant violates a lease, landlords must provide a 14-day notice requesting they remedy their behavior. Landlords can then file a 7-Day Additional Quit Notice before filing for eviction with a court.
- Illegal acts – Illegal acts can serve as justification for eviction following the issuance of a 7-day termination notice. Criminal acts warrant the same eviction process as a regular lease violation.
Alabama tenants cannot be evicted as retaliation for reporting health or safety violations on the landlord’s part. Tenants can also not be evicted for violating terms added to the lease without their written permission.
State Agencies & Regulatory Bodies
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development–Alabama
- Alabama Housing Finance Authority
- Alabama Department of Insurance
- Alabama Center for Dispute Resolution
- Alabama Real Estate Commission
- Alabama Association of Housing and Redevelopment Authorities
- Housing Authority–Birmingham District
- Montgomery Housing Authority
- Tuscaloosa Housing Authority
Realtor and Landlord/Tenant Associations
- Alabama Frequently Asked Questions–Landlord Forms
- Alabama Legal Help
- Alabama Apartment Association
- Apartment Association of North Alabama
- Greater Birmingham Apartment Association
- Mobile Bay Area Apartment Association
- River Region Area Apartment Association
- Associated Investors of Alabama
- Alabama Rental Managers