In the state of Alabama, a landlord-tenant relationship is established after the exchange of rent. At that point, the tenant inherits all rights and responsibilities under the Alabama’s Landlord-Tenant laws (Alabama Code Title 35 Chapter 9A.).
Tenants obtain the right to live in habitable housing, and to be treated regardless of their race, color, or any other protected characteristic.
Every tenant also obtains a list of responsibilities, such as timely payment of rent. As a landlord, the act also provides you a list of rights and responsibilities, as well.
With this in mind, Level Property Management Group has put together the following guide to the Alabama landlord-tenant laws, starting with a description of the disclosures a landlord must give to their tenant.
Required Alabama Landlord Disclosures
In Alabama, a landlord needs to disclose the following information to their tenant.
- Lead Disclosure: A federal law that requires a landlord to disclose any concentrations of lead paint used in the property. This is only intended for landlords who rent out homes that were built prior to 1978.
- Authorized Authorities: Landlords also need to disclose the names and addresses of the people authorized to manage the property.
Alabama Tenant Rights & Responsibilities
Every Alabama tenant has the following rights under Alabama landlord-tenant law:
- To live in peace and quiet within a habitable domicile.
- To have repairs made within a reasonable period after requesting them from the landlord.
- To be treated fairly and respectfully by their landlord as defined by the Federal Fair Housing Act.
- Be provided all facilities and amenities promised by landlords in the lease.
- To terminate the lease for legally justifiable reasons, provided notice is given to the landlord.
- Remain in their rented premises until the landlord has followed the proper eviction process and given them notice.
- Exercise any of their tenant rights without being harassed or retaliated upon by the landlord.
- Have their security deposit returned within sixty days after moving out.
An Alabama tenant also has a series of responsibilities they need to adhere to under law:
- Keep the rental unit premises in a clean and sanitary condition.
- Keep the rented premises free from hazards and damages.
- Not to cause unnecessary disturbance to other tenants or neighbors.
- Not to partake in illegal activity while at the rental unit.
- Not to withhold rent or rental payment from the property owner.
- Report all maintenance issues to the landlord as soon as possible.
- Allow reasonable access to the landlord so that they can carry out their responsibilities.
- Give proper notice the landlord prior to the tenant moving out.
- Give notice to the landlord when looking to be away for an extended period.
- Abide by all terms and policies in the rental agreement and not to break it.
Landlords’ Rights & Responsibilities
Just like tenants, every Alabama landlord has a series of rights that need to be respected. An Alabama landlord has the right:
- To enforce the terms of the lease. For example, charge a fee for tenants to pay in the case of late rent.
- To make sure the property is rent ready.
- To change the terms of the lease. If the tenancy has not ended, you need to seek your tenant’s permission first.
- To charge tenants’ security deposits they need to pay.
- Terminate a tenancy for lease violation.
- To receive a proper notice from a tenant who’s looking to move out.
- To charge your tenant whatever amount of rent you wish, as the state of Alabama doesn’t have rent control laws.
- Enter the unit of a tenant to carry out important responsibilities, provided proper notice is given to the tenant.
Uniform residential landlord responsibilities include:
- Providing your tenant with a habitable rental home.
- Carrying out repairs within a reasonable period after receiving notice from the tenant.
- Treating your tenant equally regardless of their race, color, nationality, religion, and any other protected characteristic, as per the Fair Housing Act.
- Following the proper eviction process when removing a tenant from the premises, including giving the tenant an eviction notice.
- Making certain disclosures to the tenant prior to them signing the lease.
- Managing a tenant’s security deposit in the manner outlined in law.
Overview of the Landlord-Tenant Laws in Alabama
As a landlord, you have a right to enter your tenant’s rented premises provided you give proper notice. But there are certain rules you must adhere to when exercising this fundamental right. For one, the reason for the entry must be legally justifiable. Such as:
- Under orders of a court to do so.
- Showing the unit to prospective tenants, lenders or buyers.
- Inspecting the unit for damage and lease adherence.
- Entering the property in the event of an emergency.
- If you have reason to believe the tenant has abandoned the unit.
If you’re going to enter your tenant’s property, you need to give them at least 48 hours’ notice and the entry time must be reasonable and agreed upon by the tenant and adhere to the Fair Housing Act. If you show up without notice, especially repeatedly, your tenant could sue you for harassment.
Small Claims Court
Landlords and tenants can make claims against one another in a small claims court. The claims can arise from conflicts related to the return of security deposits, failure to pay rent, responsibility for property maintenance and eviction.
In Alabama, all claims made at a small claims court are capped at $6,000. Also, most written, or oral contracts have a statute of limitations of up to 6 years.
Certain classes of tenants are protected against any form of discrimination. The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, nationality, sex, disability, and familial status.
But unlike some other states, Alabama doesn’t add onto the list of protected classes.
Alabama doesn’t have a rent control law in place. So, landlords are free to charge whatever amount of rent they wish.
Also, landlord may be able to raise rent legally without having to notify their tenant first. However, please note that you cannot raise rent in a discriminatory manner against a protected class.
Tenants in the state of Alabama can terminate their lease for certain legally justified reasons. These include:
- If the tenant is starting active military duty.
- If the unit becomes uninhabitable.
- In case of landlord harassment.
- If there is an early lease termination clause in the lease agreement.
But despite a tenant having any of these reasons, they must still pay all rent and fees for the remaining lease period. This obligation can only end if the landlord is able to find a replacement tenant.
Understanding Alabama’s landlord-tenant laws is one of the most important steps in becoming a successful real estate investor in the state. Landlords need to consider both their own rights and responsibilities as well as those of their tenants.
If you have any questions its always good to refer to a professional property management company such as our team at Level Property Management Group – contact us today by dialing (251)210-1664 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: This content isn’t a substitute for professional legal advice. If you have a question regarding this content or any other aspect of property management, please get in touch with our team.