If you’re a rental property owner in Alabama, being aware of the Alabama Landlord-Tenant laws will protect you as a landlord and help maintain the landlord-tenant relationship with clear guidelines. You’ll be able to incorporate a legal due process when dealing with your Alabama renters.
It will also guide you in being compliant with your landlord responsibilities, as outlined by the state of Alabama.
Additionally, you’ll also respect your Alabama tenants’ rights by virtue of your awareness of the Alabama Landlord-Tenant laws. It’s a win-win situation to familiarize yourself with these laws as a landlord when you rent out your unit.
Required Landlord Disclosures in Alabama
Landlords must disclose certain information to Alabama tenants in the rental agreement. The following are the required disclosures:
- Nonrefundable Fees
Unlike other states, Alabama does not have a statute on nonrefundable fees that tenants must pay. So, if the rental agreement stipulates nonrefundable fees, it must be followed.
- Security deposit
In Alabama, the security deposit laws are more relaxed for landlords. Landlords are not required to furnish a receipt to tenants upon receiving the security deposit. They’re also not obliged to place the deposit in an interest-bearing account. However, should Alabama landlords wish to do so, they can do so and give the interest to the tenants.
For the maximum security deposit limit, Alabama landlords are limited to collecting a month’s rent only. They’re also given a period of 60 days to refund the deposit once the tenancy expires.
If landlords aren’t able to accomplish this, they can be liable to pay the tenant double the amount of the security deposit.
Under Alabama law, it’s required for landlords to attach an itemized receipt. This is to inform the tenant of the details of the partial or non-existent security deposit refund. Any rental property damage repairs must be specifically written along with the expense charges for the tenant.
- Rights of Domestic Violence Victims
Alabama Law does not have any statute regarding tenants who are victims of domestic violence. They must stand by the lease agreement and pay rent unless otherwise stated by their Alabama landlords.
- Owner or Agent Identity
In Alabama, the tenant has a right to written disclosure of the agent. Thus, a lease agreement must contain the complete name and address of the landlord or professional representative. The purpose is to make it easy for tenants in Alabama to submit their notices.
Tenant Rights and Responsibilities
Under the Alabama landlord-tenant laws, each renter is rightfully entitled to:
- Be provided with a notice by landlords at least 2 days prior to them entering the property
- Give the landlord a written notice to conduct the required repairs of the rental space within a 14-day period. If not, the tenant can terminate the leasing agreement and no longer have to pay rent
- Be given possession of the rental unit or end the rental agreement if the landlord is guilty of illegal eviction or retaliatory conduct
- Be refunded the security deposit (if there’s partial or no deductions) within a 60-day period, as stated in the lease
Under the Alabama landlord-tenant laws, each tenant must fulfill the basic responsibilities such as:
- Pay the rent by the due date
- Keep the rental space reasonably clean
- Maintain the rental unit by protecting against property damages and hazards
- Keep from disturbing fellow tenants
- Stay away from illegal activities in the rental property
Landlord Rights and Responsibilities
The following are the basic landlord rights in the state of Alabama. By law, landlords must:
- Deduct charges from security deposits when tenants have not paid the rent. The landlord also has the right to withdraw the cost of repair from property damages a tenant has caused out of neglect and abuse. This does not include “normal wear and tear.”
- Be paid the remaining rental charges and other fees when a tenant legally breaks the tenancy. An exception would be if the landlord accepts a new renter.
The following are the basic landlord responsibilities in the state of Alabama. Landlords must:
- Keep the premises safe, habitable and clean or else lease termination may be permitted
- Schedule property repairs to keep up with the rental maintenance
- Provide the renter with a 2-day notice prior to entering the rental unit, except in cases of emergency
- Return the tenant’s security deposit within a 60-day period and provide an itemized list of deductions in the case of repairs
An Overview of Alabama Landlord-Tenant Law
1. Tenant Privacy and Alabama Landlord’s Right to Enter the Dwelling
Under Alabama law, landlords are expected to provide a 2-day notice to the tenants before entering the rental space. Exceptions to this requirement are during:
- Emergency situations
- Court order
2. The Condition, Maintenance and Repairs
According to the Alabama Landlord-Tenant laws, landlords are responsible for maintaining the rental unit properly and keeping it habitable while tenants pay rent. These are some of the landlords’ obligations:
- Providing both hot and cold water to the renters
- Installing functioning smoke detectors
- Making sure a trash receptacle is available for sanitary purpose
3. Alabama’s Housing Discrimination Laws
In Alabama, the Fair Housing Act is observed. According to the Federal Fair Housing Act, an Alabama tenant must not experience any housing discrimination pertaining to one’s race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability and familial status. You cannot refuse to rent to someone due to these protected classes.
4. Security Deposits
A security deposit is required by the landlord from a tenant to be utilized for:
- Paying the landlord for covered losses owing to property damage due to tenant’s neglect/abuse
- Paying any missing rent of the renter
5. Required Landlord Disclosures
This should be in the form of writing, usually printed in the lease agreement.
The disclosures in rental agreements are as follows:
- Landlords must reveal the presence of paint lead for properties built prior to 1878 before they rent out a unit
- Landlords must disclose the name and addresses of professional authorized representatives managing the rental such as a property manager
6. Renters Rights to Withhold Rent
If a landlord fails to perform his responsibility to address property repairs, tenants can:
- Issue a written notice to the landlords to have the property fixed within the required period of 14 days
- End the leasing agreement due to the landlord's lease violation
- Still be liable to pay the rent before the 14 day period of repair is over
7. Small Claims Lawsuits
If conflicts occur between the Alabama landlord and tenant, the latter can file for claims up to $6,000 in a small claims court.
*Disclaimer: be aware that this blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in Alabama. Please contact us for any questions you have in regards to this content or any other aspect of your property management needs.