Alabama Rental Laws

Written on October 23, 2012 by , updated on July 21, 2018

Flag of AlabamaThis article summarizes some key Alabama Landlord-Tenant laws applicable to residential rental units.

We’ve used the Official State Statutes and other online sources cited below to research this information and it should be a good starting point in learning about the law.

With that said, our summary is not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for qualified legal advice. Laws and statutes are always subject to change, and may even vary from county to county or city to city.

You are responsible for performing your own research and complying with all laws applicable to your unique situation.

If you have legal questions or concerns, we recommend consulting with the appropriate government agencies and/or a qualified lawyer in your area. Your local or state bar association may have a referral service that can help you find a lawyer with experience in landlord-tenant law.

Official Rules and Regulations

Details

Security Deposit:

  • Security Deposit Maximum: The security cannot exceed one month’s rent (Ala. Code § 35-9A-201(a))
  • Security Deposit Interest: No statue
  • Separate Security Deposit Bank Account: No statute
  • Non-refundable fees: No statute
  • Pet Deposits and Additional Fees: Additional deposits are allowed for pets, undoing alterations (such as handrails and ramps for the handicapped), and any specific tenant activities that increase the risk of liability (Ala. Code § 35-9A-201(a))
  • Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: 35 days (source)
  • 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))

Lease, Rent & Fees:

  • Rent is Due: Rent is due as agreed to between the landlord and tenant. Unless otherwise agreed to, rent is due at the beginning of the month and will be paid in monthly installments. If the tenancy is week-to-week, the tenant will pay rent each week. (Ala. Code § 35-9A-161(c))
  • Payment Methods: No statute.
  • Rent Increase Notice: No statute.
  • Late Fees: No statute.
  • Application Fees: No statute.
  • Prepaid Rent: No statute.
  • Returned Check Fees: $30 plus other costs of collection (Ala. Code § 8-8-15)
  • Tenant Allowed to Withhold Rent for Failure to Provide Essential Services (Water, Heat, etc.): State statute does not specify whether a tenant may withhold rent in these circumstances. However, the rental agreement will terminate within 14 days of the tenant sending a written notice to the landlord specifying the breaches. The entire security deposit must be refunded, and the tenant can also recover actual damages and reasonable attorney fees (Ala. Code § 35-9A-401)
  • Tenant Allowed to Repair and Deduct Rent: No 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))

Notices and Entry:

  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Fixed End Date in Lease: No notice is required as the lease simply expires.
  • 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.

Disclosures and Miscellaneous Notes:

  • Name and Addresses: Landlords are required to disclose, in writing, the names and business addresses of the people authorized to manage the rental unit, as well as the unit’s owner, or whomever acts on the owner’s behalf. (Ala. Code § 35-9A-202)
  • Copy of the Lease: No statute
  • Domestic Violence Situations: No statute.
  • Landlord’s Duties: (Ala. Code § 35-9A-204)
    • Compliance: Landlords are expected to comply with the requirements of applicable building and housing codes that materially impact a tenant’s health and safety;
    • Repairs: make all repairs and do whatever else necessary to keep the rental unit in a habitable condition;
    • Common Areas: Maintain a clean and safe condition in all common areas;
    • Maintenance: Maintain in good and safe working order and condition all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, and other facilities and appliances, including elevators, supplied or required to be supplied by the landlord;
    • Garbage: provide and maintain appropriate receptacles for removing garbage other waste.
  • Tenant’s Duties: (Ala. Code § 35-9A-301)
    • Cleanliness: keep that the unit occupied by the tenant as clean and safe as the condition of the rental unit permits;
    • Trash: dispose all ashes, garbage, and other waste in a clean and safe manner;
    • Plumbing: keep all plumbing fixtures in the unit, or others used by the tenant, as clear as their condition permits;
    • Appliances: reasonably use all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, and other utilities and appliances, including elevators, in the premises;
    • Damage: not deliberately or negligently destroy, damage, or remove any part of the premises; or knowingly let another person do so; and,
    • Quiet Enjoyment: conduct oneself, and require other persons on the premises with the tenant’s consent to conduct themselves, in a manner that does not disturb the neighbors’ peaceful enjoyment of their home.
  • Subleasing: No statute.
  • Retaliation: Landlords cannot increase rent, decrease services, or threaten to bring an action for possession if the tenant has complained to a governmental agency, complained to the landlord of a violation regarding landlord’s responsibility in maintaining the premises, or if the tenant becomes a member of a tenant’s union or similar organization. (Ala. Code § 35-9A-501(a))
  • Lead Disclosure: Landlords must disclose all known lead paint hazards. Landlords must also provide tenants, as an attachment to a written lease, with an information pamphlet on lead-based paint hazards.

Court Related:

Business Licenses:

  • Business License required: unknown

State agencies & regulatory bodies

Housing Authorities

Realtor and landlord/tenant associations

Get our free newsletter

Join 200,000+ landlords

  • ​Tips to increase income
  • Time-saving techniques
  • ​Powerful tools & resources
Topics:
  Laws & Regulations

91 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Xavier

    I’m married& leased an apartment. I’m the only one listed on the lease, but the complex has full knowledge that my wife is an occupant as the leasing agent assigned gate keys, mailbox keys, etc. gate codes for myself & my wife based on our cell phone #s. We made verbals requests for Maintenance for 3 straight weeks directly 2the Maintenance man, due 2the lights being out in the parking lot. Pitch black at night. The next day after they were repaired, the apartment police bang on the door demanding we open the door. He never said what he wanted. We couldn’t open the door due 2a medical situation & inappropriate attire. He said we were lying & that he was going to get my wife for trespassing. He placed a default notice on the door

  • Faye Perry

    If I terminated my lease early, and was made to pay April, May and June rent, as a part of a early termination agreement stated in my lease, but the apartment was rented out in May, can I ask the landlord for a refund since they rented the apartment out to a tenant? Is there any law that they are breaking as far as getting double from me and the new renter?

    • Jason Carmichael

      Yes and no.
      Yes, the apartment is not out anything since they have re rented.
      No, you agreed in the lease agreement.

      If less than 3000, go to small claims court. Very easy to do.

  • Randy Barfield

    I’m a 66yr old military veteran living on social security. My landlord has given me 45 days notice of an increase in my rent of 33 1/3 percent and although I and my 3 outside dogs have been here prior to his ownership and I have paid a deposit to keep, he now says no dogs. Is this legal in Alabama?

  • Jacob Frankel

    What happens when the apartments I am in just totally refuses to do any maintanance? I am talking about years worth. Also I am having to pay a bug man to come out, not because I have bugs but to make sure I don’t get them but the landlord quit doing this for us years ago, also I have had to buy my own a/c filters..

  • Jerry Hunter

    I been renting from a family member since 2009, with the option of rent to own. She just told me she sold it and i have to move out before Oct 25 which is less than a month. what legal optiond do i have.Jerry

  • Lonnie Jason byars

    Im the only person on my lease of my condo and im the only one on the bills if me and my girlfriend split up what legal rights does she have to my condo

  • Jim

    May residential leases in Alabama be for terms longer than 12 months? For example, may the lease on a single family house be for 18 months or is it limited to 12 months?

  • Stacy

    My rent is late and my landlord has given me a 7 day eviction notice. I will have the rent plus the late fees on friday (2 days from now) but she says I can’t pay the rent and cure the situation and stop the eviction. She says that my lease states that if late rent isnt paid by the 12 of the month that you will be given a eviction notice and must get out. Is that legal since I thought she had to give me 7 days to to pay?

  • Kevin

    My landlord says I owe them a month rent for 4 days of returning key to them I return the key just a few days late why am I having to pay full months rent

    • Zaida

      Kevin they should prorate the extra 4 days; however, if you were required to give a 30 day or 60 day written notice per the lease agreement they can charge you for those days. Always communicate with your landlord to make sure you are in compliance with the lease agreement.

  • Valerie

    I live in an apartment. (House converted into 3apts.) My unit is the only one with carpet so the landlords said we can’t have pets. The other units have pets supposedly allowed since no carpeting. The landlords said absolutely no cats allowed by anyone but the house they own & rented out 6 months after they rented to us has cats. Is it legal for them to make my rental the only one not allowed to have pets? I don’t feel this is fair or right. I wasn’t even given the option to pay an extra deposit to be able to have pets.

  • Dayna joseph

    We signed a lease last fall for a student apartment next fall (2018), due to a change in my daughters school (she is transferring to another college in another state) and partly will not be returning because of medical issues….they are wanting to charge a “re-letting” fee of $500, even though my daughter has found people interested in the lease, which would start until August 2018…can they charge this?

  • Jane

    Our renters broke their lease that would have ended the end of June at the end of February.
    We have been unsuccessfully trying to find new renters.
    Since we had to move out of the area, we are only able to manage the property with help from family.
    So, we now decided to sell the property.
    Do the tenants still owe us rent for breaking the lease since we have tried to rerent it first before putting it on the market?
    Thank you.

  • Ashley

    Landlord insisting on sticking typed letter between our door in the evening (5PM) for pest control to come out the next day (could I refuse if I have a child because we’re clean and I don’t want those chemicals around her?) and doesn’t state a time at all about when he is coming. From what I’ve read in the state of Alabama, he has to give a proper 2 day’s notice. What could I do?

  • Remonia Redmon

    I have a question. Me and my boyfriend wanted to move into an apartment but we’re 18 and needed a co signer. We both signed the contract and after saw that the apartment had roaches. Can we void the contract since we are underage and our cosigner didn’t sign the contract yet.

  • Johney

    My house has caught fire 2 due to electric issues fire department gave him 3 days to repair that was 4 months ago what can I do -Alabama’s

  • Sarah

    My landlord keeps locking the mail box on me and I never did anything to her she has been racists towards everyone black and she got in trouble by the police because that’s public property she has put me in my kids at risk with with big rats I want to get a lawsuit but no money what to do. Please help!!

Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available. Be short, sweet and to the point.