This 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
- 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
- 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.
- Small Claims Court Limits: $6,000 (source)
- Eviction Cases Allowed: No.
- A Guide to Alabama Small Claims Court (PDF)
- Statute of Limitations
- Office of the Attorney General
- Alabama State Bar
- Lawyer Referral Service–Alabama State Bar
- Alabama Unified Judicial System
- Alabama Judicial Circuit Courts
- Legal Services Alabama
- Business License required: unknown
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 – ezLandlordForms
- Alabama Legal Help
- Alabama Association of REALTORS®
- 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