Alabama Rental Laws

Written on October 23, 2012 by , updated on April 10, 2019

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

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95 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Melinda Quintero

    We had to move from Alabama back to Texas. Our property company said we could lease the house and as long as we leased it before leaving we would be OK to get out of our lease early. The property management said they would charge us a $450 fee to put back on the market….fine….. We leased the house….i showed the house, property manager never came out. We left last weekend and I mailed the $450 on Tuesday….she has not received it yet, but has threatened to send to collections if she does not have by the 20th….Im not concerned because I know I mailed it BUT I don’t like being bullied……shouldn’t I have something in writing, an invoice or something before she stars threatening me? Again, I did mail check.

  • Ashley

    We are leaving our rental home and there are a couple of smaller screw holes in two of the rooms. Our security deposit is $200 and our landlord said they don’t have the original paint to paint over the holes and will have to get someone to paint the rooms, which they estimated to be $300 per room. They said they would “negotiate an amount” that we would have to pay for damages. We believe they are drastically overcharging, especially for four small screw holes. What do we do if our landlord tries to overcharge for repairs?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi

      If the landlord wrongly charges for something, then you could file a case in small claims court and a judge will hear you. If you can’t settle it yourselves, small claims is the primary way to handle security deposit disputes.

      • Thomas

        As far as commercial property goes, are there any states that allow landlord to padlock doors for non-payment of rent by commercial tenant? If so, which ones?

      • Thomas

        As far as commercial property goes, are there any states that allow landlord to padlock doors for non-payment of rent by commercial tenant? If so, which ones?

      • Thomas

        As far as commercial property goes, are there any states that allow landlord to padlock doors for non-payment of rent by commercial tenant? If so, which ones?

      • Thomas

        As far as commercial property goes, are there any states that allow landlord to padlock doors for non-payment of rent by commercial tenant? If so, which ones?

  • Ollivia

    I moved into my apartment on June 24. I was given a pro-rated amount for the week we moved in june. First month rent(July) was paid during the lease signing. I have receipts saying I paid a holding, deposit & first months rent fees. But a week after living there I was giving a outstanding balance of 560 (the rent amount). Went and talked to the landlord and they printed out a ledger saying the money I gave them for first months was for an “Eviction Retainer”….???? What is this? & is this Legal?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Olivia,

      I’ve not heard of an “eviction retainer”, but I suppose it would be like a deposit. Either way, you should check your lease, because these payments should be clearly defined in there. If you don’t have a lease, then it would be difficult to argue it since there is nothing in writing.

  • Annika

    My landlord doesn’t want to pay for the cost to fix my air conditioner and wants to take it out of my deposit. I think that’s bullshit. I’ve been without cold air for a week now. It’s me, my 2 boys and 2 dogs suffering without air conditioning. What is my next step? I’ve been arguing with her about the air conditioner for a week now and I’m tired of her. I’m a good tenant that pays her rent on time and I’ve been living as her tenant for 4 years. What is my next step?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Annika

      How is your landlord able to claim that the broken AC is your fault? That seems ridiculous.

      Your next step would be to talk to a lawyer about sending a “10 day notice to remedy or quit”.

  • Edward batson

    I had my travelling trailer on a lot paying buy the week I had got arrested for old tickets but my wife was there one morning she had to go to emergency room at like 3am when she returned home around noon our home was gone no warning no notice It was gone now the landlord claims that there was nobody at the home for three days but it’ people pay to keep trailers there all yr and come to visit or fish we when we went to company that towed it he wanted alot money get it back we have lost everything in what can I do bham ala

  • KC Mater

    The breezeway that provides entry to our apartment and another unit floods with inches deep stormwater runoff. On four occasions the water entered our apartment. This issue was noted in February 2016 when we were viewing the apartment and were told this along with all repairs on the Move-in Condition sheet would be fixed within days of our moving into the apartment. We have patiently waited and submitted multiple requests for landscaping and simple improvements to mitigate the flooding. It is August and with frequent thunderstorms we are forced to wade through dirty stormwater to enter apartment. What actions can be taken beyond maintenance requests and repeated request for property manager to have company management contact us? Thank you

  • Yvonne Moss

    My granddaughter is moving into an apartment this weekend, 8/12/16. Her lease starts that day. They are asking for full months rent and her apartment was not ready until today at 1:00. Plus a 1.5 percent rental tax each month. Question. If the lease starts on the 12th, should be prorated for the most th she take occupancy?

  • Frank

    I rent from my grandma. I have rented for 2 years no lease. Her sons have now taken control of her assets and have power of attorney. Can they make me vacate the house.

  • Elizabeth Pesceone

    I moved in to an apartment. The carpet was replaced and the walls painted but not washed. The previous tenants lived there for 5 years and were heavy smokers. I have started having headaches and nausea since moving in. Everything I carry out smells like cigarette smoke. When I keep my grandchildren they smell like smoke as well as all their things. Should the apartment complex be responsible for getting rid of the odor?

  • Cjrackard

    I live in AL, my daughter has recently went through a divorce. I rent myself and my landlord makes restriction as time goes along. His latest restriction is the only people allowed to stay with us is my daughter and/or my daughter. A friend of mine had a nice camper setup in her side yard and offered her to stay there as long as she needed. In either case there has been no leases presented or signed. My landlord let me know if he wanted us out he would have all the utilities turned off. In my daughter’s case my so called friend wants to leave her husband therefore she wants the camper back. She didn’t give them any written eviction notice and with less than two weeks she had their power turned off to force them out. rent has been pd

  • Lyrics Phillips

    My husband and I moved into our home yesterday September 18th 2016 we have a month to month a verbal lease weather understanding that a relative may be buying the house in January. Today, the landlord called me to tell me I have to be out by October 18th because she had is selling the house that relative next month is this legal?

  • Lyrics Phillips

    My husband and I moved into our home yesterday September 18th 2016 we have a month to month a verbal lease weather understanding that a relative may be buying the house in January. Today, the landlord called me to tell me I have to be out by October 18th because she had is selling the house that relative next month is this legal? We live in alabama

  • R Bell

    Hello. I paid my security deposit 10 days before my expected move in date. There is a 48-HR holding period as their contract states. The person renting the property to me was very adamant that I pay my deposit now if I was interested in the property. I did that. However, a family situation came up (death in the family) 2 days before I was to move in. I went to the business and explained my situation and they told me they had already sent the $1295 to the owners of the property. I know for a fact that’s a lie because had I stayed the duration of a lease then that money would be returned to me. Is there anything I can do to get my money back. That’s a lot of money to just give away and not be told, “It may be smart to just hold that a while”.

  • Chris berry

    My question is how far in advance can an apartment charge your security deposit to hole the place for future use?

  • Angie Howard

    I have been renting a small bedroom in a privite home. I have no lease of any type. The person renting the room to me has told me that he can tell me to leave at anytime and I will have 3 hours to leave his home.
    He has 3 other bedrooms he rents out which are all rented at this time.
    He only rents to older and everyone that has lived here since I have are all did on disablitiy as am I.
    I would like to know how long I have to leave once he tells me to go. After he tells me to leave and don’t go or tell him he has no right to make me leave in 3 hours, Living here is going to not very pleasant.
    Could you please tell me what if any rights I have. Thank You, Angie Howard

  • C. Smith

    Is an ‘ authorized’ guest who pays rent on a regular basis and receives his mail at your address legally responsible for rent , if he suddenly moves out . What if you had a verbal agreement with the authorized guest that he would pay 1/2 the rent for the entire term of lease.

    The authorized guest was not on lease.

  • Rose

    Im looking to purchase a home in 35205 area. I would like to rent out 3 of the bedrooms to susidize my costs.

    The home is 3200 sqft, 2 story with 4 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms.

    I would occupy one bedroom and rent the remaining 3 bedrooms out to individual occupants.
    I want to know if this is legal and if so would I be able to obtain your services to make the lease agreements that follow the laws in my area?

  • Benjamin Davis

    I was just comparing the law in Europe with the law in the states. Alabama seems to be the state with the most similar law, for the points I had a look at…

  • tiffaney acosta

    Fantastic article ! I learned a lot from the facts , Does someone know where my business might obtain a blank KY KREC Tenant Move-in Move-out Condition Inspection Report copy to fill in ?

  • l michael

    As of this May I (or my daughter) have lived in a rental house for 10 years. The house was previously owned by a different landlord, with a verbal agreement. The house was sold to current landlord 6 -7 years ago. There has never been a written lease agreement between us. Because of a transfer in utilities, I need to get a new agreement and requested one 18 months ago, i provided an agreement only needing his signature. I have never received the agreement signed or otherwise.5 months ago i requested a 2nd agreement, along with a letter stating why I needed it. No response. Nothing. I have stopped paying rent as of 12/16, hoping to at least force a conversation with the owner, but nothing. What rights if any do I have, and can I be evicted?

  • Lois Bailey

    Once a lease terminates, and the tenants remain in the property on a month-to-month basis, do all the residents become “tenants,” responsible for rent, etc, or is the only tenant with legal status the individual who signed the original lease?

    I am about to settle a suit against my tenant, and would like both husband a wife to sign the release even though only the husband’s name appears on the signed lease. But, the lease was for one year, and they both lived in the property for more than a year after the lease expired. Does the wife qualify as my tenant now? May I add her name to our mutual release even though she did not sign the lease?

    Thank you,
    Lois B.

  • Samuel

    Hi, Ive been renting a house for a little over a year. No damages just normal wear and tear and a few holes from pictures. My security deposit was 1375$ Same as rent. Im trying to see and i resposiblle for carpet cleaning (No stains) and the painting of the walls No holes bigger than the size of a thumb tack). Im trying to see if the landlord is going to try to dip in to my deposit.

  • Samuel

    Hi, Ive been renting a house for a little over a year. No damages just normal wear and tear and a few holes from pictures. My security deposit was 1375$ Same as rent. Im trying to see and i resposiblle for carpet cleaning (No stains) and the painting of the walls No holes bigger than the size of a thumb tack). Im trying to see if the landlord is going to try to dip in to my deposit.

  • Jessica

    My lease (Alabama) states rent is due on the 1st of each month in one paragraph, but in another paragraph it states if rent is not paid by the 10th, a late fee equal to 5% of the rent amount will be incurred. Can my landlord legally demand rent on the 1st and consider it late on the 2nd? The paragraph stating rent is due on the 1st does not state anything about a late fee at all.

  • Stephanie hopper

    Me and my boyfriend are being kicked out of the house we’re living in now. I’m 16 and he’s 18 we love our jobs and we’re looking for somewhere to rent out are we able to rent since he’s 18.

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