This article summarizes some key Alaska Landlord-Tenant Laws applicable to residential rental units.
The Official State Statutes and other reputable municipal sources were used to research this information. All sources are cited appropriately.
With that said, landlord-tenant laws are always changing, and may even vary from county to county. You have a responsibility to perform your own research and cautiously apply the laws to your unique situation.
If you have a legal question or concern, I recommend contacting a licensed attorney referral service that is operated by the state bar association. This article is not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for qualified legal advice.
Official Rules and Regulations
- Alaska Stat. §§ 34.03.010 – 34.03.360 – Uniform Residential Landlord Tenant Act
- Alaska Stat. §§ 09.10.010 – Limitations of Actions
- Alaska Landlord and Tenant Act (PDF) – Alaska Court System
- The Alaska Landlord & Tenant Act: What It Means to You (PDF) – Alaska Department of Law
- Security Deposit Maximum: The security deposit and/or prepaid rent may not exceed two months rent, except for rental units where the monthly rent exceeds $2,000. (§§ 34.03.070(a))
- Security Deposit Interest: The security deposit and prepaid rent must be promptly deposited into a trust account in a bank, savings and loan association, or licensed escrow agent. State statute does not require that the trust account earn interest. However, if the account does earn interest, the tenant is entitled to the interest under general trust law principles, unless both parties agree otherwise. (§§ 34.03.070(c)) and (The Alaska Landlord & Tenant Act: What It Means to You (Page 5))
- Separate Security Deposit Bank Account: Landlords may commingle prepaid rent and security deposit in a single financial account (§§ 34.030.70(c)).
- Pet Deposits: No statute
- Non-Refundable Fees: No statute
- Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: If the landlord or tenant provides proper notice in compliance with §§ 34.03.290, the landlord has 14 days to mail the written notice of withholdings and refund. If the tenant does not provide notice in compliance with §§ 34.03.290 the landlord has 30 days to mail the notice and refund. (§§ 34.03.070(g))
- Permitted Uses of the Deposit: A portion or the entirety of the security deposit can be withheld to pay for 1) rent owed and 2) damages the the landlord has suffered due to the tenant’s noncompliance with statutory Tenant Obligations. For additional provisions, see §§ 34.03.070(b).
- Require Written Description/Itemized List of Damages and Charges: Yes, withholdings for accrued rent and damages must be itemized by the landlord in a written notice mailed to the tenant’s last known address. (§§ 34.03.070(b))
- Record Keeping of Deposit Withholdings: No statute
- Receipt of Deposit: No statute
- Failure to Comply: If the landlord fails to comply with the rules for deposit withholding and return, the tenant may recover an amount not to exceed twice the amount withheld. (§§ 34.03.070(d))
Lease, Rent & Fees:
- Rent Is Due: As stated in the lease (§§ 34.03.020(c))
- Rent Increase Notice: For month-to-month tenancies, the landlord must give the tenant at least 30 days notice before the increase takes effect. (The Alaska Landlord & Tenant Act: What It Means to You (Page 14))
- Rent Grace Period: No statute
- Late Fees: No automatic late fee is legally enforceable, unless it has been agreed upon beforehand. (The Alaska Landlord & Tenant Act: What It Means to You (Page 3))
- Prepaid Rent: Prepaid rent and the security deposit may not exceed two month’s rent, except for rental units that rent for more than $2,000 per month.(§§ 34.03.070)
- Returned Check Fees: Automatic charges for checks returned for non-sufficient funds are not legally enforceable, unless such a charge has been agreed upon beforehand. (The Alaska Landlord & Tenant Act: What It Means to You (Page 3))
- Tenant Allowed to Withhold Rent for Failure to Provide Essential Services (Water, Heat, etc.): Allowed. After giving the landlord written notice specifying the breach, the tenant may immediately procure reasonable amounts of hot water, running water, heat, sanitary facilities, and essential services during the period of the landlord’s noncompliance and deduct those costs from the rent. This section does not apply if the condition was caused by the tenant, the tenant’s family, or someone on the premises with the tenant’s consent. For a sample notice, see The Alaska Landlord & Tenant Act: What It Means to You (PDF) (Page 30). (§§ 34.03.180)
- Tenant Allowed to Repair and Deduct Rent: Allowed. For a sample notice, see The Alaska Landlord & Tenant Act: What It Means to You (PDF) (Page 31). (§§ 34.03.180)
- Landlord Allowed to Recover Court and Attorney Fees: Attorney fees are allowed to the prevailing party in any proceeding arising out of either the rental agreement or the state’s Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act. (§§ 34.03.350)
- Landlord Must Make a Reasonable Attempt to Mitigate Damages to Lessee, including an Attempt to Rerent: Yes. The aggrieved party has a duty to mitigate damages. If the tenant abandons the dwelling, the landlord shall make reasonable efforts to rent the rental unit at a fair rental value. (§§ 34.03.320 and §§ 34.03.230(c))
- Abandonment/Early Termination Fee: No abandonment/early termination fee is defined in statute. However, if the rental agreement is terminated, the landlord may have a claim for possession and for back rent and a separate claim for actual damages for breach of the rental agreement. (§§ 34.03.270)
Notices and Entry:
- Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Fixed End Date in Lease: No notice is required as the lease simply expires.
- Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Month-to-Month Lease: 30-day written notice prior to rent due date. (§§ 34.03.290(b))
- Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Week-to-Week Lease: 14-days written notice. (§§ 34.03.290(a))
- Termination of Tenancy with 24 Hours Notice: If the tenant or someone in the tenant’s control deliberately inflicts substantial damage exceeding $400 to the rental unit, the landlord may deliver a written notice to quit specifying that the rental agreement will terminate within 24 hours after the notice was delivered. (§§ 34.03.220(a)(1))
- Termination of Tenancy for Nonpayment of Utilities: If a public utility providing electricity, natural gas, or water to the rental unit discontinues service for nonpayment, five days notice is required, and the tenant has three days to have service reinstated and must pay landlord for any amounts the landlord paid to reinstate the service. Three days notice is required if a similar breach occurs again within six months. (§§ 34.03.220(a)(1))
- Notice of Date/Time of Move-Out Inspection: No statute
- Notice of Termination for Nonpayment: Seven days written notice required. (§§ 34.03.220(b))
- Termination for Lease Violation: If the tenant is not in compliance with either the rental agreement or statutory Tenant Duties, other than deliberate damage to the premises, the landlord may give written notice to quit specifying the breach and that the rental agreement will terminate not less than 10 days after service of the notice. If the breach is not remedied, the rental agreement terminates, as detailed in the notice. If the breach is remedial by repairs or the payment of damages and the tenant adequately remedies the breach before the date specified in the notice, the rental agreement will not terminate. See statute for additional provisions. (§§ 34.03.220(a)(2))
- Required Notice before Entry: 24 hours, and entry is allowed only at reasonable times (§§ 34.03.140(c))
- Entry Allowed with Notice for Maintenance and Repairs (non-emergency): Yes (§§ 34.03.140)
- Entry Allowed with Notice for Showings: Yes (§§ 34.03.140(a))
- Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: Yes (§§ 34.03.140(b))
- Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: Yes. Also, the rental agreement requires that the tenant notify the landlord of any anticipated extended absences that are longer than seven days. (§§ 34.03.150 and §§ 34.03.230(b))
- Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: No statute
- Lockouts Allowed: No, the landlord locks the tenant out, the tenant may recover possession of the rental unit or terminate the rental agreement and, in either case, recover up to one and one-half times actual damages. (§§ 34.03.280 and §§ 34.03.210)
- Utility Shut-offs Allowed: No. If the landlord shuts off utilities, the tenant may recover possession of the rental unit or terminate the rental agreement and, in either case, recover up to one and one-half times actual damages. (§§ 34.03.280 and §§ 34.03.210)
Disclosures and Miscellaneous Notes:
- Name and Addresses: No statute
- Copy of the Lease: No statute
- Domestic Violence Situations: No statute. The Alaska Network on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault links to support resources listed by community. The Alaska Court System also provides a Self Help Center.
- Landlord’s Duties: (§§ 34.03.100)
- Repairs: Make all repairs and do whatever is necessary to keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition;
- Common Areas: Keep all common areas of the unit clean and safe;
- Maintenance: Maintain in good and safe working order all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning utilities, as well as other facilities and appliances, including elevators, supplied or required to be supplied; and
- Heat: Supply running water and reasonable amounts of hot water at all times and reasonable heat between October 1 and May 1. Exceptions are cases in which the building that includes the dwelling unit is not required by law to be equipped for that purpose, or the dwelling unit is so constructed that heat or hot water is generated by an installation within the exclusive control of the tenant.
- Locks: If requested by tenant, provide and maintain locks and furnish keys adequate to ensure the safety of the tenant’s person and property.
- Smoke Detectors: Provide smoke detection devices and carbon monoxide detection devices as required under §§ 18.70.095.
- Tenant’s Duties: (§§ 34.03.120)
- Cleanliness: Keep the premises that the tenant lives in and uses as clean and safe as the condition of the unit permit;
- Trash: Dispose of all garbage and other waste in a clean and safe manner;
- Plumbing: Keep all plumbing fixtures in the unit or used by the tenant as clean as their condition permits;
- Appliances: Use in a reasonable manner all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning utilities, as well as other facilities and appliances, including elevators in the premises;
- Damage: Not deliberately or negligently destroy, deface, damage, impair, or remove a part of the unit or knowingly permit another person to do so;
- Quiet Enjoyment: Conduct oneself and require other persons on the premises with tenant consent to conduct themselves in a manner that will not disturb neighbors’ peaceful enjoyment of the premises;
- Smoke Detectors: Maintain smoke detection devices and carbon monoxide detection devices as required under §§ 18.70.095;
- Locks: Tenants cannot change the locks on the doors of a rental unit without obtaining an agreement from the landlord, in writing, first. The only exception is if there is and emergency and the landlord cannot be contacted; in that case, the tenant must notify the landlord that the locks were changed within five days. Immediately after changing the locks, the tenant must provide a set of keys to all the doors with changed locks to the doors to the landlord.
- Municipal Fees for Police Response: The tenant may not engage in unreasonable conduct, or permit others on the premises to engage in similar conduct, that results in the imposition of a fee under a municipal ordinance adopted under §§ 29.35.125.
- Subleasing: Not allowed, unless otherwise agreed to in writing. (§§ 34.03.060)
- Retaliation: The landlord must not terminate or refuse to renew a lease to a tenant who has filed an official complaint to a Government Authority, or has been involved in a tenant’s organization. Other actions are prohibited. Read §§ 34.03.310 for more information.
- 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.
- Alaska Small Claims Court
- Limits: $10,000 (source)
- Eviction Cases Allowed in Small Claims: No, forcible entry and detainer cases are heard in either Superior or District Court. (Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure (Rule 85))
- Alaska Small Claims Handbook (PDF)
- Eviction Information for Landlords and Tenants (PDF) – Alaska Court System
- Forcible Entry and Detainer Forms (PDF) – Alaska Court System
- Statute of Limitations
- Alaska Court System
- Alaska District Court Information
- Alaska Department of Law
- Alaska Bar Association
- Legal Aid:
- Business License Required: No statewide statute, but local cities and counties may have regulations and requirements. Check with your local governing authority.
- State Agencies & Regulatory Bodies
- Housing Authorities
- Realtor and Landlord / Tenant Associations