Alaska Rental Laws

Written on December 8, 2014 by , updated on November 1, 2017

flag-of-alaskaThis 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 only 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

Security Deposit:

  • Security Deposit Maximum: Security deposit and prepaid rent may not exceed two month’s rent, except for 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 in a trust account in a bank, savings and loan association, or licensed escrow agent. Statute does not require that the trust account earn interest, however, if it does earn interest, the tenant is entitled to the interest under general trust law principles, unless both parties have agreed otherwise. (§§ 34.03.070(c)) and (The Alaska Landlord & Tenant Act: What It Means to You (Page 5))
  • Separate Security Deposit Bank Account: Landlord may commingle prepaid rents and security deposits in a single financial account (§§ 34.030.70(c)). It is not recommended that the landlord commingle rent or deposits with personal funds.
  • Pet Deposits: No statute
  • Non-Refundable Fees: No statute
  • Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: If landlord or tenant provides proper notice in compliance with §§ 34.03.290, landlord has 14 days to mail the written notice of withholdings and refund. If tenant does not provide notice in compliance with §§ 34.03.290 landlord has 30 days to mail the notice and refund. (§§ 34.03.070(g))
  • Permitted Uses of the Deposit:
  • 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, 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 security deposit may not exceed two month’s rent, except where the rent exceeds $2,000 per month.(§§ 34.03.070)
  • Returned Check Fees: No automatic charge for a check returned for non-sufficient funds is legally enforceable, unless it 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 landlord written notice specifying the breach, 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 the 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. Also, if the tenant abandons the dwelling, the landlord shall make reasonable efforts to rent it 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 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-day written notice. (§§ 34.03.290(a))
  • Termination of Tenancy with 24 Hours Notice: If tenant or someone in the tenant’s control deliberately inflicts substantial damage exceeding $400 to the premises, landlord may deliver a written notice to quit specifying that the rental agreement will terminate upon a date that is not less than 24 hours after service of the notice. (§§ 34.03.220(a)(1))
  • Termination of Tenancy for Nonpayment of Utilities: If a public utility providing electricity, natural gas, or water to the premises occupied by the tenant discontinues service for nonpayment, five-day notice is required, and the tenant has three days to remedy by reinstating service and paying landlord for any amounts paid by the landlord to reinstate the service. Three-day notice is required if a similar breach occurs again within six months of an earlier breach for which notice was given. (§§ 34.03.220(a)(1))
  • Notice of Date/Time of Move-Out Inspection: No statute
  • Notice of Termination for Nonpayment: Seven-day written notice required. (§§ 34.03.220(b))
  • Termination for Lease Violation: If tenant is in noncompliance with either the rental agreement or statutory Tenant Duties, other than deliberate damage to the premises, 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 breach is not remedied, the rental agreement terminates as provided in the notice. If the breach is remedial by repairs or the payment of damages or otherwise 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 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 shall require that the tenant notify landlord of an anticipated extended absence longer than seven days. (§§ 34.03.150 and §§ 34.03.230(b))
  • Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use:  No statute
  • Lockouts Allowed: No, and if landlord locks tenant out, tenant may recover possession 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, and if landlord shuts off utilities, tenant may recover possession 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 put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition;
    • Common Areas: Keep all common areas of the premises in a clean and safe condition;
    • 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; and
    • Heat: Supply running water and reasonable amounts of hot water at all times and reasonable heat between October 1 and May 1 except where 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 and supplied by a direct public utility connection.
    • Locks: If requested by tenant, provide and maintain locks and furnish keys reasonably adequate to ensure safety to 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 tenant occupies and uses as clean and safe as the condition of the premises permit;
    • Trash: Dispose of all garbage and other waste in a clean and safe manner;
    • Plumbing: Keep all plumbing fixtures in the dwelling 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 and other facilities and appliances including elevators in the premises;
    • Damage: Not deliberately or negligently destroy, deface, damage, impair, or remove a part of the premises or knowingly permit any 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: Not, except in an emergency when the landlord cannot be contacted after reasonable effort to do so, change the locks on doors of the premises without first securing the written agreement of the landlord and, immediately after changing the locks, providing the landlord a set of keys to all doors for which locks have been changed; in an emergency, the tenant may change the locks and shall, within five days, provide the landlord a set of keys to all doors for which locks have been changed and written notice of the change;
    • Municipal Fees for Police Response: Not unreasonably engage in conduct, or permit others on the premises to engage in 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:  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.

Court Related:

Business Licenses:

  • Business License Required: No statewide statute, but local cities and counties may have regulations and requirements. Check with your local governing authority.
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33 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Justin Boyland

    How much notice does your landlord needs to give tenant on renewing lease? Because my landlord just came to me yesterday and said I need to renew the lease in 48hrs.. I’m likening haven’t even gave throught if I want to stay or not. I honestly feel like I’m being force to renew…

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Justin,

      Sorry for the late reply. Generally speaking, no notice is needed for fixed-term leases because the end date is already specified in the lease, and renewal is usually not automatic. But if you have a month-to-month lease, then 30 days notice of non-renewal prior to the rent payment date would be required by either party according to §§ 34.03.290(b).

      I hope that answers your questions. Please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice.

  • miah p

    What happens if you rent a house with another person and that person passed away are we able to bAck out of the agreement cause we can’t afford it?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Miah,

      My condolences to you regarding your roommate.

      Your liability really depends on how your lease is written. Most of the time, when multiple tenants sign a lease, it has “Joint and Several Liability” – which means that every tenant is responsible for the full amount, even if one or more roommates go away.

      Here’s an article on it: https://www.landlordology.com/what-is-joint-and-several-liability/

      If you can no longer afford the place, I suggest you have an honest conversation with your landlord about it. Hopefully, they will let you out of the lease, or allow you to get another roommate.

      Good luck, Please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice.

  • Aaron Udland

    Does having to provide water, hot water and heat mean the landlord is responsible for paying for those items or ensure that the rental is connected to water, hot water heater and a heating source.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Aaron,

      I’ve not seen any statutes that require a landlord to pay for a tenant’s water, gas and electrical usage. It usually just means that the house has to have a functioning plumbing system, access to potable water, and adequate means to heat the water.

      The tenant would typically still be responsible for paying the water bill, the electric bill, and any fuel needed to heat the water.

      If the house is not connected to a main water line, or a well, then I don’t see how it can be inhabitable. But I know the rules can vary among localities and some parts of Alaska are very remote.

      Good luck, Please know that I’m not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice.

  • Jolene

    I am renting a place for 6 months
    But ive decided I no longer want to
    Lease or rent for 6 months
    Ive only been here 2 weeks an
    Is it possible to get my prepaid rent back?
    I paid for 3 months of rent and
    I dont like this place dont feel comfortable or safe in this area
    AN my landlord is trying to say
    I am obligated stay here for 6 months
    I no longer want to rent or lease this place
    Shouldnt my reasons be good enough
    To get my prepaid rent back and deposit?..

    • R.

      I feel the same. I feel trapped in a lease that I don’t want to be in! I definitely don’t feel safe where i am, the landlord just pops up out of nowhere without any given notice and just yesterday I noticed that the building I live in was shot up at some point in time cause there were bullet holes covered with paint. There’s was several gun shots fired very close and I have a small child. Property manager is trying to scare me into staying the whole year when there’s several things wrong with my apartment they refuse to fix.

  • Cody

    Our company (which is just me in the office) “shall pay the City an annual fee of $*,*** to offset the cost of the facility insurance, heating fuel and electricity”. Then the City moved in two new tenants who crank up the heat and have made our electricity go up by 25%, but their rent is, per The Mayor, “an extra bonus for the City” and isn’t applied toward insurance, heating fuel and electricity. Is this legal?

  • V

    I rented a room in my house. I did ask the person for an ID but was not shown one because I was told she forgot it at the bank and don’t have it on her. I have let it go, but now I realize I do not know her name because she never returned the renter agreement to me either. When i asked her for it she turned around and went in to her room. Howe can I find out her name?

  • Russell Silook

    Just got duplex how do i evict tenant? How do i have him remove 3 cars from my property?

  • Teri Feibel

    If I rent from someone and pay monthly but we have no written contract and they sell the house June 13th, the purchaser of the home tells me not to worry about moving, there will be no surprises with them on June 20th, then presents me with a written contract to sign that increases rent, requires me to maintain their lawn and driveways, on July 22nd. Am I required to give any notice before vacating? Or will I be liable for the August rent?

  • Guy

    Hello. Interested to know if someone who is not the landlord can write a rental agreement. For instance, a landlord is renting a house to a family, is the parent aloud to write a rental contract for their kids? One would think this is not able to be enforced as the one issuing the rental agreement is not the owner of the property but is actually under a rent to own contract themselves. I would understand if the landlord wrote the contract, sure. But a tenant writing rental agreements?

  • Monica Calhoon

    I own a rental and have given 30 notice to tenants. Do I need to give them more of a notice if the building is set to be demolished on a certain date? They haven’t been paying rent and have been given several 7 day notices… If I give the a 60 day notice to be out and that the building will be demolished would that work? And what if they Dont leave?

  • Bob

    Hello, does the tenant have the right to terminate (without penalty) a lease early because of military deployment? Technically the tenant is still assigned to the home unit.

  • Jordan

    Hello,

    Is it legal for the landlord to charge extra monthly rent for pets in the state of Alaska?

    • kathy

      Yes. The landlord may charge an extra fee for allowing pets, and as long as the tenant agrees to it in writing, is also legally binding. Though there is no specific statute stating pets must be allowed nor that they must be excluded. It is up to the property owner, aka the landlord to decide who, or what they allow on their property.

  • Shannon

    Hello,

    I had a question, so my landlord is trying to keep $300 of my security deposit because my pipes froze and that was the cost to fix them. He said I was a negligent renter because I left my house for 48 hours when it was cold. But I left my heater on 68 degrees F and kept all of my cabinets open like talked about during the walkthrough. I don’t know what to do, because he is refusing to give it to me.

    Thank you.

    • kathy

      It depends on what the agreement you made with your landlord says. Did you agree to let them know when you’d be gone from the premises for more than say… 36 hours? If so, and IF you DID NOT let them know about being gone for 48 hours, then they may have a case against you. IF you DID inform them you’d be gone, and applied discussed remedies prior to leaving the premises, and the pipes still froze, you may have a case against them. Consult a local attorney and/or read up on your obligations as a tenant.

  • Kelsey P.

    My neighbor and I have been complaining to our landlord for at least 3 or 4 months about there not being any hot water. I have been told on numerous occasions that they’re getting to it. One time being about a month and a half ago when they told me then that it should be fixed by the end of that following week and it still has yet to be fixed. I have been having to take showers elsewhere. I have a handicapped child and haven’t been able to bathe him because of the lack of hot water and it’s too difficult to take him somewhere. The apartment complex is owned by a company and is considered low-income. What rights do I have and is there anything I can do legally?

  • melannie

    Can i terminate a lease if I’m moving out of town for work where they provide room and board

  • Dawn Conatser

    I was told today by someone who is also a landlord, that they “understand” that a 2 year lease is not enforceable in Alaska. I’ve NEVER heard that before and I often rent for 2 years then re-up the lease after that period of they stay as it gives me a chance renegotiate terms. Have you heard that a 2 yr. lease is not enforceable?

    • kathy

      Read the landlord-tenant act for Alaska. It provides for a 1 year lease by statute, but not longer. However that doesn’t mean it isn’t “allowed” nor does it mean it is “illegal” to write up an agreement between landlords and tenants for a longer period of time. What it means is that it’s not provided for by statute, so technically, could be determined to be “unenforceable”. Consult an attorney to be sure you’re on the right side of the law in your dealings with tenants. As a tenant it is wise to consult an attorney to be sure you’re fully informed of your obligations.
      http://law.alaska.gov/pdf/consumer/LandlordTenant_web.pdf

  • Sue

    Where can I find information on Landlord/Tenant laws of Alaska in a business format? Or does this apply to that as well?

  • Dan

    I moved out of a place and they gave me a receipt for a 0 balance, now they called me back and tell me that I owe them 1700 because of a mistake on their part. Am I legally obligated for this 1700 even though I have a receipt for 1700?

  • Alisha

    Can the landlord charge $50 per item that is left behind? We had to move in a hurry, we were told by who we hired to clean that it was done, and the landlord said there were some items left (some dishes, a couple of pillows, a blanket, and the stuff in the fridge) there was also water staining in the toilet and bathtub that were there when we moved in and she’s trying to charge us for that as well!… we were not even given the option of having someone else come in and finish the cleaning. Note: We were living in Alaska.

  • Misty

    When working with an RD & LIHTC property. If a resident gives notice in the middle of the month. Are they entitled to a return of pro-rated rent if they move out before the end of the following month? The initial 1 year lease term has been fulfilled.

  • amunique

    if the landlord asked you to leave before the lease is up and you do within the ten days how long do they have to give you your security deposit back. I left before the month was even up and the whole month was paid for so its not like they lost any money heck if anything they have extra money

    • Claire

      If you were ‘asked to leave’ by your landlord (especially before your lease was up…) You are most likely considered as an eviction, technically.
      It doesnt sound like you should have any expectation of receiving your security deposit returned to you. If you were evicted, you have forfeited your security deposit.
      It sounds as though upon being ‘asked to leave’, you simply adhered to the requirements of the eviction and obeyed the landlord’s request, leaving within requested time frame. No bearing on your security deposit.
      It might be somewhat clarifying to point out (example) that if you are given 30 days to vacate – whether you leave in 28 days, or in 2 days…either way you would have vacated within the 30 day time constraint.

  • Karen

    I signed a 1 year lease on a condo 2 months ago. The owner/landlord called a couple days ago and said she is planning to list it for sale. What is the law in Alaska Regarding tenants having to move when it sells, or am I protected by my one year lease? Pretty upset at her change of mind about selling over the short time and the work and worry about finding a new place and moving in the cold.

    • Renee

      You need to read yoi r rental agreement before taking any action. If it’s not in there you have the right to get your full deposit back or take them to court over this.

  • Orange

    What is the lowest temperature that my landlord can set in the unit I’m renting? Legally.

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