Alabama Landlord Tenant Laws
January 20, 2023
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Rent and Fees
Application Fees: Permitted
Rent Control: N/A
Late Fee Limit: N/A
Grace Period Minimum: N/A
Amount Limit: 1 month’s rent
Return Within: 60 days
Notice: 2 days’
Permitted Times of Entry: Reasonable
|Fair Housing Protections|
Rent Demand Notice: 7-day pay-or-quit notice
Notice for Lease Violation: 7-day cure-or-quit notice
Unconditional Notice to Quit: 7-day quit notice
Alabama Landlord-Tenant Law
Landlords in all 50 states must include information about lead-based paint hazards in the rental agreements for most properties built before 1978. Sellers and landlords must distribute an EPA-approved information pamphlet called “Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home” and disclose any known lead hazards in the property. These obligations were established by Section 1018 of the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992.
The landlord must disclose the name and business address of the person authorized to manage the premises and the person responsible for receiving notices.
Rent and Fees
- Rent Due Date: According to rent laws in Alabama, rent is payable at the time and place specified in the lease agreement. If no time or place is specified, rent is payable at the dwelling unit at the beginning of each month (Ala. Code § 35-9A-161(c)).
- Application Fees: Rental application fees are not regulated in Alabama.
- Rent Increases: There is no statewide rent control in Alabama.
- Late Fees: There are no limits on late fees in Alabama.
- Grace Period: There is no mandatory grace period in Alabama.
- NSF/Bounced Check Fee Maximum: If the tenant’s rent check bounces, the landlord may charge a fee of $30 (Ala. Code § 8-8-15).
- Withholding Rent/Repair and Deduct: No law in Alabama allows tenants to withhold rent or make repairs and deduct the cost from rent if the landlord fails to remedy a condition (Ala. Code § 35-9A-164).
- Deposit Limit: 1 month’s rent. This limit does not include deposits to cover pets, reversing tenant alterations, or tenant activities with increased liability risk (Ala. Code § 35-9A-201(a)).
- Interest: Alabama landlords are not required to pay interest on security deposits.
- Return Within: 60 days (Ala. Code § 35-9A-201(b)).
- Deposit Location: Landlords are not required to keep security deposits in a specific bank account or separate from other funds.
- Withholding: Landlords may withhold funds from the security deposit for unpaid rent and any damages caused by the tenant’s noncompliance. Landlords must also provide an itemized list of deductions in a written notice delivered to the tenant with the remainder of the deposit (Ala. Code § 35-9A-201(b-c)).
Tenant Screening and Fair Housing Protections
- Federal law prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, gender, national origin, familial status, and disability (Title 24 USC § 3601-3607). Alabama state law reaffirms these protections (Ala. Code § 24-8-4).
- Alabama landlords are subject to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) (15 USC § 1681), which outlines the responsibilities of landlords to protect tenant credit information. According to the Act, landlords may not share tenant credit information with anyone without a legal reason to view it. They must also investigate disputed information, dispose of credit reports after use in tenant screening, and notify applicants when their credit score or history was the reason for their denial.
- The use of criminal background checks is not regulated in Alabama.
- Alabama landlords should follow HUD recommendations for using criminal background checks fairly. This includes avoiding blanket policies for denying applicants with criminal convictions, assessing applicants and their criminal histories on a case-by-case basis, and only denying an applicant when they demonstrate a risk to the safety of other residents or the property.
- Advanced Notice: 2 days’ notice (Ala. Code § 35-9A-303(c)).
- Permitted Times: Landlords in Alabama may only enter at reasonable times (Ala. Code § 35-9A-303(c)).
- Emergency Entry: In case of emergency, the landlord may enter without advanced notice (Ala. Code § 35-9A-303(b)(1)).
Evictions are complex legal processes often poorly understood by both parties. Before pursuing eviction in Alabama, consider hiring an experienced real estate attorney and be sure to review the Alabama eviction process in more detail.
- Rent Demand Notice: 7 days to pay or quit (Ala. Code § 35-9A-421(b)).
- Notice for Lease Violation: 7 days to cure or quit. Note that unless the landlord consents otherwise in writing, a tenant may not cure a lease violation more than twice within any 12-month period. This means if a tenant continues violating a lease agreement, the landlord does not need to give a second opportunity to correct the breach (Ala. Code § 35-9A-421(d)).
- Unconditional Notice to Quit: 7 days to quit. Alabama eviction laws designate this notice for non-curable breaches, such as manufacturing or handling illegal drugs, illegal use or possession of a firearm on the rental property (except in self-defense), criminal assault of another tenant or guest, or a repeated breach that has occurred more than once within six months (Ala. Code § 35-9A-421(d)).
Other Laws and Facts About Alabama
- The median rent rate in Alabama is $1,461.
- The median rent rate in Birmingham is $1,100.
- If a landlord in Alabama does not return the security deposit or an itemized list of deductions within the 60-day return period, they must pay the tenant double the original deposit (Ala. Code § 35-9A-201(f)).