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Alabama

Welcome to the Legal Pages Here on Underground Landlord for the Great state of Alabama!

 

The Law pages here at Underground Landlord are set up to be easily navigatable and make searching the issue you are having quick and concise. Move the cursor to the highlighted area to the right that covers what you are dealing with. Click the title and it will move you automatically to the area where it is located. Also you will find Back To Top buttons randomly on the page. There is an example of one of these directly below the paragraph Each of these will automatically bring you to the top of the table of contents to the right. Enjoy and good luck finding your legal issue and Godspeed!

Navigating the Table of Contents on State Pages Here on Underground Landlord!

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ARTICLE 1:​             DIVISION I: GENERAL PROVISIONS              

 

DIVISION II: SCOPE AND JURISDICTION

Division III General Definitions and Principles of Intrepretation: Notice.

Division 4 General Provisions.

ARTICLE II                      LANDLORD OBLIGATIONS

ARTICLE III                          Tenant Obligations

Article IV: Remidies 

 Division 1 Tenant Remedies.

Division 2 Landlord Remedies.

Division 3 Periodic tenancy; holdover; abuse of access.
Division 4 Court Actions by Landlord.
Article V:         Retaliatory Conduct Prohibited
Article VI:
 
Article 1
  • General Provisions and Definitions.

    • Division 1 Short Title, Construction, Application and Subject Matter of the Chapter.

his chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Alabama Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act."

 

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1.)

Alphabetical List of Counties in the Great State of Alabama
  • Autauga County
  • Baldwin County
  • Barbour County
  • Bibb County
  • Blount County
  • Bullock County
  • Butler County
  • Calhoun County
  • Chambers County
  • Cherokee County
  • Chilton County
  • Choctaw County
  • Clarke County
  • Clay County
  • Cleburne County
  • Coffee County
  • Colbert County
  • Conecuh County
  • Coosa County
  • Covington County
  • Crenshaw County
  • Cullman County
  • Dale County
  • Dallas County
  • DeKalb County
  • Elmore County
  • Escambia County
  • Etowah County
  • Fayette County
  • Franklin County
  • Geneva County
  • Greene County
  • Hale County
  • Henry County
  • Houston County
  • Jackson County
  • Jefferson County
  • Lamar County
  • Lauderdale County
  • Lawrence County
  • Lee County
  • Limestone County
  • Lowndes County
  • Macon County
  • Madison County
  • Marengo County
  • Marion County
  • Marshall County
  • Mobile County
  • Monroe County
  • Montgomery County
  • Morgan County
  • Perry County
  • Pickens County
  • Pike County
  • Randolph County
  • Russell County
  • Shelby County
  • St. Clair County
  • Sumter County
  • Talladega County
  • Tallapoosa County
  • Tuscaloosa County
  • Walker County
  • Washington County
  • Wilcox County
  • Winston County
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List of Cities and Towns in Alabama

Argo

 

Ariton

 

Arley

 

Ashford

 

Ashland

 

Ashville

 

Athens

 

Atmore

 

Attalla

 

Auburn

 

Autaugaville

 

Avon

 

Babbie

 

Baileyton

 

Bakerhill

 

Banks

 

Bay Minette

 

Bayou La Batre

 

Bear Creek

 

Beatrice

 

Beaverton

 

Belk

 

Benton

 

Berlin[b]

 

Berry

 

Bessemer

 

Billingsley

 

Birmingham

 

Black

 

Blountsville

 

Blue Springs

 

Boaz

 

Boligee

 

Bon Air

 

Brantley

 

Brent

 

Brewton

 

Bridgeport

 

Brighton

 

Brilliant

 

Brookside

 

Brookwood

 

Brundidge

 

Butler

 

Calera

 

Camden

 

Camp Hill

 

Carbon Hill

 

Cardiff

 

Carolina

 

Carrollton

 

Castleberry

 

Cedar Bluff

 

Center Point

 

Centre

 

Centreville

 

Chatom

 

Chelsea

 

Cherokee

 

Chickasaw

 

Childersburg

 

Citronelle

 

Clanton

 

Clay

 

Clayhatchee

 

Clayton

 

Cleveland

 

Clio

 

Coaling

 

Coffee Springs

 

Coffeeville

 

Coker

 

Collinsville

 

Colony

 

Columbia

 

Columbiana

 

Coosada

 

Cordova

 

Cottonwood

 

County Line

 

Courtland

 

Cowarts

 

Creola

 

Crossville

 

Cuba

 

Cullman

 

Cusseta

 

Dadeville

 

Daleville

 

Daphne

 

Dauphin Island

 

Daviston

 

Dayton

 

Deatsville

 

Decatur 

Demopolis

 

Detroit

 

Dodge City

 

Dora

 

Dothan

 

Double Springs

 

Douglas

 

Dozier

 

Dutton

 

East Brewton

 

Eclectic

 

Edwardsville

 

Elba

 

Elberta

 

Eldridge

 

Elkmont

 

Elmore

 

Emelle

 

Enterprise

 

Epes

 

Ethelsville

 

Eufaula

 

Eutaw

 

Eva

 

Evergreen

 

Excel

 

Fairfield

 

Fairhope

 

Fairview

 

Falkville

 

Faunsdale

 

Fayette

 

Five Points

 

Flomaton

 

Florala

 

Florence

 

Foley

 

Forkland

 

Fort Deposit

 

Fort Payne

 

Franklin

 

Frisco City

 

Fruithurst

 

Fulton

 

Fultondale

 

Fyffe

 

Gadsden

 

Gainesville

 

Gantt

 

Garden City

 

Gardendale

 

Gaylesville

 

Geiger

 

Geneva

 

Georgiana

 

Geraldine

 

Gilbertown

 

Glen Allen

 

Glencoe

 

Glenwood

 

Goldville

 

Good Hope

 

Goodwater

 

Gordo

 

Gordon

 

Gordonville

 

Goshen

 

Grant

 

Graysville

 

Greensboro

 

Greenville

 

Grimes

 

Grove Hill

 

Guin

 

Gulf Shores

 

Guntersville

 

Gurley

 

Gu-Win

 

Hackleburg

 

Haleburg

 

Haleyville

 

Hamilton

 

Hammondville

 

Hanceville

 

Harpersville

 

Hartford

 

Hartselle

 

Hayden

 

Hayneville

 

Headland

 

Heath

 

Heflin

 

Helena

 

Henagar

 

Highland Lake

 

Hillsboro

 

Hobson City

 

Hodges

 

Hokes Bluff

 

Holly Pond

 

Hollywood

 

Homewood

 

Hoover

 

Horn Hill

 

Hueytown

 

Huntsville

 

Hurtsboro

 

Hytop

 

Ider

 

Indian Springs Village

 

Irondale

 

Jackson

 

Jackson's Gap

 

Jacksonville

 

Jasper

 

Jemison

 

Kansas

 

Kellyton

 

Kennedy

 

Killen

 

Kimberly

 

Kinsey

 

Kinston

 

LaFayette

 

Lake View

 

Lakeview

 

Lanett

 

Langston

 

Leeds

 

Leesburg

 

Leighton

 

Lester

 

Level Plains

 

Lexington

 

Libertyville

 

Lincoln

 

Linden

 

Lineville

 

Lipscomb

 

Lisman

 

Littleville

 

Livingston

 

Loachapoka

 

Lockhart

 

Locust Fork

 

Louisville

 

Lowndesboro

 

Loxley

 

Luverne

 

Lynn

 

Madison

 

Madrid

 

Magnolia Springs

 

Malvern

 

Maplesville

 

Margaret

 

Marion

 

Maytown

 

McIntosh

 

McKenzie

 

McMullen

 

Memphis

 

Mentone

 

Midfield

 

Midland City

 

Midway

 

Millbrook

 

Millport

 

Millry

 

Mobile

 

Monroeville

 

Montevallo

 

Montgomery

 

Moody

 

Mooresville

 

Morris

 

Mosses

 

Moulton

 

Moundville

 

Mount Vernon

 

Mountain Brook

 

Mulga

 

Munford

 

Muscle Shoals

 

Myrtlewood

 

Napier Field

 

Natural Bridge

 

Nauvoo

 

Section 35-9A-102

Purposes; rules of construction.

(a) This chapter shall be liberally construed and applied to promote its underlying purposes and policies.

 

(b) Underlying purposes and policies of this chapter are:

 

(1) to simplify, clarify, modernize, and revise the law governing the rental of dwelling units and the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants;

 

(2) to encourage landlords and tenants to maintain and improve the quality of housing; and

 

(3) to make uniform the law with respect to the subject of this chapter among those states which enact it.

 

(c) This chapter shall be construed as applying only to the residential landlord and tenant relationship. The chapter does not create any duties in tort or causes of action in tort, nor does it deprive anyone of any causes of action in tort that may exist apart from this chapter.

 

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1.)

 

Section 35-9A-103

Supplementary principles of law applicable.

Unless displaced by the provisions of this chapter, the principles of law and equity, including, but not limited to, the law relating to capacity to contract, mutuality of obligations, principal and agent, real property, public health, safety and fire prevention, estoppel, fraud, misrepresentation, duress, coercion, mistake, bankruptcy, or other validating or invalidating cause supplement its provisions.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1.)

Section 35-9A-104

Construction against implicit repeal.

This chapter being a general act intended as a unified coverage of its subject matter, no part of it is to be construed as impliedly repealed by subsequent legislation if that construction can reasonably be avoided.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1.)

Section 35-9A-105

Administration of remedies; enforcement.

(a) The remedies provided by this chapter shall be so administered that an aggrieved party may recover appropriate damages. The aggrieved party has a duty to mitigate damages; provided, the duty of a landlord shall not take priority over the landlord's right to first rent other vacant units.

(b) Any right or obligation declared by this chapter is enforceable by action unless the provision declaring it specifies a different and limited effect.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1.)

Section 35-9A-106

Settlement of disputed claim or right.

A claim or right arising under this chapter or on a rental agreement, if disputed in good faith, may be settled by agreement.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1.).

 

Section 35-9A-107

Notice requirement.

A cause of action or civil complaint initiated pursuant to this chapter is not subject to the notice requirement of subsection (j) of Section 34-27-31.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1.)

 

Division 2 Scope and Jurisdiction.

Section 35-9A-121

Territorial application.

This chapter applies to and is the exclusive remedy to regulate and determine rights, obligations, and remedies under a rental agreement, wherever made, for a dwelling unit located within this state. No resolution or ordinance relative to residential landlords, rental housing codes, or the rights and obligations governing residential landlord and tenant relationships shall be enacted or enforced by any county or municipality, and any such resolution or ordinance enacted both prior to or after January 1, 2007, is superseded by this chapter. Notwithstanding these provisions, a county or municipality may enact and enforce building codes, health codes, and other general laws that affect rental property provided that such codes equally affect similarly situated owner-occupied residential property.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1; Act 2009-633, §1.)

 

Section 35-9A-122

Exclusions from application of chapter.

Unless created to avoid the application of this chapter, the following arrangements are not governed by this chapter:

(1) residence at an institution, public or private, if incidental to detention or the provision of medical, geriatric, educational, counseling, religious, or similar service;

(2) occupancy under a contract of sale of a dwelling unit or the property of which it is a part, if the occupant is the purchaser or a person who succeeds to the interest of the purchaser;

(3) occupancy by a member of a fraternal or social organization in the portion of a structure operated for the benefit of the organization;

(4) transient occupancy in a hotel, motel, or lodgings;

(5) occupancy by an employee of a landlord whose right to occupancy is conditional upon employment in and about the premises;

(6) occupancy by an owner of a condominium unit or a holder of a proprietary lease in a cooperative;

(7) occupancy under a rental agreement covering premises rented by the occupant primarily for agricultural purposes;

(8) continuation of occupancy by the seller or a member of the seller's family for a period of not more than 36 months after the sale of a dwelling unit or the property of which it is a part.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1.)

Section 35-9A-123

Jurisdiction and service of process.

(a) The district and circuit courts of this state, according to their respective established jurisdictions, may exercise jurisdiction over any landlord with respect to any conduct in this state governed by this chapter or with respect to any claim arising from a transaction subject to this chapter. In addition to any other method provided by rule or by statute, personal jurisdiction over a landlord may be acquired in a civil action or proceeding instituted in the court by the service of process in the manner provided by this section.

(b) If a landlord is not a resident of this state or is a business entity not authorized to do business in this state and engages in any conduct in this state governed by this chapter, or engages in a transaction subject to this chapter, the entity may be served as provided by Rule 4 of the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1.)

 

Division 3 General Definitions and Principles of Intrepretation: Notice.

Section 35-9A-141

Definitions.

Subject to additional definitions contained in subsequent articles of this chapter which apply to specific articles or divisions thereof, and unless the context otherwise requires, in this chapter:

(1) "action" includes recoupment, counterclaim, set-off, suit in equity, and any other proceeding in which rights are determined, including an action for possession;

(2) "building and housing codes" include any law, ordinance, or governmental regulation concerning fitness for habitation, or the construction, maintenance, operation, occupancy, use, or appearance of any premises or dwelling unit;

(3) "day" means calendar day unless otherwise specified;

(4) "dwelling unit" means a structure or the part of a structure, including a manufactured home, that is rented as a home, residence, or sleeping place by one or more persons;

(5) "eviction" means a civil action filed as a remedy, where a tenant has lawfully taken possession of a premises and fails or refuses, after the termination of the possessory interest of the tenant, to deliver possession of the premises to anyone lawfully entitled or to his or her agent or attorney;

(6) "good faith" means honesty in fact in the conduct of the transaction concerned;

(7) "landlord" means the owner, lessor, or sublessor of the dwelling unit or the building of which it is a part, and it also means a manager of the premises;

(8) "organization" includes a corporation, government, governmental subdivision or agency, business trust, estate, trust, partnership or association, two or more persons having a joint or common interest, and any business entity;

(9) "owner" means one or more persons, jointly or severally, in whom is vested (i) all or part of the legal title to property or (ii) all or part of the beneficial ownership and a right to present use and enjoyment of the premises. The term includes a mortgagee only when in possession;

(10) "person" includes an individual, individuals, or organization;

(11) "premises" means a dwelling unit and the structure of which it is a part and facilities and appurtenances therein and grounds, areas, and facilities held out for the use of tenants generally or whose use is promised by the rental agreement to the tenant;

(12) "rent" means all payments to be made to or for the benefit of the landlord under the rental agreement;

(13) "rental agreement" means all agreements, written or oral, and valid rules and regulations adopted under Section 35-9A-302 embodying the terms and conditions concerning the use and occupancy of a dwelling unit and premises;

(14) "roomer" means a person occupying a dwelling unit that does not include a toilet, a refrigerator, stove, kitchen sink, and either a bath tub or a shower, all provided by the landlord, and where one or more of these facilities are used in common by occupants in the structure;

(15) "single family residence" means a structure maintained and used as a single dwelling unit. Notwithstanding that a dwelling unit shares one or more walls with another dwelling unit, it is a single family residence if it has direct access to a street or thoroughfare and shares neither heating facilities, hot water equipment, nor any other essential facility or service with any other dwelling unit; and

(16) "tenant" means a person entitled under a rental agreement to occupy a dwelling unit to the exclusion of others.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1; Act 2009-633, §1.).

 

Section 35-9A-142

Obligation of good faith.

Every agreement and duty under this chapter and every act which must be performed as a condition precedent to the exercise of a right or remedy under this chapter imposes an obligation of good faith in its performance or enforcement.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1.)

Section 35-9A-143

Unconscionability.

(a) If the court, as a matter of law, finds:

(1) a rental agreement or any provision thereof was unconscionable when made, the court may refuse to enforce the agreement, enforce the remainder of the agreement without the unconscionable provision, or limit the application of any unconscionable provision to avoid an unconscionable result; or

(2) a settlement in which a party waives or agrees to forego a claim or right under this chapter or under a rental agreement was unconscionable when made, the court may refuse to enforce the settlement, enforce the remainder of the settlement without the unconscionable provision, or limit the application of any unconscionable provision to avoid an unconscionable result.

(b) If unconscionability is put into issue by a party or by the court upon its own motion, the parties shall be afforded a reasonable opportunity to present evidence as to the setting, purpose, and effect of the rental agreement or settlement to aid the court in making the determination.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1.)

 

Section 35-9A-144

Notice.

(a) A person has notice of a fact if:

(1) the person has actual knowledge of it;

(2) the person has received a notice or notification of it; or

(3) from all the facts and circumstances known to the person at the time in question, the person has reason to know that it exists.

(b) A person "knows" or "has knowledge" of a fact if the person has actual knowledge of it.

(c) A person "notifies" or "gives" a notice or notification to another person by taking steps reasonably calculated to inform the other in ordinary course whether or not the other actually comes to know of it. A person presumatively "receives" a notice or notification when:

(1) it comes to the person's attention;

(2) in the case of the landlord, it is delivered at the place of business of the landlord or mailed to any place designated by the landlord as the place for receipt of the communication; or

(3) in the case of the tenant, it is delivered in hand to the tenant or three days after mailing with adequate prepaid postage in the United States mail to the tenant's last known place of residence.

(d) "Notice," knowledge of a notice, or notification received by an organization is effective for a particular transaction from the time it is brought to the attention of the organization.

(e) Notice provided in this section does not apply to the notice required to terminate a tenancy or evict a tenant.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1.)

Division 4 General Provisions.

Section 35-9A-161

Terms and conditions of rental agreement.

  • (a) A landlord and a tenant may include in a rental agreement terms and conditions not prohibited by this chapter or other law, including rent, term of the agreement, and other provisions governing the rights and obligations of the parties.

  • (b) In absence of agreement, the tenant shall pay as rent the fair rental value for the use and occupancy of the dwelling unit.

  • (c) Rent is payable without demand or notice at the time and place agreed upon by the parties. Unless otherwise agreed, rent is payable at the dwelling unit and periodic rent is payable at the beginning of any term of one month or less and otherwise in equal monthly installments at the beginning of each month. Unless otherwise agreed, rent is uniformly apportionable from day-to-day.

  • (d) Unless the rental agreement fixes a definite term, the tenancy is week-to-week in case of a tenant who pays weekly rent, and in all other cases month-to-month.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1.)

Section 35-9A-162

Effect of unsigned or undelivered rental agreement.

(a) If a landlord does not sign and deliver a written rental agreement signed and delivered to the landlord by the tenant, acceptance of rent without reservation by the landlord gives the rental agreement the same effect as if it had been signed and delivered by the landlord.

(b) If a tenant does not sign and deliver a written rental agreement signed and delivered to the tenant by the landlord, acceptance of possession and payment of rent without reservation gives the rental agreement the same effect as if it had been signed and delivered by the tenant.

(c) If a rental agreement given effect by the operation of this section provides for a term longer than one year, it is effective for only one year.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1.).

 

Section 35-9A-163

Prohibited provisions in rental agreements.

(a) A rental agreement may not provide that the tenant:

(1) agrees to waive or forego rights or remedies established under Section 35-9A-204, 35-9A-401, or 35-9A-404, or requirements of security deposits established by this chapter or under the law of unlawful detainer;

(2) authorizes any person to confess judgment on a claim arising out of the rental agreement;

(3) agrees to pay the landlord's attorney's fees or cost of collection; or

(4) agrees to the exculpation or limitation of any liability of the landlord arising under law or to indemnify the landlord for that liability or the costs connected therewith.

(b) A provision prohibited by subsection (a) included in a rental agreement is unenforceable. If a landlord deliberately uses a rental agreement containing provisions known by the landlord to be prohibited, the tenant may recover in addition to actual damages an amount up to one months' periodic rent and reasonable attorney's fees.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1.).

 

Section 35-9A-164

Payment of rent prerequisite to enforcing remedies under this chapter.

The tenant may not withhold payment of rent to the landlord, while in possession, to enforce any of the tenant's rights under this chapter.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1.)

Article II

Landlord Obligations!

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Nectar

 

Needham

 

New Brockton

 

New Hope

 

New Site

 

Newbern

 

Newton

 

Newville

 

North Courtland

 

North Johns

 

Northport

 

Notasulga

 

Oak Grove

 

Oak Hill

 

Oakman

 

Odenville

 

Ohatchee

 

Oneonta

 

Onycha

 

Opelika

 

Opp

 

Orange Beach

 

Orrville

 

Owens Cross Roads

 

Oxford

 

Ozark

 

Paint Rock

 

Parrish

 

Pelham

 

Pell City

 

Pennington

 

Perdido Beach

 

Petrey

 

Phenix City

 

Phil Campbell

 

Pickensville

 

Piedmont

 

Pike Road

 

Pinckard

 

Pine Apple

 

Pine Hill

 

Pine Ridge

 

Pinson

 

Pisgah

 

Pleasant Grove

 

Pleasant Groves

 

Pollard

 

Powell

 

Prattville

 

Priceville

 

Prichard

 

Providence

 

Ragland

 

Rainbow City

 

Rainsville

 

Ranburne

 

Red Bay

 

Red Level

 

Reece City

 

Reform

 

Rehobeth

 

Section 35-9A-201

Security deposits; prepaid rent.

(a) A landlord may not demand or receive money as security, in an amount in excess of one month's periodic rent, except for pets, changes to the premises, or increased liability risks to the landlord or premises, for tenant's obligations under a rental agreement.

(b) Upon termination of the tenancy, money held by the landlord as security may be applied to the payment of accrued rent and the amount of damages that the landlord has suffered by reason of the tenant's noncompliance with Section 35-9A-301 all as itemized by the landlord in a written notice delivered to the tenant together with the amount due 35 days after termination of the tenancy and delivery of possession.

(c) If the landlord does not refund the entire deposit, the landlord, within the 35-day period, shall provide the tenant an itemized list of amounts withheld.

(d) Upon vacating the premises, the tenant shall provide to the landlord a valid forwarding address, in writing, to which the deposit or itemized accounting, or both, may be mailed. If the tenant fails to provide a valid forwarding address, the landlord shall mail, by first class mail, the deposit or itemized accounting, or both, to the last known address of the tenant or, if none, to the tenant at the address of the property. Any deposit unclaimed by the tenant as well as any check outstanding shall be forfeited by the tenant after a period of 180 days.

(e) The landlord's mailing by first class mail to the address provided in writing by the tenant, within 35 days of the refund or itemized accounting, or both, is sufficient compliance with this chapter.

(f) If the landlord fails to mail a timely refund or accounting within the 35-day period, the landlord shall pay the tenant double the amount of the tenant's original deposit.

(g) This section does not preclude the landlord or tenant from recovering other damages to which the landlord or tenant may be entitled.

(h) The holder of the landlord's interest in the premises at the time of the termination of the tenancy is bound by this section.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1.)

 

Section 35-9A-202

Disclosure.

(a) A landlord or any person authorized to enter into a rental agreement on the landlord's behalf shall disclose to the tenant in writing at or before the commencement of the tenancy the name and business address of:

(1) the person authorized to manage the premises; and

(2) an owner of the premises or a person authorized to act for and on behalf of the owner for the purpose of service of process and receiving and receipting for notices and demands.

(b) The information required to be furnished by this section shall be kept current and this section extends to and is enforceable against any successor landlord, owner, or manager.

(c) A person who fails to comply with subsection (a) becomes an agent of each person who is a landlord for:

(1) service of process and receiving and receipting for notices and demands; and

(2) performing the obligations of the landlord under this chapter and under the rental agreement and expending or making available for the purpose all rent collected from the premises.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1.)

 

Section 35-9A-203

Landlord to deliver possession of dwelling unit.

At the commencement of the term, a landlord shall deliver possession of the premises to the tenant in compliance with the rental agreement and Section 35-9A-204. The landlord may bring an action for possession against any person wrongfully in possession and may recover the damages provided in Section 35-9A-441(c).

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1.)

 

Section 35-9A-204

Landlord to maintain premises.

(a) A landlord shall:

(1) comply with the requirements of applicable building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety;

(2) make all repairs and do whatever is necessary to put and keep the premises in a habitable condition;

(3) keep all common areas of the premises in a clean and safe condition;

(4) 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;

(5) provide and maintain appropriate receptacles and conveniences for the removal of garbage, rubbish, and other waste incidental to the occupancy of the dwelling unit and arrange for their removal; and

(6) supply running water and reasonable amounts of hot water at all times and reasonable heat 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.

(b) If the duty imposed by subdivision (1) of subsection (a) is greater than any duty imposed by any other subdivision of that subsection, the landlord's duty shall be determined by reference to subdivision (1) of subsection (a).

(c) The landlord and tenant of a single family residence may agree in writing that the tenant perform the landlord's duties specified in subdivisions (5) and (6) of subsection (a) and also specified repairs, maintenance tasks, alterations, and remodeling.

(d) The landlord and tenant of any dwelling unit other than a single family residence may agree that the tenant is to perform specified repairs, maintenance tasks, alterations, or remodeling only if:

(1) the agreement of the parties is set forth in a separate writing signed by the parties and supported by adequate consideration;

(2) the work is not necessary to cure noncompliance with subdivision (1) of subsection (a); and

(3) the agreement does not diminish or affect the obligation of the landlord to other tenants in the premises.

(e) The landlord may not treat performance of the separate agreement described in subsection (d) as a condition to any obligation or performance of any rental agreement.

(f) Rights of the tenant under this section do not arise if the condition was caused by the willful or negligent act or omission of the tenant, a member of the tenant's family, a licensee, or other person on the premises with the tenant's consent.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1.)

 

Section 35-9A-205

Limitation of liability.

(a) Unless otherwise agreed, a landlord who conveys premises that include a dwelling unit subject to a rental agreement in a good faith sale to a bona fide purchaser is relieved of liability under the rental agreement and this chapter as to events occurring after written notice to the tenant of the conveyance. However, the landlord remains liable to the tenant for all security recoverable by the tenant under Section 35-9A-201 and all prepaid rent.

(b) Unless otherwise agreed, a manager of premises that include a dwelling unit is relieved of liability under the rental agreement and this chapter as to events occurring after written notice to the tenant of the termination of management by the manager.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1.)

Repton

 

Ridgeville

 

River Falls

 

Riverside

 

Riverview

 

Roanoke

 

Robertsdale

 

Rockford

 

Rogersville

 

Rosa

 

Russellville

 

Rutledge

 

St. Florian

 

Samson

 

Sand Rock

 

Sanford

 

Saraland

 

Sardis City

 

Satsuma

 

Scottsboro

 

Section

 

Selma

 

Sheffield

 

Shiloh

 

Shorter

 

Silas

 

Silverhill

 

Sipsey

 

Skyline

 

Slocomb

 

Smiths Station

 

Snead

 

Somerville

 

South Vinemont

 

Southside

 

Spanish Fort

 

Springville

 

Steele

 

Stevenson

 

Sulligent

 

Sumiton

 

Summerdale

 

Susan Moore

 

Sweet Water

 

Sylacauga

 

Sylvan Springs

 

Sylvania

 

Talladega Springs

 

Talladega

 

Tallassee

 

Tarrant

 

Taylor

 

Thomaston

 

Thomasville

 

Thorsby

 

Town Creek

 

Toxey

 

Trafford

 

Triana

 

Trinity

 

Troy

 

Trussville

 

Tuscaloosa

 

Tuscumbia

 

Tuskegee

 

Twin

 

Union Grove

 

Union Springs

 

Union

 

Uniontown

 

Valley

 

Valley Grande

 

Valley Head

 

Vance

 

Vernon

 

Vestavia Hills

 

Vina

 

Vincent

 

Vredenburgh

 

Wadley

 

Waldo

 

Walnut Grove

 

Warrior

 

Waterloo

 

Waverly

 

Weaver

 

Webb

 

Wedowee

 

West Blocton

 

West Jefferson

 

West Point

 

Westover

 

Wetumpka

 

White Hall

 

Wilsonville

 

Wilton

 

Winfield

Article 3

Tenant Obligations

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Eviction for Nonpayment of Rent

In Alabama, a landlord can evict a tenant for not paying rent on time. To do so, they must first give 7 day Notice to Pay rent or vacate the premises. If the tenant does neither after that time, the landlord can move forward and file an eviction lawsuit.

Rent is due on the date specified in your lease and is considered late in Alabama the day immediately after its due date. So for example, if rent is due on the first of the month, it is considered late starting on the second of the month (if not paid in full). There is no right to a legal grace period (i.e. five days) or exceptions for weekends or court-observed holidays.

Once rent is considered late, the landlord can begin the eviction process by serving the tenant with proper notice.

Eviction for No Lease or End of Lease

In Alabama, a landlord can evict a tenant without a lease or with a lease that has ended (known as a “holdover tenant” or “tenant at will”). To do so, they must first terminate the tenancy by giving proper notice to move out (30 days for month-to-month tenants and 7 days for week-to-week).

Once the tenancy ends, if the tenant remains on the property, the landlord can move forward and file an eviction lawsuit.

Eviction for Violation of Lease or Responsibilities

In Alabama, a landlord can evict a tenant for violating the terms of their lease or not upholding their responsibilities under Alabama landlord tenant law. Some (but not all) violations allow the tenant to fix (“cure”) the issue to avoid removal. Regardless of the issue, the landlord must give 7 days notice to comply before proceeding.

Curable Violations

For more minor offenses, the tenant can remain at the property if they fix the issue within the 7 day notice period. Examples of curable violations include:

  • Having an unauthorized pet, guest or vehicle.

  • Parking in an unauthorized area.

  • Not maintaining a certain level of cleanliness.

 

However, if the tenant repeats the violation within a 6-month period, the landlord does not have to offer the tenant a second chance to fix it.

 

Incurable Violations

For more serious (or repeated) offenses, the tenant isn’t given the opportunity to fix the issue and remain at the property. For incurable violations, a tenant must vacate the premises within the 7 day period or the landlord can move forward and file an eviction lawsuit. Examples of incurable violations include:

  • Tenant is selling or using illegal drugs; or

  • Tenant intentionally misrepresented a material fact in a rental agreement or application.

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Section 35-9A-301

Tenant to maintain dwelling unit.

A tenant shall:

(1) comply with all obligations primarily imposed upon tenants by applicable provisions of building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety;

(2) keep that part of the premises that the tenant occupies and uses as clean and safe as the condition of the premises permit;

(3) dispose from the dwelling unit all ashes, garbage, rubbish, and other waste in a clean and safe manner;

(4) keep all plumbing fixtures in the dwelling unit or used by the tenant as clear as their condition permits;

(5) use in a reasonable manner all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, and other facilities and appliances including elevators in the premises;

(6) not deliberately or negligently destroy, deface, damage, impair, or remove any part of the premises; or knowingly, recklessly, or negligently permit any person to do so; and

(7) conduct himself or herself and require other persons on the premises with the tenant's consent to conduct themselves in a manner that will not disturb the neighbors' peaceful enjoyment of the premises.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1.)

 

Section 35-9A-302

Rules and regulations.

(a) "Rules" or "regulations" pertaining to a residential lease are defined as policies of the landlord affecting the maintenance, operation, or governance of the common areas of the premises, or concerning the general conduct of tenants in their use and enjoyment of the leased premises.

(b) A landlord, from time to time, may adopt a rule or regulation. It is enforceable against the tenant only if:

(1) its purpose is to promote the convenience, safety, or welfare of the tenants in the premises, preserve the landlord's property from abusive use, or make a fair distribution of services and facilities held out for the tenants generally;

(2) it is reasonably related to the purpose of which it is adopted;

(3) it applies to all tenants in the premises in a fair manner;

(4) it is sufficiently explicit in its prohibition, direction, or limitation of the tenant's conduct to fairly inform the tenant of what the tenant must or must not do to comply;

(5) it is not for the purpose of evading the obligations of the landlord; and

(6) the tenant has notice of it at the time the tenant enters into the rental agreement, or when it is adopted.

(c) If a rule or regulation is adopted after the tenant enters into the rental agreement that works a substantial modification of the tenant's use of the leased premises, it is not valid unless the tenant consents to it in writing. In the case of any variance between the lease and a rule or regulation, the lease prevails.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1.)

 Section 35-9A-303

Access.

(a) A tenant shall not unreasonably withhold consent to the landlord to enter into the dwelling unit in order to inspect the premises, make necessary or agreed repairs, decorations, alterations, or improvements, supply necessary or agreed services, or exhibit the dwelling unit to prospective or actual purchasers, mortgagees, tenants, workmen, or contractors.

(b) A landlord may enter the dwelling unit without consent of the tenant only in the following circumstances:

(1) In case of emergency.

(2) Pursuant to court order.

(3) As permitted by Sections 35-9A-422 and 35-9A-423(b).

(4) At reasonable times and with prior notice as provided in subsection (c), to show the premises to a prospective tenant or purchaser, if a landlord provides the tenant separate from the rental agreement a general notice signed by the tenant for the right to access for such a purpose within four months of the expiration of the rental agreement, and only in the company of a prospective tenant or purchaser.

(5) When the landlord has reasonable cause to believe the tenant has abandoned or surrendered the premises.

(c) A landlord shall not abuse the right of access or use it to harass the tenant. Except as provided in this section or unless it is impracticable to do so, the landlord may show the premises at any reasonable time by giving the tenant at least two days' notice of the landlord's intent to enter and may enter only at reasonable times. Posting of a note on the primary door of entry to the residence of the tenant stating the intended time and purpose of the entry shall be a permitted method of notice for the purpose of the landlord's right of access to the premises.

(d) If a landlord provides separate from the lease in a general notice or an advance schedule in excess of two days for repairs, maintenance, pest control, or for service relating to health or safety, whether such notice is for a specific time or within a designated time period, then no additional day's notice is required to access the premises. A tenant may consent to provide a landlord with access to the premises with less than two days' notice.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1; Act 2009-633, §1.).

 

Section 35-9A-304

Tenant to use and occupy.

Unless otherwise agreed, a tenant shall occupy the dwelling unit only as a dwelling unit. The rental agreement may require that the tenant notify the landlord of any anticipated extended absence from the premises in excess of 14 days no later than the fifth day of the extended absence.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1.)

Article 4 Remedies
  • Tenant Remedies

  • Landlord Remedies

  • Division 3 Periodic tenancy; holdover; abuse of access

  •  Court Actions by Landlord

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Common Rule of Law in Real Estate

In real estate law, real property (also known as realty, real estate, or immovable property) refers to property that is intrinsically linked to land. It also includes buildings, machines, and equipment attached to the land. In the United States, each State (with the notable exception of Louisiana) regulates and legally protects real estate primarily through common law and real estate law.

The common law and real estate law regulate the liability of an owner in regard to the safety of a third person party on their property. Within the common law, there are three different types of third parties that can be found on land. The liabilities associated for a landowner vary greatly depending on the status of the third person party. Contact real estate lawyers for legal advice and assistance.

 

Trespasser

 

A trespasser is defined in common law as a third person party that enters a property without the knowledge or invitation of a landowner for personal purposes. Landowners typically have no duty to warn adult trespassers of dangers on a property or to make their property safe for adult trespassers. Although the duty is lighter than for a licensee or an invitee, a landowner is responsible to ensure the safety of the property if the owner believes trespassers could be on the property, especially in the case of children.

In the case of child trespassers, the owner is held to a higher standard in protecting the child from harm by ensuring the safety the property. Properties that might boast features that would attract child trespassers, such as ponds or pools, are often required to ensure the safety of their property to a higher degree.

Licensee

A licensee is defined in common law as a third person party that is invited on to and remains on a property for any reason other than a commercial or business reason. Thus, a guest would be a licensee, and not an invitee. Licensees are protected more than trespassers, and the landowner owes a higher degree of duty in maintaining the safety of a property and warning licensees of the dangers on a property.

Property owners are often found liable under real estate law and common law for damage or harm to a licensee or a licensee's property if the owner neglected to ensure the safety of a known danger on the property, failed to inform the licensee of the dangers on a property, or if a licensee did not have a reasonable understanding or notice of the dangers on a property.

Invitee

An invitee is defined in common law as a third person party that is invited on to and remains on a property for business or commercial purposes that will benefit the owner of the property. These invitations could be either implicit or explicit. For example, "open" signs and open doors are both considered invitations for these purposes.

Invitees are protected with the highest regard and owners have the highest liability to this class of third person parties. If the risk of harm or damage for an invitee or an invitee's property is considered unreasonable and the unsafe conditions of the property are explicitly known and understood by the owner, the owner must protect the invitee from any harm or damage. Invitees can also be classified as public invitees in real estate law, where their presence is legitimized by the use of a land for a public purpose.

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Alabama Eviction Process

Last Updated: August 9, 2022, by Elizabeth Souza

In Alabama, all evictions follow the same process:

  • Landlord serves tenant with written notice

  • Landlord files complaint with court (if uncured).

  • Tenant files an Answer.

  • Court holds hearing and issues judgment.

  • Court issues writ of execution.

  • Sheriff returns possession of property to landlord.

 

From start to finish, an eviction in Alabama can take about one month to several months.  However, it can take longer depending on the reason and whether the tenant contests it.

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Section 35-9A-461

Landlord's action for eviction, rent, monetary damages, or other relief.

(a) A landlord's action for eviction, rent, monetary damages, or other relief relating to a tenancy subject to this chapter shall be governed by the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure and the Alabama Rules of Appellate Procedure except as modified by this chapter.

(b) District courts and circuit courts, according to their respective established jurisdictions, shall have jurisdiction over eviction actions, and venue shall lie in the county in which the leased property is located. Eviction actions shall be entitled to precedence in scheduling over all other civil cases.

(c) Service of process shall be made in accordance with the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure. However, if a sheriff, constable, or process server is unable to serve the defendant personally, service may be had by delivering the notice to any person who is sui juris residing on the premises, or if after reasonable effort no person is found residing on the premises, by posting a copy of the notice on the door of the premises, and on the same day of posting or by the close of the next business day, the sheriff, the constable, the person filing the complaint, or anyone on behalf of the person, shall mail notice of the filing of the unlawful detainer action by enclosing, directing, stamping, and mailing by first class a copy of the notice to the defendant at the mailing address of the premises and if there is no mailing address for the premises to the last known address, if any, of the defendant and making an entry of this action on the return filed in the case. Service of the notice by posting shall be complete as of the date of mailing the notice.

(d) Notwithstanding subsection (a) of Section 12-12-70, any party may appeal from an eviction judgment entered by a district court to the circuit court at any time within seven days after the entry thereof. The filing of a timely post-judgment motion pursuant to the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure shall suspend the running of the time for filing a notice of appeal. In cases where post-judgment motions are filed, the full time fixed for filing a notice of appeal shall be computed from the date of the entry in the civil docket of an order granting or denying such motion, or the date of the denial of such motion by operation of law pursuant to Rule 59.1 of the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure. Upon filing of an appeal by either party, the clerk of the court shall schedule the action for trial as a preferred case, and it shall be set for trial within 60 days from the date of the filing of the appeal. In eviction actions, an appeal by a tenant to circuit court or to an appellate court does not prevent the issuance of a writ of restitution or possession unless the tenant pays to the clerk of the circuit court all rents properly payable under the terms of the lease since the date of the filing of the action, and continues to pay all rent that becomes due and properly payable under the terms of the lease as they become due, during the pendency of the appeal. In the event of dispute, the amounts properly payable shall be ascertained by the court.

(1) If the tenant should fail to make any payments determined to be properly payable as they become due under this subsection, upon motion, the court shall issue a writ of restitution or possession and the landlord shall be placed in full possession of the premises.

(2) Upon disposition of the appeal, the court shall direct the clerk as to the disposition of the funds paid to the clerk pursuant to this subsection.

(e) If an eviction judgment enters in favor of a landlord, a writ of possession shall issue upon application by the landlord. Notwithstanding Rule 62 of the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure, the automatic stay on the issuance of the writ of possession or restitution shall be for a period of seven days. If a tenant without just cause re-enters the premises, the tenant can be held in contempt and successive writs may issue as are necessary to effectuate the eviction judgment.

(f) In the event that the landlord is placed in possession under a writ of restitution or possession, and on appeal the judgment is reversed and one entered for the tenant or the proceeding on appeal is quashed or dismissed, the circuit court may award a writ of restitution or possession to restore the tenant to possession as against the landlord, but not as against a third party. The issuance of the writ rests in the discretion of the appellate court, and the circuit court, in all cases, may direct writs of restitution or possession to be issued by the trial court when, in the judgment of the circuit court, such writ is proper or necessary.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1; Act 2009-633, §1.)

Division 1 Tenant Remedies.

Noncompliance by the landlord.

  • (a) Except as provided in this chapter, if there is a material noncompliance by the landlord with the rental agreement or a noncompliance with Section 35-9A-204 materially affecting health and safety, the tenant may deliver a written notice to the landlord specifying the acts and omissions constituting the breach and that the rental agreement will terminate upon a date not less than 14 days after receipt of the notice if the breach is not remedied within that period, and the rental agreement shall terminate as provided in the notice subject to the following:

  • (1) if the breach is remediable by repairs or the payment of damages or otherwise and the landlord adequately remedies the breach before the date specified in the notice, the rental agreement shall not terminate by reason of the breach.

  • (2) the tenant may not terminate for a condition caused by the deliberate or negligent act or omission of the tenant, a member of the tenant's family, a licensee, or other person on the premises with the tenant's consent.

  • (b) Except as provided in this chapter, the tenant may recover actual damages and obtain injunctive relief for noncompliance by the landlord with the rental agreement or Section 35-9A-204. If the landlord's noncompliance is in bad faith, the tenant may recover reasonable attorney's fees.

  • (c) The remedy provided in subsection (b) is in addition to any right of the tenant arising under subsection (a).

  • (d) If the rental agreement is terminated pursuant to this section, the landlord shall return all security recoverable by the tenant under Section 35-9A-201 and all unearned prepaid rent.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1.)

 

Section 35-9A-402

Failure to deliver possession.

(a) If the landlord fails to deliver possession of the dwelling unit to the tenant as provided in Section 35-9A-203, rent abates until possession is delivered and the tenant may:

(1) terminate the rental agreement upon written notice to the landlord and within five days thereafter the landlord shall return all prepaid rent and security; or

(2) demand performance of the rental agreement by the landlord and, if the tenant elects, bring an action for possession of the dwelling unit from the person wrongfully in possession and recover the actual damages sustained by the tenant.

(b) If a person's failure to deliver possession is willful and not in good faith, an aggrieved party may recover from that person an amount equal to not more than three months' periodic rent or the actual damages sustained, whichever is greater, and reasonable attorney's fees.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1.)

 

 Section 35-9A-403

Reserved..

 

Section 35-9A-404

Wrongful failure to make available heat, water, hot water, or essential services.

(a) The landlord is not responsible for the payment of utility services unless agreed in the lease.

(b) If contrary to the rental agreement or Section 35-9A-204, after receiving notice of the breach from the tenant, the landlord willfully or negligently fails to promptly make available heat, running water, hot water, electric, gas, or other essential service, the tenant may:

(1) send a written notice specifying the date of termination not less than 14 days after receipt of notice and upon vacation of the premises, the rental agreement shall be rightfully terminated without further obligation or penalty. If the rental agreement is terminated pursuant to this section, the landlord shall return all security recoverable by the tenant under Section 35-9A-201 and all unearned prepaid rent; or

(2) recover damages based upon the diminution in the fair rental value of the dwelling unit.

(c) If the tenant proceeds under this section, the tenant may not proceed under Section 35-9A-401 as to that breach.

(d) Rights of the tenant under this section do not arise if the condition was caused by the willful or negligent act or omission of the tenant, a member of the tenant's family, a licensee or other person on the premises with the tenant's consent.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1.)

 

 Section 35-9A-405

Counterclaims for action for possession or rent.

(a) In an action for possession or in an action for rent when the tenant is in possession, the tenant may counterclaim for any amount the tenant may recover under the rental agreement or this chapter. It is in the court's discretion whether the tenant is to remain in possession. The tenant shall pay into court rent accrued and thereafter accruing as it comes due. The court shall determine the amount due to each party. The party to whom a net amount is owed shall be paid first from the money paid into court, and the balance by the other party. If no rent remains due after application of this section, judgment shall be entered for the tenant in the action for possession. If the defense or counterclaim by the tenant is without merit and is not raised in good faith, the landlord may recover reasonable attorney's fees.

(b) In an action for rent when the tenant is not in possession, the tenant may counterclaim as provided in subsection (a) but is not required to pay any rent into court.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1.).

 

 Section 35-9A-406

Fire or casualty damage.

(a) If the dwelling unit or premises are damaged or destroyed by fire or casualty not caused by the tenant to an extent that enjoyment of the dwelling unit is substantially impaired, the tenant may:

(1) immediately vacate the premises and notify the landlord in writing within 14 days thereafter of the tenant's intention to terminate the rental agreement, in which case the rental agreement terminates as of the date of vacating; or

(2) if continued occupancy is lawful, vacate any part of the dwelling unit rendered unusable by the fire or casualty, in which case the tenant's liability for rent is reduced in proportion to the diminution in the fair rental value of the dwelling unit.

(b) If the rental agreement is terminated pursuant to this section, the landlord shall return all security recoverable under Section 35-9A-201 and all unearned prepaid rent. Accounting for rent in the event of termination or apportionment shall be made as of the date of the fire or casualty.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1.).

 

Section 35-9A-407

Tenant's remedies for landlord's unlawful ouster, exclusion, or diminution of service.

If a landlord unlawfully removes or excludes the tenant from the premises or willfully diminishes services to the tenant by interrupting or causing the interruption of heat, running water, hot water, electric, gas, or other essential service, the tenant may recover possession or terminate the rental agreement and, in either case, recover an amount equal to not more than three months' periodic rent or the actual damages sustained by the tenant, whichever is greater, and reasonable attorney's fees. If the rental agreement is terminated under this section, the landlord shall return all security recoverable under Section 35-9A-201 and all unearned prepaid rent.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1.)

 

Division 2 Landlord Remedies.

Section 35-9A-421

Noncompliance with rental agreement; failure to pay rent.

(a) Except as provided in this chapter, if there is a material noncompliance by the tenant with the rental agreement or a noncompliance with Section 35-9A-301 materially affecting health and safety, the landlord may deliver a written notice to terminate the lease to the tenant specifying the acts and omissions constituting the breach and that the rental agreement will terminate upon a date not less than 14 days after receipt of the notice. If the breach is not remedied within the 14 days after receipt of the notice to terminate the lease, the rental agreement shall terminate on the date provided in the notice to terminate the lease unless the tenant adequately remedies the breach before the date specified in the notice, in which case the rental agreement shall not terminate.

(b) If rent is unpaid when due, the landlord may deliver a written notice to terminate the lease to the tenant specifying the amount of rent and any late fees owed to remedy the breach and that the rental agreement will terminate upon a date not less than seven days after receipt of the notice. If the breach is not remedied within the seven days, the rental agreement shall terminate. If a noncompliance of rental agreement occurs under both subsection (a) and this subsection, the seven-day notice period to terminate the lease for nonpayment of rent in this subsection shall govern.

(c) Except as provided in this chapter, a landlord may recover actual damages and obtain injunctive relief for noncompliance by the tenant with the rental agreement or Section 35-9A-301. If the tenant's noncompliance is willful, the landlord may recover reasonable attorney's fees.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1; Act 2009-633, §1.)

 

Section 35-9A-422

Failure to maintain.

If there is noncompliance by the tenant with Section 35-9A-301 materially affecting health and safety that can be remedied by repair, replacement of a damaged item, or cleaning, and the tenant fails to comply as promptly as conditions require in case of emergency or within seven days after written notice by the landlord specifying the breach and requesting that the tenant remedy it within that period of time, the landlord may enter the dwelling unit and cause the work to be done in a workmanlike manner and submit the itemized bill for the actual and reasonable cost or the fair and reasonable value thereof as rent on the next date periodic rent is due, or if the rental agreement has terminated, for immediate payment.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1.)

 

Section 35-9A-423

Remedies for absence, nonuse, and abandonment.

(a) If a rental agreement requires the tenant to give notice to the landlord of an anticipated extended absence in excess of 14 days pursuant to Section 35-9A-304 and the tenant willfully fails to do so, the landlord may recover actual damages from the tenant.

(b) During any absence of a tenant in excess of 14 days, the landlord may enter the dwelling unit at times reasonably necessary.

(c) If a tenant abandons the dwelling unit, the landlord shall make reasonable efforts to rent it at a fair rental. But such duty shall not take priority over the landlord's right to first rent other vacant units. If the landlord rents the dwelling unit for a term beginning before the expiration of the rental agreement, it terminates as of the date of the new tenancy. If the landlord fails to use reasonable efforts to rent the dwelling unit at a fair rental or if the landlord accepts the abandonment as a surrender, the rental agreement is deemed to be terminated by the landlord as of the date the landlord has notice of the abandonment. If the tenancy is from month-to-month or week-to-week, the term of the rental agreement for this purpose is deemed to be a month or a week, as the case may be.

(d) If a tenant leaves property in the unit more than 14 days after termination pursuant to this chapter, the landlord has no duty to store or protect the tenant's property in the unit and may dispose of it without obligation.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1.)

 

Section 35-9A-424

Waiver of landlord's right to terminate.

Acceptance of rent with knowledge of a default by the tenant or acceptance of performance by the tenant that varies from the terms of the rental agreement constitutes a waiver of the landlord's right to terminate the rental agreement for that breach, unless otherwise agreed after the breach has occurred.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1.)

 

 Section 35-9A-425

Landlord liens; distraint for rent.

(a) A lien or security interest on behalf of the landlord in the tenant's household goods is not enforceable unless perfected before January 1, 2007.

(b) Distraint for rent is abolished.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1.).

 

Section 35-9A-426

Remedy after termination.

If a rental agreement is terminated, the landlord has a claim for possession and for rent and a separate claim for actual damages for breach of the rental agreement and reasonable attorney's fees as provided in subsection (c) of Section 35-9A-421.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1.)

Section 35-9A-427

Recovery of possession limited.

A landlord may not recover or take possession of the dwelling unit by action or otherwise, including willful diminution of services to the tenant by interrupting or causing the interruption of heat, running water, hot water, electric, gas, or other essential service to the tenant, except in case of abandonment, surrender, or as permitted in this chapter.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1.)

 

Division 3 Periodic tenancy; holdover; abuse of access.

 

Section 35-9A-441

Periodic tenancy; holdover remedies.

(a) The landlord or the tenant may terminate a week-to-week tenancy by a written notice given to the other at least seven days before the termination date specified in the notice.

(b) The landlord or the tenant may terminate a month-to-month tenancy by a written notice given to the other at least 30 days before the periodic rental date specified in the notice.

(c) If a tenant remains in possession without the landlord's consent after expiration of the term of the rental agreement or its termination, the landlord may bring an action for possession and if the tenant's holdover is willful and not in good faith the landlord may also recover an amount equal to not more than three month's periodic rent or the actual damages sustained by the landlord, whichever is greater, and reasonable attorney's fees. If the landlord consents to the tenant's continued occupancy, subsection (d) of Section 35-9A-161 applies.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1.)

Section 35-9A-442

Landlord and tenant remedies for abuse of access.

(a) If a tenant refuses to allow lawful access, the landlord may obtain injunctive relief to compel access, or terminate the rental agreement pursuant to Section 35-9A-421. In either case, the landlord may recover actual damages.

(b) If a landlord makes an unlawful entry or a lawful entry in an unreasonable manner or makes excessive demands for entry otherwise lawful but which have the effect of unreasonably harassing the tenant, the tenant may obtain injunctive relief to prevent the recurrence of the conduct, or terminate the rental agreement pursuant to Section 35-9A-401. In either case, the tenant may recover actual damages.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1.)

Division 4 Court Actions by Landlord

Section 35-9A-461

Landlord's action for eviction, rent, monetary damages, or other relief.

(a) A landlord's action for eviction, rent, monetary damages, or other relief relating to a tenancy subject to this chapter shall be governed by the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure and the Alabama Rules of Appellate Procedure except as modified by this chapter.

(b) District courts and circuit courts, according to their respective established jurisdictions, shall have jurisdiction over eviction actions, and venue shall lie in the county in which the leased property is located. Eviction actions shall be entitled to precedence in scheduling over all other civil cases.

(c) Service of process shall be made in accordance with the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure. However, if a sheriff, constable, or process server is unable to serve the defendant personally, service may be had by delivering the notice to any person who is sui juris residing on the premises, or if after reasonable effort no person is found residing on the premises, by posting a copy of the notice on the door of the premises, and on the same day of posting or by the close of the next business day, the sheriff, the constable, the person filing the complaint, or anyone on behalf of the person, shall mail notice of the filing of the unlawful detainer action by enclosing, directing, stamping, and mailing by first class a copy of the notice to the defendant at the mailing address of the premises and if there is no mailing address for the premises to the last known address, if any, of the defendant and making an entry of this action on the return filed in the case. Service of the notice by posting shall be complete as of the date of mailing the notice.

(d) Notwithstanding subsection (a) of Section 12-12-70, any party may appeal from an eviction judgment entered by a district court to the circuit court at any time within seven days after the entry thereof. The filing of a timely post-judgment motion pursuant to the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure shall suspend the running of the time for filing a notice of appeal. In cases where post-judgment motions are filed, the full time fixed for filing a notice of appeal shall be computed from the date of the entry in the civil docket of an order granting or denying such motion, or the date of the denial of such motion by operation of law pursuant to Rule 59.1 of the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure. Upon filing of an appeal by either party, the clerk of the court shall schedule the action for trial as a preferred case, and it shall be set for trial within 60 days from the date of the filing of the appeal. In eviction actions, an appeal by a tenant to circuit court or to an appellate court does not prevent the issuance of a writ of restitution or possession unless the tenant pays to the clerk of the circuit court all rents properly payable under the terms of the lease since the date of the filing of the action, and continues to pay all rent that becomes due and properly payable under the terms of the lease as they become due, during the pendency of the appeal. In the event of dispute, the amounts properly payable shall be ascertained by the court.

(1) If the tenant should fail to make any payments determined to be properly payable as they become due under this subsection, upon motion, the court shall issue a writ of restitution or possession and the landlord shall be placed in full possession of the premises.

(2) Upon disposition of the appeal, the court shall direct the clerk as to the disposition of the funds paid to the clerk pursuant to this subsection.

(e) If an eviction judgment enters in favor of a landlord, a writ of possession shall issue upon application by the landlord. Notwithstanding Rule 62 of the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure, the automatic stay on the issuance of the writ of possession or restitution shall be for a period of seven days. If a tenant without just cause re-enters the premises, the tenant can be held in contempt and successive writs may issue as are necessary to effectuate the eviction judgment.

(f) In the event that the landlord is placed in possession under a writ of restitution or possession, and on appeal the judgment is reversed and one entered for the tenant or the proceeding on appeal is quashed or dismissed, the circuit court may award a writ of restitution or possession to restore the tenant to possession as against the landlord, but not as against a third party. The issuance of the writ rests in the discretion of the appellate court, and the circuit court, in all cases, may direct writs of restitution or possession to be issued by the trial court when, in the judgment of the circuit court, such writ is proper or necessary.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1; Act 2009-633, §1.)

Article 5

Retaliatory Conduct Prohibited

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Section 35-9A-501

Retaliatory conduct prohibited.

  • (a) Except as provided in this section, a landlord may not retaliate by discriminatorily increasing rent or decreasing services or by bringing or threatening to bring an action for possession because:

  • (1) the tenant has complained to a governmental agency charged with responsibility for enforcement of a building or housing code of a violation applicable to the premises materially affecting health and safety;

  • (2) the tenant has complained to the landlord of a violation under Section 35-9A-204; or

  • (3) the tenant has organized or become a member of a tenant's union or similar organization.

  • (b) If a landlord acts in violation of subsection (a), the tenant is entitled to the remedies provided in Section 35-9A-407 and has a defense in any retaliatory action against the tenant for possession.

  • (c) Notwithstanding subsections (a) and (b), a landlord may bring an action for possession if:

  • (1) the violation of the applicable building or housing code was caused primarily by lack of reasonable care by the tenant, a member of the tenant's family, or other person on the premises with the tenant's consent;

  • (2) the tenant is in default in rent;

  • (3) compliance with the applicable building or housing code requires alteration, remodeling, or demolition which would effectively deprive the tenant of use of the dwelling unit; or

  • (4) other material violations of the lease.

  • (d) The maintenance of an action under subsection (c) does not release the landlord from liability under subsection (b) of Section 35-9A-401.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1.)

Article 6

Section Subtitle

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Section 35-9A-601

Effective date.

  • Except for subsection (b) of Section 35-9A-163 which shall become effective January 1, 2008, this chapter shall become effective on January 1, 2007. It applies to rental agreements entered into or extended or renewed on and after that date.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1.)

Section 35-9A-602

Savings clause.

Transactions entered into before January 1, 2007, and not extended or renewed on and after that date, and the rights, duties, and interests flowing from them remain valid and may be terminated, completed, consummated, or enforced as required or permitted by any statute or other law amended or repealed by this chapter as though the repeal or amendment had not occurred.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1.)

Section 35-9A-603

Severability.

If any provision of this chapter or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or application of this chapter which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this chapter are severable.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1.)