Alabama's Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act consists of state statutes providing legal definitions and regulations for residential lease agreements. The state Legislature revises or repeals some statutes over time. The last major revision to Alabama's Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act was in 2007.
The Alabama Legislature revised the act in 2007 to make the rules for rental agreements more specific, according to the Landlord Protection Agency. "Slum lords" using unfair and illegal practices spurred a number of statute revisions. Another statute revision limited security deposit amounts to a maximum of one month's rent.
The Legislature repealed all statutes in Article 3: Possession Wrongfully Withheld, in 2007. This article covered a landlord's legal remedies in an eviction proceeding. New and revised statutes in Article 1: General Provisions defined and regulated eviction proceedings.
Alabama's landlord and tenant act now requires livable conditions for tenants. Additional provisions provide an opportunity for tenants to break the lease agreement if a landlord does not make repairs after a notice is given. The revised statutes benefit landlords by reducing the notice period before eviction.
Tenant Rights and Responsibilities
There are a number of new tenant rights established under the 2007 act. The tenant's right to a livable rental unit is one of the most significant new rights. This statute requires rental units to have working electricity, hot water and heat. The tenant can legally break a lease if a landlord doesn't make needed repairs in the unit. This requires a 14-day notice. Earlier versions of the landlord and tenant statutes had no requirements for a livable home or a way to break the lease. Also, a tenant now must receive his security deposit 35 days after leaving the property, instead of 45 days.
Tenant responsibilities include keeping the rental unit clean, paying rent on time, and performing any repairs specified in the lease agreement. Tenants are also responsible for the actions of their guests, as well as any damage they or their guests cause. These responsibilities remain unchanged from the original statutes.
Landlord Rights and Resposibilities
The landlord has the right to know when a tenant is leaving the rental unit for more than two weeks. The tenant lets the landlord know about the vacancy so he does not assume the property is abandoned. The landlord may also implement security measures while the tenant is gone. This is a new statute implemented in the 2007 act.
The Alabama Legislature also revised notice periods for lease terminations. The landlord uses a seven-day notice to demand rent payment from a tenant. The landlord uses a 14-day notice if a tenant violates a lease term or landlord tenant law. The tenant must fix the lease violation in 14 days or the lease can be terminated.
Landlords must inform tenants 48 hours before entering the residence, except in cases of emergency, long-term tenant absence or abandonment. There were no entry regulations prior to the 2007 revisions.
The 2007 changes standardized the eviction process across Alabama. Landlords had to file two actions in court originally. Under the new laws, only an Unlawful Detainer lawsuit is filed. District courts now assign priority status to eviction cases. Tenants originally had 14 days to appeal an eviction, but the 2007 act reduced this to seven days.