In Alabama, written and oral agreements are accepted although oral agreements are considered tenancy-at-will with no specific end date. Using a written agreement provides more safeguards for the property owner and clearly establishes expectations for both parties.
Alabama Landlord-Tenant Laws
The Code of Alabama Title 35 – Property, Chapter 9A, outlines important lease laws that protect both landlords and tenants during a specific time period (lease term).
- Owners may not charge a security deposit equal to more than one month’s rent.
- The security deposit must be placed in an escrow account with a bank or lending institution and the landlord must inform the tenant in writing of its location.
- A security deposit must be returned, in total, within 60 days after the termination of the lease or surrender of the property to forwarding or last know address of the tenant.
Source: § 35-9A-201
To enter a property for repairs, maintenance, pest control, or for service relating to health and safety, at least two days advanced notice must be given. However, if reasons pertain to an emergency (life-threatening reason) or pursuant to court order, proper notice is not required.
Source: § 35-9A-303
Breach of Agreement
The landlord is required to give the tenant a notice of 7 business days to fix any breach of contract. If the tenant fails to fix the breach within the specified period, the landlord can terminate the lease. The most common reason for a breach of contract is a tenant’s failure to pay rent on time.
Source: § 35-9A-421
Repairs and Maintenance
It is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that their property is habitable and to bear the cost of any necessary repairs to maintain the habitable condition of the property. However, there is no specific timeframe for the landlord to address any issues. Other states with this requirement generally consider a 14-day duration a reasonable timeframe.
Source: § 35-9A-204