The eviction process may be different for every lease or rental agreement that a landlord and tenant will sign. It’s dependent on a wide array of factors. You should be aware that there are only certain situations in which a landlord can evict the tenant legally in Alabama.
Landlords should seek advice from an experienced real estate attorney and maintain a meticulous file for avoiding errors that may be exploited by the tenant in the event of an eviction. Similarly, the tenants should be aware of their rights and seek legal advice to help prevent an illegal eviction.
Here are a few legal reasons landlords can evict tenants in Alabama:
- Not Complying with Rent Deadlines
In Alabama, a tenant’s rent is considered late if they haven’t paid even after a day past the deadline. Moreover, a grace period may be applicable if the rental or lease agreement states it. The landlord is required to provide the tenant with an official written notice to pay at least a week before the eviction process can be started. The filing for eviction needs to cease if the rent is paid within these 7 days. The landlord reserves the right to evict the tenant if they are unable to pay after the grace period.
- Violation of Terms Mentioned in the Rental Agreement
The terms in the rental lease agreement need to be upheld by the landlord as well as the tenant for the entire duration of the stay. These terms may differ between agreements. The landlord has to issue a 7-Day Notice to Comply if any of the terms are violated by the tenant. The eviction process cannot continue if the tenant resolves the issues.
These are a few examples of lease violations:
- Smoking in areas that are designated as non-smoking
- Damage to property
- Keeping pets if they are not allowed
The landlord may continue eviction if the violations are not taken care of. Landlords should know that if the same violations are committed by the tenant again within 6 months, they are not legally obligated to give the tenant an opportunity to resolve the issue before presenting them with the notice to evict.
- False or Misleading Information
Landlords have the right to remove tenants if they were dishonest while filling out the rental application. Examples of false and misleading information include, but are not limited to:
- Number of people living in the rental unit
- Employment status of the tenant
- Personal information of the tenant
- Criminal and eviction history of the tenant
The tenant doesn’t get an opportunity to correct false or misleading information. A landlord can issue a 7-Day Notice to Quit by which the tenant gets 7 business days for vacating the property.
- Carrying Out Illegal Activity
The landlord has the right to issue an official 7-Day Notice to Quit in writing if the tenant is engaged in any illegal activity or behavior on the property. Examples include:
- Assault, theft, or violence.
- Involvement in the distribution, creation, or consumption of controlled substances.
- Involvement in the distribution, creation, use, or possession of a firearm. This is not valid in the case of self-defense.
Tenants charged with illegal behavior are given 7 business days to leave the property after receiving a written Notice to Quit.
- Safety Violation or Material Health
Alabama takes into account the safety, building, health, and housing codes. The landlord is obligated to issue a 7-Day Notice to Comply if any of these codes are violated by the tenant. This is to give the tenant enough time to fix the problem. Violations may include:
- Damaging the electrical wiring
- Ruining plumbing fixtures
- Not throwing the trash out for extended periods of time
If the tenant is unable to fix the problem by the end of the 7 business days, the landlord may file for eviction.
- Not Renewing the Rental Lease
Landlords in Alabama cannot force a tenant to vacate the property without a legal reason. The tenant may continue staying on the property till the rental period ends. The landlord has to issue a 30-day Notice to Quit instead of a 7-day notice if the lease agreement is categorized as monthly. Landlords can issue a notice to move in writing if the tenants remain on the property even after the expiry of the rental or lease agreement.
Common Defenses Employed by Alabama Tenants
Tenants may claim the landlord failed to maintain the premises as per the applicable building and housing codes. This can include not providing essential services or making necessary repairs that impact the tenant’s health and safety. The tenant in these cases is required to provide the landlord with a written notice.
They need to allow at least 14-days for the landlord for making the requested repairs and notifying them of their noncompliance. The tenant has the right to contact the health department or a housing inspector for property inspection. This is to demonstrate the hazardous conditions in the house.
Choose a Seasoned Real Estate Attorney in Alabama to Protect Your Rights
Alabama laws surrounding rental agreements and eviction can be complex and confusing. You may miss out on something vital that could have been in your favor. The attorneys at BHM Law Group have deep domain knowledge and years of experience in dealing with eviction disputes. We are happy to provide you with a free consultation to discuss your concerns. Call us at (205) 994-0902 or reach us online.