Alabama Tenant Rights Laws

Home is where the heart is, but a grievance with your landlord can quickly turn your sweet home Alabama into a nightmare. Whether you're considering entering into a residential lease, or you're already a renter, take some time to understand Alabama's laws defining tenants' rights.

Alabama Tenants' Rights Overview

Alabama statues detail the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants in Alabama. This includes provisions about collecting and returning security deposits, collecting rent, and terminating or renewing a lease.

However, Alabama doesn't recognize certain tenants' rights that many other states do. For example, some states allow a tenant to "repair and deduct," meaning if a landlord refuses to make essential repairs, the tenant can do so and deduct the cost of the repair from rent. Notably, Alabama doesn't recognize this right, so tenants that withhold rent for essential repairs put themselves at risk of being in breach of the lease. However, tenants are not without legal rights in this situation and have the right to bring an action against a landlord for failing to keep the unit in a habitable condition.

Another distinction in Alabama law is that the state has chosen to adopt the federal Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination by landlords against tenants on the basis of race, religion, gender, or other classifications. While some states include their own laws regarding discrimination in renting, often expanding such protections to LGBTQ individuals and other groups, Alabama chooses to incorporate the federal statute instead.

The below chart provides details of Alabama's tenants' rights laws at a glance.

Statutes

Security Deposits

  • Landlords cannot charge more than one month's rent as security deposit (not including pet deposits)
  • Security deposits, or an itemized statement of deductions, must be returned within 60 days of the termination of the tenancy

Paying Rent

  • Alabama does not have laws specifying how much notice a landlord must provide before raising rent
  • Individual leases may address rent increases

Living Conditions

  • Landlords must comply with all applicable building and housing codes affecting health and safety
  • Landlords must make necessary repairs to keep premises in habitable condition, including maintaining electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, air-conditioning, and other facilities and appliances
  • Alabama tenants do NOT have the legal right to "repair and deduct" rental payments for repairs
  • Landlord must provide notice to enter a unit, and a tenant may not unreasonably withhold consent to enter
  • Landlords may enter a unit without tenant agreement in the event of an emergency or pursuant to a court order

Discrimination

  • Pursuant to the federal Fair Housing Act, landlord cannot discriminate against tenant on the basis of race, national origin, religion, gender, disability, or familial status

Ending or Renewing a Tenancy

  • Landlord and tenant can terminate a lease with appropriate notice equal to the length of the lease term
  • A tenant may terminate a lease for material noncompliance of landlord with lease terms with 14 days' notice
  • If tenant is not in compliance with lease terms, landlord can deliver written notice of termination of lease

Retaliation

  • Alabama landlords cannot raise rent in a discriminatory or retaliatory manner

Note: State regulations are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Related Alabama Tenant's Rights Resources

Get a Free Evaluation of Your Landlord/Tenant Case

If your rights as a tenant have been violated, there may be legal recourse available to you. An important first step is to understand your rights and obligations as an Alabama tenant. Also consider speaking with an experienced landlord/tenant attorney for your free case evaluation.

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