How to Evict a Tenant in Alabama

Alabama's landlord and tenant laws provide certain rights to both parties. Small, or private, landlords should know both their rights and the tenant's rights before they lease or rent out a property so, should it be necessary to evict a tenant, you will have the law with you.

  • Friday, December 23, 2016

  General   Legal   Alabama   Eviction Guide   

Alabama's landlord and tenant laws provide certain rights to both parties. Small, or private, landlords should know both their rights and the tenant's rights before they lease or rent out a property so, should it be necessary to evict a tenant, you will have the law with you.

Basically, the rental agreement should spell out the rules and standards the tenant should follow. These include such things as:

  • Names and addresses of all interested parties, including to whom the tenant should pay the rent.
  • Where and when rent is due, and how it may be paid (and what happens if it is due on a public holiday, etc.) and what will happen if the rent is late, the check bounces, etc.
  • How much notice you will give them before raising rent, or changing any other agreement.

Many small landlords omit such details from agreements, and when they try to evict, the tenants use the omissions to defend themselves in court. The first step, therefore, is to use an agreement that leaves nothing to chance. If the tenant is month-to-month, you must give the same notice that any other tenant would receive for rent increases, tenancy changes, notice to quit, etc. State law says: 30 days. If you do not, and the tenant fails to comply, you have the weaker case.

Notice to Quit

Alabama State law sets different timescales for different tenant violations. Notices must be served in person or by a processed server. You cannot simply tape the notice to the front door, for example, unless you can prove you tried all other delivery methods. You must date the notice, state the violation in complete detail, give the date when the tenant must be out, and you must sign the notice. We will now move on to specific notice periods.

Make sure you document everything from this moment on. If the matter goes to court, you must be able to proves you did everything correctly. Here are the reasons to issue a notice to quit in Alabama:

  • Failure to pay rent: You must give the tenant at least 7 days' notice. You may require all unpaid rent to be paid. If you accept partial payment, you invalidate the notice, and may extend the notice period by up to 30 days. If you do not accept partial payment, and the tenant does not pay, you may proceed to evict.
  • Other violations: If the tenant breaks any other part of the agreement, you must give 14 days' notice. If the tenant corrects the violation, then you must continue with the tenancy. Common "14 day violations" include illegal activities, threatening you or other tenants, not maintaining the property as agreed, not removing garbage, etc.
  • Month-to-month termination: You must give 30 days’ notice to quit, in this instance. If you accept any payment after the notice is served, then the notice becomes invalid.

Alabama Eviction Process

If the tenant does not comply, then you proceed to the eviction process, itself. You do this by filing for an Unlawful Detainer Hearing. The hearing requires 14 days' notice for non-payment, but only 7 days for other violations. You appear before a judge, and prove you satisfied all of the above steps.

  • If one party fails to turn up, they will probably lose by default, otherwise the judge hears both sides, and makes a decision.
  • If the tenant loses, they are given 7 days to file an appeal.
  • After 7 days, you request a Writ of Possession which enables a law enforcement officer to evict the tenant.
  • If the tenant leaves any personal items behind, you must hold them for 14 days before disposal.

Keep reading us at VerticalRent as we explore all U.S. eviction laws.

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