Tenant's Obligations in Alabama

11 Responsibilities of Alabama Tenants

Alabama landlord tenant code protects the rights of tenants in the state. While tenants do have certain rights in the state, Alabama code makes it clear that tenants also have certain obligations. The responsibilities that tenants have include everything from respecting the quiet enjoyment of others in the building to paying rent on time. Here are 11 obligations of tenants in the state of Alabama.

Pay Rent on Time

In Alabama, as in all states, a tenant has the basic obligation to pay his or her rent on time. Depending on the terms of the lease agreement, this may be at the beginning of the week or at the beginning of the month.

Alabama code does not have any specific requirement when it comes to a grace period. It is up to a landlord to include this clause in the lease agreement. If the landlord allows a grace period, say five days after rent is due, then the tenant can pay rent up until this time without penalty. If there is no grace period, then the tenant must pay rent on the due date or face penalty.

Alabama statue does not have any requirements for late fees. A landlord may elect to include a late fee clause in their lease agreement. If a tenant pays rent after it is due, then he or she will be subject to pay a late fee in addition to the monthly rent.

A tenant will face eviction for nonpayment of rent. The landlord will send the tenant written notice that the tenant has not paid their rent and that the lease agreement will terminate if the tenant does not pay their rent in full, plus any late fees, within seven days of receiving the notice.

Abide by the Terms of the Lease

A tenant has signed a lease agreement in order to live in the rental unit. Therefore, the tenant has agreed to abide by the terms of that lease agreement. The lease agreement is binding. If the tenant breaches the terms of the lease agreement, he or she may be subject to fines or eviction.

The exception would be if the landlord has included clauses which are illegal under Alabama state law, such as making a tenant responsible for paying a landlord’s attorney’s fees. Depending on the ruling of the court, an illegal clause can make the whole lease agreement void or it can just make the illegal clause void, while the rest of the lease remains valid.

Comply With Building and Housing Codes

A tenant has the duty to adhere to all building and housing codes which could affect the health and safety of the tenant, other tenants in the building or surrounding neighbors.

Keep Unit Clean and Safe

Alabama tenants are obliged to maintain their unit in a condition that is as clean and safe as the unit allows. An example would be not keeping flammable materials in the unit, such as a propane tank.

Properly Dispose of Garbage

Alabama tenants have an obligation to properly dispose of any waste from their dwelling unit. This means having proper garbage bags and trash receptacles in their unit and moving these garbage bags into the appropriate exterior garbage bin on trash collection days.

Maintain Plumbing Fixtures

Tenants must not abuse any plumbing fixtures in their unit and must keep them in clean, working condition.

Maintain Appliances and Other Facilities

Alabama tenants must take care not to damage any appliances that were included with the unit. They must also use all electrical, plumbing, heating or cooling in a reasonable manner and not be abusive.

Obligation Not to Destroy or Damage Property

Under Alabama’s landlord tenant code, a tenant cannot deliberately, or through neglect, “deface, damage, impair or remove” any part of the property or through knowledge or neglect, allow any other person to do so.

Respect Quiet Enjoyment of Others

The tenant has the right to enjoy their dwelling unit, but this enjoyment must take place in such a way that it does not negatively impact another tenant’s enjoyment of his or her dwelling. Many landlords have a quiet hours’ policy in place which puts additional requirements on keeping noise at a respectable level during certain hours, such as 10 P.M. to 8 A.M

Refrain from Illegal Activities

A tenant can only use the unit as a dwelling unit. The tenant cannot use the dwelling to operate a business or to perform any illegal activities on the rental property. This could include:

  • The use or sale of illegal drugs on the premises.
  • Discharge of a firearm on the premises (except in cases of self-defense)
  • Criminal assault of any individual on the property (except in cases of self-defense)

Illegal activities are grounds for immediate eviction.

Tenant Failure to Maintain

If a tenant fails to maintain the rental unit according to health and safety codes, a landlord can send the tenant a written notice saying that the violation must be fixed within seven days of receiving the notice or immediately in the case of emergencies. If the violation is not fixed within this seven day window, the landlord can enter the unit, cause the work to be done and bill the tenant for the work.

Alabama Law on Tenant Obligations

To view Alabama’s code regarding a tenant’s obligations, please refer to Alabama’s Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act §§ Section 35-9A-301-304, Section 35-9A-421(d) and Section 35-9A-422.