A reference of Alabama Eviction Laws, and steps of the Alabama eviction process for Landlords and renters, updated 2021.
- What are the reasons that landlords can evict tenants under Alabama eviction laws?
- Nonpayment of rent (Alabama Code § 35-9A-421)
- Intentional misrepresentation of a material fact that formed the basis of the rental agreement or application (Alabama Code § 35-9A-421)
- Violation of lease terms / rental agreement (Alabama Code § 35-9A-421)
- Failure to maintain the dwelling unit (Alabama Code § 35-9A-421)
- Tenant remains in possession of the dwelling unit after the occupancy period without the landlord’s permission (Alabama Code § 35-9A-441)
- What notice do Alabama eviction laws require that landlords provide tenants before starting the eviction process?
- For evictions based on non-payment of rent, the landlord must give a 7-day notice to pay before starting the eviction process. (Alabama Code § 35-9A-421(b))
- For evictions based on lease violations, the landlord must give a 7-day notice of non-compliance and allow the tenant to correct the issue before starting the eviction process. (Alabama Code § 35-9A-421(a))
- For evictions based on a holdover tenancy, landlords must provide a 30-day notice required to end the tenancy. If the tenant remains on the rental property after the termination date, the landlord can begin the eviction process without providing additional notice. (Alabama Code § 35-9A-441)
- Do Alabama eviction laws allow landlords to use “self-help eviction” methods, such as locking a tenant out of the rental unit or shutting off the utilities?
No. Alabama law forbids landlords from using self-help eviction methods. Violating this law can result in the landlord owing the tenant damages equal to three months’ rent. (Alabama Code § 35-9A-407).
Alabama Eviction Process
Landlords must follow these steps to legally evict a tenant in Alabama:
- Give the tenant notice. To initiate the Alabama eviction process, the landlord or their attorney must give the tenant the proper type of eviction notice that tells the tenant why they are being evicted. The landlord should send the notice by certified mail so that there is a record of sending it and the tenant receiving it.
- Give the tenant time to fix the situation. Landlords must give the tenant the appropriate amount of time to fix the situation leading to eviction, based on the time on the notice. For example, if the tenant has failed to pay rent, the landlord needs to give the tenant 7 days to become current on the rent.
- File an Unlawful Detainer Action. If the tenant does not respond in time, the landlord will officially begin the eviction process by filing a Complaint/Statement of Claim (Form C-59) with the local Judicial Court Circuit, based on where the property is located. The landlord will also need to complete a civil case cover sheet that provides identifying and contact information for the landlord and tenant. The landlord will be responsible for paying the filing fee to open the case.
- Serve the tenant. Landlords must legally serve the tenant with the documents filed with the court. This can be completed through service by the sheriff’s office, a private process server, or first-class certified mail.
- Wait for the tenant to file a response. The tenant has seven days to submit a response by filing an Answer (Form PS-01).
- Attend the court hearing and await judgment. The court will set a hearing date. Each party should appear at the hearing date at the scheduled date, time, and place. If the tenant does not appear, the landlord can win a default judgment against them. If both parties appear, the judge will hear both parties and review the evidence. If the judge rules in the landlord’s favor, the tenant has seven days to appeal the decision. If the judgment stands, the tenant must vacate the property. After this waiting period, the court will provide the landlord with a Writ of Restitution or Possession (Form C-59A). The local sheriff can serve this on the tenant to physically remove them from the property.
- Store the tenant’s property. If the tenant leaves personal property behind in the rental property, the landlord must store it for up to 14 days. If the tenant never returns to claim the property, the landlord can dispose of it after 14 days. Alabama Code § 35-9A-423(d).