Filing/Threatening Eviction (if tenant is current on rent)
Penalties for Retaliation
End Lease + Collect Fines
Repossess Property + Collect Fines
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When Is It Illegal for Landlords to Retaliate in Alabama?
In Alabama, it’s illegal for landlords to retaliate against renters with raised rent, reduced services, or (when rent is current) threatened eviction in response to:
Complaining to the landlord or government about failure to maintain the property
Starting / joining something like a tenants’ union
Pursuing rights or remedies given by law or rental agreement
What Can Tenants Do in Response in Alabama?
If a landlord retaliates in Alabama, the tenant can respond by canceling the rental agreement or retaking possession of the property. In either case, the tenant can recover court costs and attorney fees, plus expenses associated with the retaliation or a sum equal to triple the monthly rent (whichever is greater).
“Except as provided in this section, a landlord may not retaliate by discriminatorily increasing rent or decreasing services or by bringing or threatening to bring an action for possession because: (1) the tenant has complained to a governmental agency charged with responsibility for enforcement of a building or housing code of a violation applicable to the premises materially affecting health and safety; (2) the tenant has complained to the landlord of a violation under Section 35-9A-204; or (3) the tenant has organized or become a member of a tenant’s union or similar organization.”
“If a landlord unlawfully removes or excludes the tenant from the premises or willfully diminishes services to the tenant by interrupting or causing the interruption of heat, running water, hot water, electric, gas, or other essential service, the tenant may recover possession or terminate the rental agreement and, in either case, recover an amount equal to not more than three months’ periodic rent or the actual damages sustained by the tenant, whichever is greater, and reasonable attorney’s fees.”