Tenants in Alabama have the legal right to repairs for issues that place the property in violation of state health and safety standards. To exercise this right, they must properly notify the landlord in writing and allow 14 days for the repairs to be made.
Alabama Landlord Responsibilities for Repairs
Alabama landlords are responsible for keeping all of the following in good condition:
Electricity (if provided).
Kitchen appliances (if provided).
Hot / Cold water.
Smoke / CO detectors.
Other amenities and appliances that were provided at move-in.
Anything impacting health, safety, or habitability.
If any of the above stops working properly, and the tenant isn’t at fault for the damage, the landlord has to fix it.
What Repairs Are Tenants Responsible for in Alabama?
Alabama tenantsare responsible for repairing any damage they causeto the property which affects health and safety. If it’s not an emergency, tenants can usually wait until the landlord asks in writing for repairs.
On a case by case basis, the landlord and renter can agree in writing that the renter handle specific maintenance. This is only an option if the property is already up to code. For single-family homes only, this agreement can include garbage removal, water, and heating.
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Requesting Repairs in Alabama
Alabama tenantsmust request repairs in writing.To reserve the relevant legal options, the tenant must also state actions they might take if the landlord does not make timely repairs, such as canceling the lease altogether.
An example of language a tenant might use to state these intentions is: “If the issue isn’t fixed, the renter may exercise his right to cancel the rental agreement fourteen or more days from today.”
How Long Does a Landlord Have To Make Repairs in Alabama?
Alabama landlords have 14 days to make repairs after getting a written repair request. However, a landlord may be liable in court for costs to the renter if he doesn’t immediately fix emergency situations that are his responsibility.
Can the Landlord Refuse To Make Repairs in Alabama?
Alabama landlordscannot refuse to make repairsthat are his responsibility. It doesn’t matter if the tenant is behind on rent or breaking terms of the rental agreement.
Do Landlords Have To Pay for Alternative Accommodation During Repairs in Alabama?
Alabama landlordsdon’t have to pay for alternative accommodationwhile they conduct repairs. However, if they conduct repairs in a way that prevents the renter from accessing or using the property as expected, the renter might be able to cancel the rental agreement and sue the landlord for extra compensation.
Tenant’s Rights if Repairs Aren’t Made in Alabama
Alabama tenants, depending on the situation, have aright to cancel the rental agreement14 days after the landlord receives a properly written repair request, if the landlord hasn’t fixed the issue.
If the failure to repair is deliberate and affects essential services, the tenant has aright to sue the landlordfor related expenses, or for an amount equal to three months’ rent (whichever is greater). The tenant can also recover court costs and attorney fees.
“(a) …if there is a material noncompliance by the landlord with the rental agreement or a noncompliance with Section 35-9A-204 materially affecting health and safety, the tenant may deliver a written notice to the landlord specifying… the breach and that the rental agreement will terminate upon a date not less than 14 days after receipt of the notice if the breach is not remedied within that period, and the rental agreement shall terminate as provided in the notice subject to the following: (1) if the breach is remediable… and the landlord adequately remedies the breach before the date specified in the notice, the rental agreement shall not terminate… (2) the tenant may not terminate for a condition caused by [his own] deliberate or negligent act or omission…
“(b) …the tenant may recover actual damages and reasonable attorney fees and obtain injunctive relief for noncompliance by the landlord with the rental agreement or Section 35-9A-204.”
“A landlord shall: (1) comply with the requirements of applicable building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety; (2) make all repairs and do whatever is necessary to put and keep the premises in a habitable condition; (3) keep all common areas of the premises in a clean and safe condition; (4) maintain in good and safe working order and condition all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, and other facilities and appliances, including elevators, supplied or required to be supplied by the landlord; (5) provide and maintain appropriate receptacles and conveniences for the removal of garbage, rubbish, and other waste incidental to the occupancy of the dwelling unit and arrange for their removal; and (6) supply running water and reasonable amounts of hot water at all times and reasonable heat…”
“If there is noncompliance by the tenant with Section 35-9A-301 materially affecting health and safety that can be remedied by repair, replacement of a damaged item, or cleaning, and the tenant fails to comply as promptly as conditions require in case of emergency or within seven days after written notice by the landlord specifying the breach and requesting that the tenant remedy it within that period of time, the landlord may enter the dwelling unit and cause the work to be done in a workmanlike manner and submit the itemized bill for the actual and reasonable cost or the fair and reasonable value thereof as rent on the next date periodic rent is due, or if the rental agreement has terminated, for immediate payment.”
“(c) The landlord and tenant of a single family residence may agree in writing that the tenant perform the landlord’s duties specified in subdivisions (5) and (6) of subsection (a) and also specified repairs, maintenance tasks, alterations, and remodeling.
“(d) The landlord and tenant of any dwelling unit other than a single family residence may agree that the tenant is to perform specified repairs, maintenance tasks, alterations, or remodeling only if: (1) the agreement of the parties is set forth in a separate writing signed by the parties and supported by adequate consideration; (2) the work is not necessary to cure noncompliance with subdivision (1) of subsection (a); and (3) the agreement does not diminish or affect the obligation of the landlord to other tenants in the premises.”
“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.”
“If the dwelling unit or premises are damaged or destroyed by fire or casualty not caused by the tenant to an extent that enjoyment of the dwelling unit is substantially impaired, the tenant may: (1) immediately vacate the premises and notify the landlord in writing within 14 days thereafter of the tenant’s intention to terminate the rental agreement, in which case the rental agreement terminates as of the date of vacating.”
“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.”