In Alaska, all evictions follow the same process:
- Landlord serves tenant written notice.
- Landlord files complaint with court (if unresolved).
- Court holds hearing and issues judgment.
- Sheriff posts Writ of Assistance.
- Sheriff returns possession of property to landlord.
From start to finish, an eviction in Alaska can be completed in one to two months. However, it can take longer depending on the reason and whether the tenant contests it.
Grounds for an Eviction in Alaska
In Alaska, a landlord cannot legally evict a tenant without cause. Legal grounds to evict include not paying rent on time, staying after the lease ends, violating lease terms or not upholding responsibilities under Alaska law. Even so, proper notice must first be given before ending the tenancy.
|Nonpayment of Rent||7 Days||Yes|
|End of / No Lease||14-30 Days||No|
|Lease Violation||24 Hours/5 Days/7 Days||Maybe|
Eviction for Nonpayment of Rent
In Alaska, a landlord can evict a tenant for not paying rent on time. To do so, they must first give 7 days notice to pay rent or vacate the premises. If the tenant does neither after that time, the landlord can move forward and file an eviction lawsuit.
Unless the lease states otherwise, rent is due at the beginning of each pay period and is considered late in Alaska the day immediately after its due date. So for example, if rent is due on the first of the month, it is considered late starting on the second of the month (if not paid in full). There is no right to a legal grace period (i.e. five days) or exceptions for weekends or court-observed holidays.
Once rent is considered late, the landlord can begin the eviction process by serving the tenant with proper notice.
Eviction for No Lease or End of Lease
In Alaska, a landlord can evict a tenant without a lease or with a lease that has ended (known as a “holdover tenant” or “tenant at will”). To do so, they must first terminate the tenancy by giving proper notice to move out (30 days for tenants that pay month-to-month).
Once the tenancy ends, if the tenant remains on the property, the landlord can move forward and file an eviction lawsuit.
Eviction for Violation of Lease or Responsibilities
In Alaska, a landlord can evict a tenant for violating the terms of their lease or not upholding their responsibilities under Alaska landlord tenant law. Some (but not all) violations allow the tenant to fix (“cure”) the issue to avoid removal.
For more minor offenses, the tenant can remain at the property if they fix the issue within the 7 day notice period. Examples of curable violations include:
- Having an unauthorized pet, guest or vehicle.
- Parking in an unauthorized area.
- Not maintaining a certain level of cleanliness.
However, if the tenant repeats the violation within a 6-month period, the landlord does not have to offer the tenant a second chance to fix it.
For more serious (or repeated) offenses, the tenant isn’t given the opportunity to fix the issue and remain at the property. For incurable violations, a tenant must vacate the premises within the time allotted in the notice to quit or the landlord can move forward and file an eviction lawsuit. There are different timelines for different situations. Examples of incurable violations include:
- 24 hours notice for excessive damage, destruction, or misuse of the property.
- 5 days notice for use of the property for illegal activity.
Illegal Evictions in Alaska
In Alaska, either of the below actions by a landlord are illegal. If proven in court, the landlord could be required to pay the tenant damages and legal fees.
“Self Help” Evictions
No matter the situation, a landlord is not allowed to forcibly remove a tenant by:
- Changing the locks.
- Shutting off utilities.
- Removing tenant belongings.
A tenant can only be legally removed with a court order obtained through the formal eviction process.
It is illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant in response to exercising a legally protected right. These rights include:
- Complaining to the landlord about an issue with the property;
- Contacting a local or government agency about an issue with the property;
- Joining, supporting or organizing a tenant union or organization;
- Pursuing legal action against the landlord; or
- Withholding rent for a legally acceptable reason.
Step 1: Landlord Serves Notice to Tenant
A landlord can begin the eviction process in Alaska by serving the tenant with written notice. The notice must be delivered by one of the following methods:
- Hand delivering the notice to the tenant.
- Mailing a copy of the notice via regular mail, certified mail or registered mail.
- Leaving the notice in a conspicuous place (i.e. on the front door).
It is important for a landlord to always maintain a copy of the signed and served notice as proof of proper service of notice.
7-Day Notice to Pay Rent
If a tenant is late on paying rent (full or partial) in Alaska, the landlord can serve them a 7-Day Notice to Pay Rent. This notice gives the tenant 7 days to pay the entire remaining balance or vacate the premises.
10-Day Notice to Comply
If a tenant does not uphold their responsibilities under the terms of a written lease/rental agreement in Alaska, the landlord can serve a 10-Day Notice to Comply. This notice gives the tenants 10 days to correct the issue in order to avoid eviction.
Typical lease violations under this category could include things like having too many people residing in the rental unit, having a pet when there’s a no-pet policy, and material health and safety violations.
30-Day Notice to Quit
For a tenant with no lease or a month-to-month lease in Alaska, the landlord must serve them a 30-Day Notice to Quit to end the tenancy. This eviction notice allows the tenant 30 calendar days to move out (or the next business day if the final day lands on a weekend or legal holiday).
However, for tenants that don’t pay monthly, the amount of notice differs:
|Rent Payment Frequency||Notice Amount|
24-Hour Notice to Quit
In Alaska, if a tenant intentionally commits more than $400 worth of damage to the landlord’s property or commits a second violation within 6 months, the landlord can serve them a 24-Hour Notice to Cure or Vacate. This eviction notice gives the tenant 24 hours to move out.
5-Day Notice to Quit
In Alaska, if a tenant engages in certain illegal activity the landlord can serve the tenant with a 5-Day Notice to Quit. This eviction notice gives the tenant 5 calendar days to move out without the chance to cure the issue and remain.
Step 2: Landlord Files Lawsuit with Court
If the notice period ends and the tenant remains on the property, the Landlord must next file a complaint in the court of the proper county. The most convenient way to file a case is by using the Alaska Courts’ e-Filing Portal.
The complaint should include the following information:
- The landlord and tenant names;
- The rental property address, including the county;
- The grounds for eviction (i.e., nonpayment of rent, lease violation, etc.); and
- When notice was served.
After being notarized by the county clerk, the summons and complaint are forwarded to a process server or county sheriff to serve each named tenant. Certain fees may apply for the service of the summons and complaint.
The number of copies and which documents you need to provide varies based on the claims and number of tenants in your suit. To be certain always call the local Clerk’s Office. When only one tenant is involved, the Landlord will generally need:
- The original and two copies of the summons and complaint;
- Three copies of the notice served on the tenant;
- Three copies of the lease or rental agreement, if applicable;
- The applicable filing fee in the form of cash, check, money order, or credit card; and
- Proof of service.
If filing an eviction suit through the e-Filing Portal, the landlord will still need to serve a copy of the above documents on each tenant. In most counties, filing fees generally cost around $150.
2 days. The summons and complaint must be served at least two days before the hearing, or the hearing may be postponed by the judge.
Step 3: Court Serves Tenant with Summons & Complaint
Once the process server or sheriff has served the tenant, the tenant must answer the complaint. A response must be in writing and filed with the clerk of court within 20 days.
If the tenant contests the eviction, the process may take longer or include additional steps. To contest the eviction the tenant must have a legal defense, or a valid reason why the landlord should not evict them. The tenant must also serve the landlord with the response containing the defenses.
A valid legal defense may include the following situations:
- The landlord executed a “self help” eviction prior to finalizing the proper legal proceedings;
- The tenant resolved a curable violation;
- The landlord discriminated against the tenant;
- The landlord evicted the tenant in a retaliatory manner;
- The tenant did not violate the terms of the lease;
- The landlord failed to properly maintain the rental unit as required by state and federal law; or
- The notice or complaint contained substantial errors, such as omitting the effective date of eviction.
A court may dismiss the eviction lawsuit if it finds any of the above defenses to be true, aside from errors in the legal documents. If the notice or complaint contained substantial errors, the landlord must fix the errors and restart the eviction process.
If the tenant does not choose to contest the eviction, the process will proceed via the steps below.
Step 4: Court Holds Hearing & Issues Judgment
If the tenant did not contest the eviction, the landlord may move forward with filing a default motion judgment to obtain a Judgment for Possession. The eviction hearing will be held within 15 days of the date the complaint was filed with the court.
Tenants may request a two day continuance; however, the court could approve a continuance for a longer period.
If the tenant fails to appear for the eviction hearing, it will not be continued, and the judge will make a ruling on the eviction that day.
If the tenant did contest the eviction, the tenant may be required to pay the Court Clerk the amount of any outstanding rent and any rent until the lawsuit is over. If there is a disagreement over the amount of rent owed, the tenant may file a motion with the court to have the amount determined. Landlords must appear in court. If a properly served tenant fails to show up for the court date, the court will automatically rule in favor of the landlord.
To prepare for the hearing the landlord and tenant should bring the following:
- A copy of the lease agreement;
- The notice to quit or to pay;
- The complaint; and
- Any evidence (i.e., photos of damage, billing statements, etc.) or witnesses to help prove the case in court.
Regardless if the eviction was contested or not, if the judge rules in favor of the landlord, a Writ of Assistance will be subsequently issued and the process will proceed.
An appeal may be filed within 30 days of the date of judgment in favor of the landlord, but this may not stop the eviction.
~15 days The eviction case must be held within 15 days of the date the complaint was filed.
Step 5: Sheriff Posts Writ of Assistance
In Alaska, a Writ of Assistance is a court order served to a tenant by a sheriff that gives the sheriff the power to place a padlock on the rental unit. If the tenant remains on the property upon the sheriff’s return, the tenant will be forcibly removed. If any of the tenant’s belongings remains at the property, they will not be moved. Those belongings may be used as a lien for damages or payment to the landlord.
A few hours to a few days. The landlord must request the writ of assistance once the court-ordered deadline requiring the tenant to move out has passed.
Step 6: Sheriff Returns Property to Landlord
Alaska state law doesn’t specify how quickly State Troopers must remove a tenant once the writ of assistance has been issued. The landlord does have to work with State Troopers to schedule the eviction.
A few days to a few weeks, depending on how quickly the landlord and State Troopers are able to schedule the eviction once the writ of assistance has been issued.
Alaska Eviction Process Timeline
In Alaska, an eviction can be completed in as little as one to two months but can take longer depending on the reason for eviction, whether the eviction is contested, which days courts are (or aren’t) in session and other various possible delays.
Below are the parts of the Alaska eviction process outside the control of landlords for cases that go uncontested.
|Initial Notice Period||24 Hours to 30 Calendar Days|
|Court Issuing/Serving Summons||2 Days Prior to Hearing|
|Tenant Response Period||20 Calendar Days|
|Court Ruling||Within 15 Calendar Days|
|Court Serving Writ of Possession||Hours to Days|
|Final Notice Period||A few days to a few weeks|
Flowchart of Alaska Eviction Process
For additional questions about the eviction process in Alaska, please refer to the official legislation, Alaska Statutes §§34.03.010 to 34.03.380, §§09.45.060 to 09.45.160, and the Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 4, for more information.
- 1 AK Stat §34.03.220 (2019)
- 2 AK Stat §34.03.220 (2019)
- 3 AK Stat §34.03.220 (2019)
- 4 AK Stat §34.03.290 (2019)
- 5 AK Stat §34.03.220 (2019)
- 6 AK Stat §34.03.300 (2019)
- 7 AK Stat §34.03.220 (2019)
- 8 AK Stat §34.03.120 (2019)
- 9 AK Rules of Civil Proc Rule 4 (2019)
- 10 AK Stat §09.45.120 (2019)
- 11 AK Rules of Civil Proc Rule 4 (2019)
- 12 AK Rules of Civil Proc Rule 4 (2019)
- 13 AK Stat §09.45.120 (2019)