Landlords should familiarize themselves with the statewide rules and procedures that govern evictions in the state of Alaska and understand their responsibilities.
Quick Facts for Alaska
- Grounds for Eviction: Failure to pay rent, utility bills; lease violations; committing a crime on or damage to rental property
- Notice Required for Nonpayment of Rent: 7-Day Notice to Quit
- Notice Required to Terminate without Cause: 30-Day Notice to Quit
- Notice Required for Lease Violations: 10-Day Notice to Quit in general, but depends on gravity of offense
- Fastest a Landlord Can Evict for Illegal Acts: Immediately, via Order of Abatement
How Long Does it Take to Evict a Tenant in Alaska?
As in most states, the eviction process is a legal process in the state of Alaska. As such, it is difficult to offer a single answer to the question of how long an eviction will take. There are several reasons that an Alaskan landlord can legally seek eviction of a tenant. Although there are constants in this process, there are also several variables that will have an impact on the amount of time that it takes to evict a tenant. The process resulting in the eviction of a tenant is a multi-step process that may take a great deal of time and effort.
Within the state of Alaska, the process for eviction must begin with the landlord providing the tenant with a written Notice to Quit that indicates the landlord’s intention to evict the tenant and the reason for the eviction. This notice will also indicate the amount of time the tenant has to correct the issue at hand. There are some instances when the tenant has no recourse allowing him/her to salvage the lease. However, in most instances, the tenant has the opportunity to correct issues leading the landlord to seek eviction.
If the tenant has failed to correct the issue leading to the Notice to Quit (See AS 09.45.090(a)(2), AS 09.45.105 and AS 34.03.220 for information about the different deadlines and the required contents of these notices.) within the amount of time indicated in the notice, the landlord may proceed by filing a Forcible Entry and Detainer Lawsuit with the court.
Reasons for Eviction in Alaska
In the state of Alaska, a landlord may evict a tenant for:
- Failure to pay rent
- Failure to pay utility bills
- Commitment of a crime on the rental property
- Lease or rental agreement violations
- Damage to rental property
Each of these situations calls for the landlord to provide the tenant with a written Notice to Quit (AS 09.45.060–160.). Each of these situations requires that the landlord provide a specific and standard amount of time for the tenant to correct the situation or vacate the rental property. However, the amount of time legally required depends upon the reason the landlord is seeking to evict the tenant.
Eviction for Failure to Pay Rent
In the state of Alaska, a landlord must provide a tenant with a written Notice to Quit the rental property if the rent is not paid in full within seven days. It the landlord agrees to accept partial payment and extend the time of the notice within the seven days indicated on the notice, he/she has for all intents and purposes waived their ability to terminate the lease for nonpayment of rent. If the tenant fails to pay rent within the allotted seven days, and no other arrangement has been made, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process by filing a Forcible Entry and Detainer Lawsuit with the court.
Eviction if Rent has Been Paid
A landlord may evict a tenant even if rent has been paid when there is no written lease. However, for this to be legal, the landlord must provide a minimum of 30 days’ notice prior to proceeding with the eviction process. If a landlord provides the required amount of notice and the tenant fails to move, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process by filing a Forcible Entry and Detainer Lawsuit with the court.
Evicting a Tenant For Violation of Rental Agreement/Lease
There are different lengths of time required for a landlord to provide notice to a tenant depending upon the violation committed. Most violations require that the landlord provide a 10-Day Notice to Quit. If the tenant remedies the situation within the 10 days, the landlord may not proceed with the eviction process.
If the tenant has failed to pay utilities, the landlord must provide a written 5-Day Notice to Quit. If the issue has not been rectified within the given time, the landlord may proceed by filing a Forcible Entry and Detainer Lawsuit and proceed with the eviction process.
If a tenant has committed the same violation to the lease twice within six months, the landlord may provide the tenant with a 5-Day Notice to Quit and proceed with the eviction process if the situation has not been remedied in the 5-day period provided.
If the tenant has caused damage of $400 or more, the landlord may provide a 24-Hour Notice to Quit. (See AS 09.45.090.)
Evicting a Tenant for Illegal Behavior
If a tenant, or the guest of a tenant, commits an illegal act on rental property in the state of Alaska, the landlord must provide the tenant with a 5-day Notice to Quit. Illegal acts for which a tenant may be evicted in the state of Alaska include:
- Acts of prostitution
- Sale or production of alcohol
- Sale or production of illegal drugs
If an illegal act is identified during the course of a criminal case, the court can issue an Order of Abatement. This has the effect of terminating the tenant’s lease or rental agreement immediately. (AS 09.45.060 – .160.)
How Does a Landlord Evict a Tenant When There is no Lease?
In the state of Alaska, the landlord is required to provide written notice to a month-to-month tenant that he/she is terminating the rental agreement no less than 30 days prior to the time he/she wishes the tenant to be off of the property. The date rent is due plays a part in the Notice to Quit when dealing with a month-to-month tenant. If the landlord wants the tenant to leave by the month of May, he/she must provide a 30-Day Notice to Quit prior to the date that April’s rent is normally due. If the landlord did not provide notice prior to the day rent is due in April, the earliest that he can legally expect the tenant to vacate the property is by the day rent is normally due in June.
When Can a Tenant Not Be Evicted in Alaska?
The state of Alaska has made it illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant for (AS 34.03.010 – .390):
- Complaining about the landlord’s failure to perform his responsibilities as landlord
- Exercising his/her rights as provided under the Alaska Landlord and Tenant Act
- Joining or organizing a tenant organization or union
- Failing to pay rent that has been increased beyond that agreed to in the lease
Forcible Entry and Detainer Lawsuit
In the state of Alaska, a landlord may proceed with the eviction process after a tenant has failed to comply with a notice terminating the rental relationship by filing a Forcible Entry and Detainer Lawsuit with the court (AS 09.45.110.). This lawsuit has two phases. The first phase is the Eviction Hearing. When the Forcible Entry and Detainer Lawsuit is filed, the tenant must be made aware of the suit. The court will schedule a hearing no sooner than two days after the tenant is served with notice of the suit and no more than 15 days from the date of filing.
At this hearing, the judge will decide whether or not the tenant can remain on the rental property. Both sides are given time to present information and make claims and counterclaims regarding the case. There is no option allowing for a jury trial where evictions are concerned.
Once Eviction Occurs
If the judge finds in favor of the landlord at an Eviction Hearing, he/she will also determine how long the tenant can remain of the property. If the tenant continues to refuse to leave the rental property after the time provided by the judge, the landlord may obtain a Writ of Assistance from the court. This writ permits the police to assist with evicting the tenant. Failure of the tenant to vacate the property prior to a Writ of Assistance will also result in the tenant being held responsible for the landlord’s attorney fees.
After the Eviction Hearing, a damages hearing will be scheduled if the landlord files for damages. This hearing is held within 20 days of the complaint for damages. If the tenant fails to respond to the complaint, a default judgment will be made for the landlord. If personal property is left at the rental property after an eviction, the landlord is required to notify the tenant where the property is being held. The tenant must be given 15 days to retrieve his/her property. Any property remaining after the 15 days may be sold, destroyed, donated or otherwise disposed of as the landlord sees fit. Moving costs and storage costs of the abandoned personal property may be passed along to the tenant unless that cost exceeds the cost of rent.
Make sure to read the Alaska Statutes §§ 34.03.220, 340.03.290 & 340.03.300 before starting the eviction process. Landlords should make sure to educate themselves on their rights and responsibilities on this topic.