Alaska Habitability Laws

QUICK FACTS
  • Landlord Responsibilities. Landlord is responsible for maintaining habitable condition including maintaining all electrical, plumbing, heating and sanitary systems and and providing smoke and carbon monoxide detection devices (read more).
  • Making Repairs. Landlords are required to make all repairs and do whatever is necessary keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition (read more).
  • Tenant Options. If repairs aren’t made in a timely manner, tenant can withhold rent and is allowed to make repairs and deduct repair costs from rent (read more).
  • Retaliation. If a landlord is reported to a local city or county inspector for housing code violations, it is illegal for a landlord to retaliate, such as by threatening eviction (read more).

The implied warranty of habitability in Alaska does not apply to all types of dwellings. See the table below for which are & aren’t included.

Dwelling TypeLandlord/Tenant Laws Apply?
Single familyYes
Multi-familyYes
Fraternities/Sororities/ClubsNot addressed
RV parksNot addressed
Mobile home parksNot addressed
CondosNot addressed
Hotels/MotelsNo

Landlord Responsibilities

The following chart lists possible landlord responsibilities when it comes to habitability.  Not all of them are requirements in Alaska, as indicated below.

Note: some of the below items may not be addressed at the state level but may be addressed on a county or city level. Check your local housing codes to see which additional requirements may apply.

Habitability IssueLandlord Responsibility?
Provide windows and doors that are in good repair.Not addressed
Ensure the roof, walls, etc., are completely waterproofed and there are no leaks.Not addressed
Provide hot and cold running water.Yes
Provide working HVAC equipment.Yes
Provide working plumbing and electrical wiring/outlets/ lighting.Not addressed
Provide working gas lines if used for utilities/cookingNot addressed
Provide working sanitation facilities (bathtub/shower, toilet).Yes
Provide a trash can (for trash pickup services).Yes
Ensure that any stairs and railings are safe.Yes
Ensure that all floors are in good condition and safe.Yes
Provide fire exits that are usable, safe, and clean.Yes
Ensure storage areas, including garages and basements, do not house combustible materials.Not addressed
Provide working smoke detectorsYes
Provide a mailbox.No
Provide working wiring for one telephone jack.Not addressed
Provide working kitchen appliances.No
Provide working carbon monoxide detector.Yes
Provide a working washer/dryer.No
Provide and maintain locks and furnishing keys.If requested by tenant

Pests

Landlords must treat for rats, mice, roaches, or other “pests” in the rental unit.

Appliances

Landlords may choose to provide additional appliances, but they are not required to under the law. If any non-landlord owned appliance fails, it’s the renter’s responsibility to repair/replace it.
However, tenants and landlords can have a written agreement that requires the tenant to be responsible for providing running water, heat, trash service, and carbon monoxide and smoke detectors—but only if the rental property is a single family property or a duplex.

Making Repairs

For all residential properties, landlords are required to make and pay for any repairs to make the unit livable that are not caused by the tenant.

  • Sending Notice – If the tenants request repairs, the landlord will have ten days after receiving written notice to make the repairs. If the same issue recurs within six months, the tenant can terminate the lease within ten days without giving the landlord the opportunity to repair the issue a second time.
  • Landlord Access – Landlords may enter the premises to perform repairs and maintenance provided they give 24 hours notice and must only do so at reasonable times.

Tenant’s Options if Repairs Aren’t Made

In Alaska, repairs aren’t made in a timely manner, the tenant has a few possible options for resolving the issue.

  1. Withhold rent – tenants are allowed to withhold rent should a landlord fail to make repairs or provide essential services (water, heat, etc.) after providing written notice requesting such service.
  2. Repair and deduct – tenants have the right to repair the issue themselves and deduct a reasonable amount for the repair from the following month’s rent.
  3. Lawsuit – tenants do have the right to take legal action for damages resulting from habitability issues.
  4. Reporting to Public Officials – landlords can be reported to a  government agency responsible for enforcement of governmental housing if they are found to be in violation of any local housing codes.

Landlord Retaliation

Alaska habitability laws prohibit landlords from retaliating against tenants who exercise their legal rights. Tenant rights which are protected from retaliation are:

  • complaint to landlord or government agency
  • involvement in Tenants’ organization
  • exercise of legal rights

Retaliatory acts by the landlord include:

  • threatening eviction
  • raising rent
  • decreasing services (such as shutting off or limiting utilities)

Sources