Alaska Habitability Laws

Last Updated: June 23, 2022 by Elizabeth Souza

In Alaska, a landlord’s obligation for providing a habitable living space is primarily governed by AK Stat. § Sec. 34.03.100. This legal requirement, commonly known as the “implied warranty of habitability”, also outlines the rights of tenants when repairs are not made in a timely manner.

Quick Facts Answer
Landlord Responsibilities Hot/Cold Water, HVAC, Plumbing, Electrical, Stairs/Railings, Fire Exits, Floors, Showers, Toilets, Kitchen Appliances, Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Time Limit for Repairs Timely Manner
Tenant Recourse Options
  • Withhold Rent: Yes
  • Repair & Deduct: Yes, a reasonable amount

Applicable Dwelling Types in Alaska

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 Type Landlord/Tenant Laws Apply?
Single family Yes
Multi-family Yes
Fraternities/Sororities/Clubs Not addressed
RV parks Not addressed
Mobile home parks Not addressed
Condos Not addressed
Hotels/Motels No
Questions? To chat with an Alaska landlord tenant attorney, Click here

Landlord Responsibilities in Alaska

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 Issue Landlord 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. Yes
Provide working gas lines if used for utilities/cooking Not 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 detectors Yes
Provide a mailbox. No
Provide working wiring for one telephone jack. Not addressed
Provide working kitchen appliances. Yes
Provide working carbon monoxide detector. Yes
Provide a working washer/dryer. No
Provide and maintain locks and furnishing keys. If requested by tenant

*Supply of running water and hot water is excluded when heat/hot water is generated by an installation within the exclusive control of the tenant and supplied by a direct public utility connection. (AK Stat. § Sec. 34.03.100(5)(A)(B)) Or if the dwelling unit does not have a well/water provided by a public utility connection and the rental agreement states that it’s the tenant’s responsibility.

Additionally, if a rental property (specifically a single-family residence) is in an undeveloped rural area or located where public water service and sewer services have never been connected, the landlord is not liable running water, hot water, sewage, or sanitary facilities from a private system. (AK Stat. § Sec. 34.03.100(b))

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.

Tenant’s Right to Repairs in Alaska

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.

In some instances, a landlord of a one or two-family residence may agree in writing (separate from the lease) that the tenant shall perform some of the landlord’s duties. A tenant may agree to maintain the premises, perform specified repairs, alterations, or remodel. If the tenant pays more than $2,000 a month, the tenant can also maintain electrical, plumbing, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, sanitary facilities, and appliances. A tenant may not perform maintenance or repairs on elevators.

Questions? To chat with an Alaska landlord tenant attorney, Click here

Tenant’s Options if Repairs Aren’t Made in Alaska

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 in Alaska

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).

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