The Alabama residential lease agreement (“rental agreement”) is a binding contract that describes the terms and conditions of the residential use of real estate in exchange for rent payments. This contract may require an additional fee (“security deposit”) payable on or before the move-in date.
Alabama Lease Agreement Disclosures
The following disclosures are either required for some or all residential lease agreements in Alabama.
Landlord’s Name & Address
Applicable to all rental units in Alabama.
The name and business address of the landlord or the individual(s) authorized to act on the landlord’s behalf must be disclosed in writing before or at the beginning of tenancy. This is to ensure that any future legal notices or demands that are sent by the tenant can be properly delivered to the landlord. Typically, this information is written in the lease agreement.
Lead Based Paint Disclosure
Applicable to any rental units built prior to 1978.
It is a federal law in the United States that any home built prior to 1978 must disclose the risks posed by lead-based paints. This law requires landlords in Alabama to:
- Fill out and attach this lead-based paint disclosure form to the lease agreement.
- Provide the tenant with an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved pamphlet about the dangers of lead-based paint.
- Provide additional records or reports about the presence or hazards of any known lead-based paint in the unit. For multi-unit buildings with common areas, this includes information from building-wide evaluations.
Optional Disclosures & Addendums (Recommended)
The following lease agreement disclosures and addendums are not required by Alabama law in residential lease agreements, but help reduce future conflicts with tenants or reduce legal liability for landlords.
- Medical Marijuana Use – it is recommended to state where medical marijuana use is and isn’t allowed on the property so that expectations are clear. Alabama law allows landlords to restrict marijuana usage to non-smoking methods only or control where users may smoke to not interfere with other tenants’ peaceful enjoyment of the premises.
- Move-in Checklist – it is recommended to provide an itemized list of damages to the property before move-in to make sure tenants are responsible for any serious damages that occur during the lease term. This can be attached to the lease agreement or signed as a separate document.
- Late and Returned Check Fees – it is recommended that landlords disclose in the lease any late fees or returned (bounced) check fees that they intend to charge. Alabama does not limit how high these fees can be, but they should be considered reasonable (often no more than 10% of rent) and reflect the actual expenses incurred by the landlord as a result of a late payment. Charges shall be made after the agreed upon due date for rent, which is dictated in the lease agreement.
- Shared Utilities Arrangements – for rental units with shared utilities, it is recommended to disclose the specifics of how they are shared, and how each party’s bill is calculated, so that tenants have a reasonable expectation of what they owe each month.
- Bed Bug Disclosure – for rental units with a history of infestation, it is recommended to provide information on the protocol for handling a bed bug infestation. This addendum will notify the tenant of their obligation to cooperate with bed bug prevention by promptly reporting any sign of infestation to the landlord.
- Asbestos Disclosure – for rental units built prior to 1981, asbestos was a common building material. This disclosure will notify the tenant to take certain precautions to minimize the chance of disturbing the asbestos fibers (i.e. no sanding, pounding, modifications or repairs, without the landlord’s consent). The disclosure will also notify the tenant of their obligation to immediately notify the landlord if any ceilings begin to deteriorate.
- Mold Disclosure – it is recommended to disclose the current mold status of a property in the lease to protect against future liability of mold damages due to a tenant’s negligence during the lease term.