An Alabama sublease agreement is a legal contract that allows a tenant to rent out all or a portion of the property to a subtenant in exchange for regular payments.
Does a Tenant Need the Landlord’s Permission to Sublet in Alabama?
A tenant in Alabama does need to receive a landlord’s explicit written consent to sublet. Even after consent is given, a landlord still has the right to reject a subtenant if they are unqualified, such as for having a bankruptcy or low credit score.
Standardized Alabama Sublease Agreements
A standard form can be used in Alabama to create a sublease. There are specific state laws that must be followed for a sublease, which include all the state laws found under Alabama Code section 35 – 9, called the Landlord and Tenant Act, which apply to any lease.
Here’s what is generally included in an Alabama sublease agreement:
- The Names of the Parties – The original tenant under the lease is named in the sublease and is called the “Sublessor.” The third-party that is subleasing the rental unit is named in the sublease and is called the “Sublessee.”
- Rental Unit Location – The address for the rental unit as described in the original lease.
- Term – State the exact date of the sublease beginning and ending date.
- Rent – How much the rent is, when it needs to be paid, and how to pay it.
- Utilities – The utilities to be paid by the Sublessor and those that are to be paid by the Sublessee.
- Liability – The sublessee will be liable for any damages to the Sublessor. The Sublessor continues to have the ultimate responsibility to pay for any damages that impact the landlord as stated in the original lease agreement.
- Authorized Occupants – This identifies the new tenant(s) and those that are authorized to live in the rental unit including any policy about short-term guests.
- Security Deposit – This security deposit is held by the Sublessor (not the landlord). Alabama state law does require that the security deposit be limited to no more than one month’s rent. A pet deposit or other special deposit may be an additional amount.
- Return of Security Deposit – Alabama law requires the security deposit to be returned within 60 days after a tenant vacates a rental unit. The Sublessor has the right to sue the Sublessee for excessive damages and under state law may recover those actual costs plus reasonable attorney’s fees.
- Inventory of Included Items – The list of items in the rental unit that are part of the sublease (furniture or appliances).
- Lead-Based Paint Notice – Under Federal law, if the rental unit’s premises were built before 1978, the Sublessee must be given a written warning notice, called a Lead-Based Paint Disclosure.
- Master Lease Inclusion – A copy of the Master Lease is attached to the sublease. If any exceptions in the Master Lease are not included they should be clearly stated in this section.
- Disputes – A description of how disputes between the Sublessor and Sublessee are to be settled, which may include mediation and binding arbitration to avoid more expensive legal proceedings.
- General Conditions – A statement that the written sublease agreement contains all of the agreements between the parties and can only be modified by written consent of the parties to the agreement.
- Smoking Policy – Alabama law permits the designation of a property as a non-smoking area. If smoking is restricted in the rental unit, any designated smoking areas are identified in the sublease.
- Landlord’s Consent – This section describes how the landlord is asked to give consent (if consent is not already included in the Master Lease). Tenants may create a signed sublease that is conditional on being accepted by the landlord before the sublease becomes effective.
- Governing Law – Includes all the terms and conditions under the Alabama Code section 35 – 9, called the Landlord and Tenant Act. Note that Alabama law allows a lease or sublease to include these terms by reference only to the state law and they do not have to be explicitly stated in the agreement.
- Signature: The signature and date for the Sublessor, the Sublessee, any Co-Sublessors, and Co-Sublessees (if they exist).
Tax Implications of a Sublease
In Alabama, a sublessor may be subject to the Lodgings Tax if they sublet a property for any period of less than 180 continuous days.
The Lodgings Tax charges 5% to those in the following counties:
All other counties charge 4%.