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Read further to learn more about the eviction process in Alaska and how many days’ notice are required in which situations.
What’s an Eviction Notice?
An eviction notice is a legal form of disclosure that lets a tenant know that they are in clear violation of their lease agreement, and either need to correct the issue or vacate the premises. If the tenant fails to take action after proper legal notice is given, the landlord may evict the tenant. When a landlord provides written legal notice to a tenant to correct a violation of the lease agreement, it is referred to as a “Notice to Quit.”
How To Legally Evict a Tenant In Alaska
In the state of Alaska, there are three primary reasons a tenant can be evicted from a property. For the eviction to be successful, the landlord must prove that the eviction criteria have been met and the tenant was notified of the reason for eviction and given a proper timeline to vacate. There is a specific process that must be followed in order to evict a tenant, and it is important that the landlord understands under what circumstances the tenant can be evicted and how to go about the process to legally evict the tenant.
The Criteria Of Eviction
As previously mentioned, there are three reasons, typically, that a tenant may be evicted from a landlord’s property. Often, in order to evict a tenant or tenants, the landlord must be able to observe a breach of the lease – whether this lease breach was carried out willingly or unknowingly, the tenant must then be notified of the breach of contract. Typically, the eviction notice will cite the reason for the eviction and must follow the legal guidelines set by Alaska for the eviction process under these criteria.
In order to successfully evict a tenant, however, it is important to note that the landlord must be able to prove that the tenant has received the notice to quit and was notified successfully. Furthermore, the landlord has to provide proof that the tenant has violated a portion of the lease in such a way that would call for eviction. On top of this, the landlord must provide the tenant with the correct amount of advance notice to vacate the property – if these criteria are not met, the tenant can fight the eviction in court.
Non-Payment of Rent
This is one of the most common reasons a tenant is provided an eviction notice, otherwise known as a notice to quit. With this type of eviction notice, the state of Alaska has ruled that the tenant must be given at least 7 days to catch up on payments before a formal eviction is required – however they may still be given the notice to quit. Often, this particular notice dictates that the tenant has 7 days to catch up on any past due rent payments or vacate the property. It will then advise that the legal eviction process will continue once 7 days have passed.
Non-Payment of Utilities or a Criminal Act
If the tenant fails to pay utilities as dictated on their lease agreement in a timely manner, or if the tenant has partaken in criminal activity on the property, the tenants can be delivered an eviction notice, or notice to quit. In this case, the tenant can be given as few as 5 days to vacate the property. In this particular instance, the landlord needs to provide proof that the tenant has either not paid an agreed upon utility or has committed a criminal act on the property that would justify an eviction notice. If the landlord is unable to provide this proof, they may not be able to successfully evict the tenant.
Other Lease Violations
Typically, any other lease violation may cause grounds for eviction – for instance, if the tenant was to have an animal on the property that was not listed on the lease, if the lease does not otherwise specify the repercussions for having an undocumented animal, the tenant may be evicted. Furthermore, if the tenant is in a non-smoking property and smokes, this may also be grounds for eviction. However, it is very important to note that any other lease violation, in the state of Alaska, must meet the same criteria as previously stated – the landlord must provide the tenant with the notice to quit, as well as be able to provide documentation proving that the tenant has violated the lease. Most importantly, the landlord must provide the tenant with 10 days to vacate the property.
Exceptions to Eviction Criteria
There are some cases in which the landlord is able to provide the tenant with a notice to quit that is in a lesser timeframe than initially indicated by the state of Alaska. Documentation will need to be provided under these circumstances, however, to prove that the tenant was in violation of the lease and met one of the criteria for the exceptions listed below.
Repetitive Violations Within Six Months
Within a six month period, if the tenant violates the lease the same way and was previously provided with a notice to quit, the landlord is allowed to provide the tenant with 5 days to vacate the property. However, the landlord must be able to provide documentation that proves that the tenant was given a previous notice to quit for the same lease violation dated within the last 6 months.
Excessive Property Damage
If it is discovered that property damage that exceeds $400 has taken place in a rental unit, the landlord can provide the tenant with a 24-hour notice to quit. However, the landlord is responsible for ensuring that the proper documentation is provided to the tenants and the damage is well documented.
The Court Order and Judgment Process
Should the tenant choose not to vacate the unit within the given timeframe, the landlord can file a summons and complaint with the court. Once this has been filed, the eviction court hearing may take place in as little as two days, however, in the state of Alaska the hearing must take place within 15 days of the filing. Once the summons has been filed and a court date notated, an officer of the peace will provide the tenant with the notice to appear in court. Should the tenant decide to appear in court and ask for a continuance, in which they request more time for judgment based on damages or other defensive measures, they may be required to provide a rent deposit in court for any remaining time on the property.
Should the tenant fail to appear, the court serves a default judgment against them. Once this takes place, an officer of the peace will provide the tenant with a maximum amount of time they have to vacate the property. If they have not vacated in this timeframe, they may be forcibly removed and any remaining possessions may remain on the property or be stored for up to 15 days.
Curable vs. Non-Curable Notices
Throughout the eviction process, there are some instances in which the tenant may be advised that unless they cease an activity, they will be required to vacate the property. For instance, in the instance of non-payment of rent, the eviction is considered curable – the tenant is given a timeframe in which they may be allowed to pay for the past due rent or vacate the unit. Often, it is up to the landlord whether the eviction will be curable or non-curable, but this information should be provided to the tenant in the notice to quit.
Writing a Notice to Quit in Alaska
In order to ensure that the tenant is provided with the proper information, the landlord should provide the tenant with a well-written notice to quit. There are several sections of information that should be included to ensure that the tenant is given a clear understanding of why they are being provided the notice, as well as what actions will be taken moving forward.
To begin with, the tenant should be provided with the unit information – the address of the property, as well as who the primary leaseholder is. Moreover, the landlord needs to provide the reason the tenant is being given the notice to quit. Specifically, they should include the lease violation, along with a description of the specific issue that has caused them to be given the notice to quit.
Then, include the expectations of the notice to quit – whether they are being provided with a curable notice or a non-curable notice, as well as the timeframe they are being given to vacate or make reparations. The document should also be signed by the property manager, and it is important that the landlord makes a copy of this document in case they need it should the eviction process move forward.
Many landlords advise that they provide contact information as well so that the tenant may have an ability to contact the landlord to attempt to ask questions or make any necessary reparations in a timely manner. Other information that should be included on the document is the date of delivery and delivery method – this may be important during eviction court proceedings, should they be necessary.
Proper notice to quit, typically speaking, will cover all the necessary information to prove that the landlord has provided the tenant with all necessary information and expectations for vacating the unit or making reparations within the dictated timeframe. In some cases, information that may not seem necessary may be beneficial during eviction proceedings.