Now that the nationwide eviction moratorium enacted by the Centers For Disease Control is coming to an end, evictions are expected to increase. If you need to evict a tenant, it is critical that you follow the proper steps. If you fail to do so, your eviction will likely fail, causing more lost rental income and wasted court fees. In some cases, neglecting the proper procedures can result in statutory damages being assessed against the landlord.
In this article, we will explore the rules and procedures that govern Alabama evictions.
Notice For Termination
In the first step of the eviction process, the landlord must provide written notice of default and opportunity to cure that default.. According to Alabama law, the landlord can only terminate the lease if there is a legal cause, such as failure to pay rent, violating the lease terms, or engaging in illegal activity while on the property.
If there is a legal cause, the landlord has to provide a seven-day notice. Depending on the reason for the lease termination, the landlord might provide a lease termination that covers:
Seven-day notice for nonpayment of rent – This notice informs the tenant that they must pay all back rent and late fees within seven days if they don’t, or the lease will be terminated. If the tenant fails to pay as demanded or vacate the property, the landlord will then file an eviction lawsuit called an Unlawful Detainer action. If the tenant does pay the rent, the landlord cannot proceed with the eviction.
Seven-day notice to remedy or fix the violation – If the tenant violated the lease or rental agreement, the landlord could give them a seven-day notice to remedy the issue or move out. If the tenant fails to fix the problem, the landlord can terminate the lease and file an eviction lawsuit.
Seven-day quit notice – In cases where the violation is severe, the landlord is not required to give the tenant a grace period to remedy the issue. In this case, the seven-day notice lets the tenant know that they have seven days to leave the property, or they will file for eviction. This type of notice is typically given in situations where the tenant:
- Assaulted someone or another tenant on the property
- The tenant provided false or misleading information on their rental application or agreement
- Dangerously discharged a firearm on the property
If the landlord doesn’t have a legal cause, they cannot evict the tenant. Instead, they’ll have to wait until the lease expires before expecting the tenant to move out. Once the lease ends, the landlord has to provide a written notice informing the tenant that they do not wish to renew the lease and have to move out of the property.
The lease termination notice is based on the tenancy agreement. So if the tenant paid rent on a month-to-month basis, the landlord has to provide a 30-day notice.
Can You Fight An Eviction?
A tenant has the right to fight an eviction lawsuit even if the landlord has a valid legal ground for moving forward with it. In some cases, the tenant may also have a valid legal defense, such as if the landlord has shown discriminatory behavior or believes that the eviction was an act of retaliation. If the tenant decides to fight against action, additional costs may be tacked onto the lawsuit to cover court and legal fees. However, they’ll have more time to live in the rental unit.
Can Your Landlord Remove You From The Property?
The only way a landlord can legally remove you from their property is if they win the eviction lawsuit. Even then, a law enforcement officer will be sent to enforce this legal order. Therefore, it’s against the law for a landlord to force the tenant out of the property or to remove their belongings.
Get Help Now For Your Eviction Case
This article highlights some common eviction concerns but is not exhaustive. Evictions require attention to detail. When a landlord fails to follow the regulations and procedures required by Alabama law, the eviction is not valid. These laws are put in place to protect both the tenant, the property owner and to ensure that the eviction process is fair. The purpose of such procedures is to make sure the tenant has enough time to make other living arrangements.
If you need help with an eviction, it’s important to seek legal representation as soon as possible. Here at Brackin & Johnson, we have decades of experience in handling eviction cases. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and let us fight for you.