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Alabama Landlord, Tenant Rights Defined

Alabama Landlord, Tenant Rights Defined

East Alabama
By Brock Parker, Reporter, brockparker@wtvm.com

There will be more protection for tenants and landlords in Alabama beginning January 1, 2007. A new state law takes effect that tightens up the rules for renters. The new landlord-tenant law is meant to curb practices by so-called "slum lords." It was passed in March, and it's the first time in Alabama the rights of both parties have been clearly defined.

It could also put an end to substandard rental properties.

"Overall, it's a good law that's going to help with tenants and landlords. But there's so much in changes that everybody's kind of in an uproar right now to understand the law," said Danny Phipps, owner of Liberty Properties in Auburn.

The new law states landlords should make sure rental property has working heat, air, electricity and water. Tenants also have the right to break a lease with 14 days written notice if a landlord does not correct a major health and safety problem. That excludes damages caused by the tenant and other factors.

"There are clauses that if things are on backorder, or it's being worked on as far as a heating and air system being installed, they can extend that," Phipps said.

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"We were having to give 10 days notice, but now we're only having to give seven. Tenants also had 14 days to appeal the eviction, but now they only have seven. That's going to help us get people out that don't pay rent on time," said Kathy Fabiani, president of Plains Apartment Association.

Security deposits are also limited to the amount of one month's rent, but some landlords don't charge that much.

"Probably 90 percent of our tenants are very good, and they completely go through their units at the end and know to clean," Phipps said.

One of the biggest problems landlords face is refunding the security deposits. They previously had 45 days to return them, but now only have 35. For college towns, like Auburn, with a high turnover rate, it makes it harder to get those refunds out on time.

The LPA would like to thank Brock Parker for such an informative article.


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