Every state in the US has a set of laws that govern the relation between a landlord and his tenant. These laws are put in place to ensure that both the landlord and the tenant do not get cheated by the other party. The Alabama state laws for property rentals were revised in 2007 and there are several policy changes that many landlords in the state do not seem to be aware of.
Make sure that you are well informed of your rights and duties as a landlord so that you can enjoy the supplemental income that you get from your tenant without having to worry about any legal complications.
1. You should find out about the existing building and safety codes for your city. Many cities have specific requirements for residential building safety, and as a landlord it will be your responsibility to ensure that your property meets them.
2. For properties that have multiple sub properties for rent, it is your duty as a landlord to keep the common areas clean. Halls, stairways, roof, and the entrance constitutes some of the common areas that you must ensure, are hygienic and in good condition.
3. Before you lease the property to a tenant, you must ensure that facilities like plumbing, heating, and ventilation are in working order. At the time that you draw up the lease, you must mention in the agreement who is responsible for taking care of the utilities for the duration of the lease. In case the tenant needs to pay for the utility on their own, you are not allowed to charge them for it in the rent.
4. Hygiene is one of the topics that were covered in the revision of landlord tenant laws of Alabama. The landlord is required to ensure the presence of a garbage receptacle where household trash can be thrown.
5. It is the obligation of the landlord to ensure that the rental property has running water, as well as facility to ensure hot running water.
6. Landlords are allowed to collect a security deposit from their tenants as long as it does not exceed the rent of one month and is refundable. In case the landlord is providing additional services or furnishing along with the property, this security deposit can be increased.
7. Once the tenant vacates the premises, the landlord is required to refund the security deposit within 35 days from the date of vacation, or alternatively, provide a detailed account of where the security money was deducted. Failure to do so will result in a penalty, and the tenant will receive double the amount of the security money they deposited.
8. No terms can be included in the lease which force the tenant to waive his basic rights. The landlord can also not demand extra money to cover the costs of rent collection or any kind of attorney fee. These actions carry a monetary penalty going as high as one month rent plus appropriate attorney fee.