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Alabama Rental Laws: When Tenants Break Their Lease

By Dez Duran-Lamanilao

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One of the biggest challenges landlords must deal with is finding new tenants, especially if they do not live within the vicinity of the property they are leasing. It grows even more complicated when tenants break their lease out of nowhere and they need to find replacement tenants in an inconvenient time of the year. Whether you are a landlord who is just starting in the industry or a seasoned veteran, this is a risk you must prepare for to avoid the unnecessary costs associated with a lease break.

Tenant and landlord rights and responsibilities differ from one state to another. In Alabama, there are exceptions that justify a tenant’s decision to break a lease:

  • Starting active military duty
  • Landlord harassment or if you violate your tenant’s privacy rights (Alabama Code 35-9A-303 requires landlords to give tenants two days’ notice to enter rental property.)

The burden of dealing with an early lease break does not stop at that. Alabama law requires all landlords to exhaust everything possible to re-rent the unit before charging the tenants for the total rent balance. The good news is that if all else fails, the tenant must pay the rent for the remainder of the lease term.

However, it is a different matter altogether if your tenant asked for important repairs to be done and you fail to make repairs. This is a sufficient ground for the tenant to break the lease.

Keeping these laws in mind, the best course of action is making sure that your lease agreement contains the necessary terms and conditions that you and your tenant have agreed on. Keeping everything in writing protects both parties in case either party breaks the agreement.

Most importantly, maintaining a good harmonious relationship with your tenants can go a long way especially if you would need their cooperation in the future. After all, no one wants to prolong the burden a lease break is expected to cause.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.

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