Tenant Rights Regarding Late Rent & Late Fees in Alabama


Your lease is a legal agreement between you and your landlord. If you fail to pay rent on time, you can be considered in default even if you pay before the late fees kick in. In Alabama, landlords must give tenants seven days to pay the rent plus any applicable late fees before they can evict them, and tenants may continue residing in the apartment if they pay the rent within this time frame.

Right to Remedy

As of May 2011, Alabama landlords cannot evict tenants if they remedy any breach of the lease within the time stated on their eviction notice. A tenant must receive a seven-day notice warning him to pay rent or vacate the apartment if he is late on his rent; thus, if he pays the rent within the seven-day period, the landlord cannot evict him from the apartment even if the renter is habitually late.

Attorney Fee Prohibition

Landlords in Alabama may not require tenants to pay attorney's fees as a condition of remaining in the apartment after defaulting on the rent. Thus, a landlord cannot refuse a tenant's late rent merely because the tenant has failed to pay the landlord's attorney fees related to attempting to collect the rent. If the landlord attempts to put a clause in the lease stating that the tenant is responsible for attorney's fees, he must pay the tenant one month's rent plus the tenant's attorney's fees.

Landlord's Responsibility

The landlord is responsible for keeping the apartment in a livable condition. She must make all needed repairs, including repairs to utility appliances such as heaters or air conditioners. If the landlord fails to make these repairs, the tenant has the right to withhold rent until the repairs are completed and, in some cases, may be able to move out without being liable for the remaining rent on the lease.

Required Notices

If a landlord wishes to evict a tenant for failure to pay rent on time, the landlord must give the tenant seven days' notice. If the tenant does not cure the breach within seven days or vacate the premises, the landlord may begin eviction proceedings. If a tenant plans to withhold rent because the landlord failed to make needed repairs, the tenant must give the landlord 14 days' notice. If the landlord fails to make the repairs within 14 days, the lease terminates and the landlord must return the tenant's security deposit and any prepaid rent.

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