Alabama Residential Lease Agreement Form
Good year-round weather makes Alabama an attractive place to live. Individuals interested in renting a house or apartment in the Heart of Dixie will need an Alabama Residential Lease Agreement Form.
Also known as form 401, a lease agreement form is a binding contract between the landlord and tenant. It details the terms and conditions governing a property’s use in exchange for rent payments over a period of time. Standard forms have a one-year maximum duration; however, the specified duration can also be longer.
Before a tenant can proceed with the rental lease agreement form, they should pass a background check by the landlord. The first step to renting a residential property in Alabama is to submit an Alabama rental application. It comes with a non-refundable application fee.
The prospective tenant will fill out a template that will allow and aid the landlord in reviewing a potential tenant’s history. While doing a background check, the landlord will usually verify the tenant's identity, check their credit, and see if the applicant has a criminal and eviction history. This check is typically performed to evaluate a tenant’s capacity to pay rent.
If the landlord accepts a rental application, the tenant and landlord can move on to the residential lease agreement.
All lessees of Alabama properties are entitled to the following disclosures from their landlords:
Landlord’s Disclosure - The landlord or authorized person should disclose the current name of the property owner or the person authorized to act on behalf of the owner. Details will include the name and business address of the owner or authorized person. (AL Code § 35-9A-202 (2021))
Lead-Based Paint Disclosure - The United States federal law stipulates that landlords of buildings built earlier than 1978 should disclose risks posed by lead-based paints. A printable lead-paint disclosure form should be attached to the lease agreement. The landlord should also provide the tenant with a pamphlet detailing lead-based paint hazards. (42 USC Ch. 63A)
Rent Grace Period
The rent agreement should indicate the rent amount and the monthly due date. While there are no laws governing the late payment of rent in Alabama, landlords can include provisions regarding late fees on the form. If such provisions aren’t detailed in the lease, the landlord cannot charge a late fee.
There are also no limits on how much rent a landlord can impose in Alabama.
Should a landlord wish to initiate eviction procedures, they must give tenants at least seven days to either pay the rent or move out.
Landlords can charge security deposits equivalent to one month’s rent in Alabama; however, they are not mandatory. The purpose of the security deposit is to financially protect landlords in case tenants incur property damage during their lease. It can also be used if the tenant misses rent.
Landlords may also charge an additional security deposit for pets.
The landlord must return the security deposit, or part of it, to the tenant 35 days after the tenant has moved out. The tenant must then cash the check for their security deposit within 180 days of receiving it, or it will be forfeited.
What can be deducted from security deposits? The landlord can use the money to fix damage to the property beyond regular wear and tear.
Under Alabama law, it is not required that security deposits be placed in a separate bank account. Landlords are also not mandated to provide a written acknowledgment of the security deposit. (AL Code § 35-9A-201 (2021))