Tenant Obligations

As a tenant, you have obligations to your landlord that are part of the Alabama Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act. Even if they are not included in your lease agreement, they are part of the law.

You may not withhold rent even if there are problems with the premises (Section 35-9A-164). If you believe that something has occurred that should bring about a refund or discount, you must still pay rent and work on the resolution outside of your obligation to pay rent.

Your obligations include, but are not limited to, the following:

You must maintain the rental unit. (Section 35-9A-301)

  • Keep your rental unit in good condition, meaning clean and without hazard.
  • Dispose of all garbage and trash properly.
  • Do your part to maintain the plumbing systems.
  • Appropriately use appliances and systems including electrical, plumbing, heat/air conditioning, etc.
  • Do not intentionally or unintentionally cause damage to the property. This includes your guests.
  • Do not behave in a way that disturbs your neighbors. This includes your guests.

You must abide by your landlord’s rules and regulations. (Section 35-9A-302)

Follow all policies about the use of common spaces on the property (pool, gym, etc). This includes your guests.

The landlord can update or add new policies, but there is a process for how you must be notified of any changes that occur during the duration of your lease agreement.

Under certain conditions, you cannot deny the landlord access to the unit. (Section 35-9A-303)

  • You must, within reason, allow the landlord to enter the unit to inspect the premises, make repairs, perform services that are necessary or that you requested, and/or show the unit to prospective future renters if you have notified them that you are not renewing your lease.
  • The landlord can enter the unit without your consent
    • in case of emergency (could include to check on frozen pipes, etc.)
    • if there is a court order that must be followed
    • if the landlord thinks you may have abandoned the unit or moved out
    • if the landlord has given you 2 days’ notice
    • if there’s a schedule for when the landlord needs to enter to perform routine tasks (change air filters, etc)

If you request maintenance on your rental unit, the law says that this is your consent to enter the unit.

You must use the rental unit as a living space. (Section 35-9A-304)

This law says that your lease can stipulate that you must notify the landlord if you are going to be away from your rental unit for 14 days or more. It is always a good idea to notify your landlord in writing if you will be away from your house or apartment for more than two weeks, including over winter break or during the summer.