As a tenant, you have obligations to your landlord as part of the Alabama Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act. Even if 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 occurred that should bring about a refund or discount, pay rent and work on the resolution outside of your obligation to pay rent.

Obligations include, but are not limited to:

Maintain the rental unit. (Section 35-9A-301)

  • Keep your rental unit in good condition (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.

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.

Landlord can update/add new policies, but there is a process for how they must notify you of any changes that occur during the duration of your lease agreement.

Under certain conditions, you must provide the landlord access to the unit. (Section 35-9A-303)

  • Law requires tenants, within reason, to allow landlords to enter the unit to inspect the premises, make repairs, perform necessary or requested services, and/or show the unit to prospective future renters if you notified them you do not plan to renew your lease.
  • The landlord can enter the unit without your consent
    • in case of emergency (including 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)

Requesting maintenance on your rental unit, by law, is consent to enter the unit.

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

Some leases require tenants to notify the landlord of planned absences from the rental unit of 14 days or more. Notify your landlord in writing, including over winter break or during the summer.