Students should be aware and informed of their rights as tenants so that they can most effectively advocate for themselves in any circumstance.

Protect Against Discrimination

The federal Fair Housing Act is part of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 and protects tenants and potential tenants from discrimination based on a protected class — race, color, religion, sex, familial status, or national origin.

Tenant Rights and Landlord Obligations

The Alabama Landlord Tenant Act has provisions for many aspects of your relationship with your landlord that must be adhered to, no matter what is written in the lease agreement. The law governs things like security deposits, evictions, liability, and maintenance of premises (more overarching than daily or routine maintenance). This law refers to the landlord’s obligations, more than the tenant’s rights.

Under Alabama’s Landlord Tenant Act, landlord obligations include, but are not limited to:

  • comply with all applicable building and housing codes
  • maintain the rental unit in habitable condition
  • maintain appliances and systems including electrical, plumbing, heat/air conditioning, etc.
  • supply running water, reasonable amounts of hot water, and heat (you may still need to establish service through utility companies)

The law also distinguishes between the rental of a single family residence and other kinds of rental units. The lease agreement may stipulate that the tenant is responsible for certain kinds of maintenance or repairs.

Civil Law Clinic

To seek legal advice about your lease, landlord, or tenant rights, reach out to UA’s Civil Law Clinic at 205-348-4960. They assist students in understanding tenant’s rights, reviewing lease agreements prior to signing, and/or seeking resolution with landlords.