Alabama Rent Control Laws in 2024

Alabama is one of many states without statewide rent control laws, which gives landlords broad powers to raise rents without limits. However, tenants aren't completely without rights and protections. Understanding the lack of rent control in Alabama and the specific rights both landlords and tenants have is key for navigating rental housing in this state. 

This article provides an overview of Alabama's rental housing laws (or lack thereof). We'll cover the landlord's ability to raise rent, required responsibilities for landlords and rights given to tenants, lease agreements, rent increases, evictions, protections against discrimination, resources for low-income tenants, and organizations that can help tenants understand and exercise their rights. While Alabama may not have strong statewide tenant protections, knowing the laws can empower renters when dealing with landlords.

No Statewide Rent Control

Unlike some other states, Alabama does not have any statewide laws limiting how much a landlord can raise the rent. This means that in most cases, landlords have the ability to raise rents without any cap or limit, as long as they provide proper notice according to the terms of the lease (usually 30 days). 

The lack of rent control legislation in Alabama gives landlords a lot of leeway to increase rents to market rates. As long as proper procedures are followed, there is no law prohibiting large rent hikes of 50%, 100% or more. Tenants have little recourse and limited protections in such scenarios.

However, some individual cities in Alabama do have limited forms of rent control in place for certain low income or affordable housing units. For example, the city of Birmingham has previously enacted rent control for some public housing developments aimed at low to moderate income residents. But these localized rent control ordinances are fairly limited in scope.

So while affordable housing advocates continue to call for more tenant protections, Alabama remains a very landlord-friendly state with minimal rent control laws on the books. Unless that changes at the state legislature, landlords will continue to have broad abilities to raise rents without restraint across most of Alabama.

Landlord Responsibilities in Alabama

Alabama landlords are required to adhere to certain standards and responsibilities when renting out property. This includes:

Providing a Habitable Dwelling

Landlords must provide tenants with a unit that is deemed habitable and fit for living under state laws. This means the property must have working plumbing and electrical systems, windows that open and close properly, functioning climate control systems, and meet other basic standards of habitability. The dwelling should be clean and sanitary at the start of the lease term.

Making Necessary Repairs in a Timely Manner  

If issues arise during the lease term that affect habitability or damage the property, landlords are required to make repairs promptly. This includes situations like a broken heater in winter or a leaky roof. Failure to make necessary repairs could put the landlord in violation of state laws.

Providing Essential Services

Landlords must ensure that essential services like electricity, running hot and cold water, and heating (if provided) are available on the property. Deliberate shutting off of utilities by the landlord as a means to force a tenant out is illegal. If utilities that are normally provided are interrupted, the landlord needs to act quickly to restore them.

Tenant Rights in Alabama

Tenants in Alabama have several important rights that landlords must respect:

Right to a Habitable Dwelling

Landlords in Alabama are required to provide tenants with a dwelling that is fit for habitation and complies with applicable building and housing codes. This means the property must have working plumbing and electrical systems, be structurally sound, and be reasonably free of rodents or insect infestations. If a rental unit is found to be uninhabitable, tenants have the right to request repairs from the landlord in writing.

Right to Essential Services  

Landlords must provide essential services to the rental unit like hot water, heat during cold weather, electricity, and gas (if used for heating or cooking). If any of these essential services are interrupted for more than 48 hours, tenants have the right under Alabama law to notify the landlord in writing and request they restore the services. If the landlord fails to act promptly, tenants may be able to terminate the lease or take other actions.

Right to Privacy and Notice Before Entry

Tenants in Alabama have a reasonable right to privacy within their rental unit. The landlord or their agents cannot enter the property whenever they want unless there is an emergency. Instead, they must provide reasonable advance notice to tenants before entering, typically at least 2 days. The notice must state the reason for entry and set a reasonable window of time. Alabama law prohibits landlords from repeatedly demanding entry or harassing tenants with frequent requests.

Lease Agreements in Alabama

Lease agreements establish the rental terms between a landlord and tenant. In Alabama, landlords and tenants have flexibility in arranging lease terms.

Most lease agreements in Alabama are for 1 year, however leases can be for longer or shorter periods. Month-to-month leases are also common. Alabama law allows verbal lease agreements, but written leases provide greater legal protection for both parties.

The lease should specify the monthly rent amount, due date, and any fees for late or missed payments. Alabama does not limit security deposit amounts, so the lease should clearly state the deposit, when it is due, and conditions for returning it when the tenancy ends. The lease should detail when the landlord can enter the unit and under what circumstances.

Standard lease clauses in Alabama include:

  • Length of the lease  
  • Monthly rent amount
  • When rent is due  
  • Security deposit amount and terms
  • Utility responsibilities 
  • Maintenance and repair responsibilities
  • House rules and restrictions
  • Notice period for lease termination
  • Penalties for late payments or lease violations

Carefully reviewing the full lease allows tenants to understand all the rental terms and costs before signing. Tenants should keep a copy of the signed lease for future reference.

Rent Increases

Alabama does not have any statewide laws regulating how much a landlord can raise the rent. Landlords have full discretion to raise rents by any amount, as long as they provide proper notice according to the original lease terms. 

Typically, leases in Alabama require 30-60 days notice prior to the end of the current lease term for any rent increases. The landlord must provide this same notice period if raising the rent at the end of an existing lease term.

If the tenant has a lease for a set period, such as 1 year, the landlord cannot increase the rent during the existing lease term unless specifically allowed in the original lease agreement. The rent can only be raised at the end of the term, with proper notice.

Landlords are permitted to charge late fees, returned check fees, and other charges if they are included in the original lease agreement. Tenants should carefully review the full lease to be aware of any potential fees when signing.

There are no legal protections limiting the amount or frequency of rent increases in Alabama, besides the notice requirements. Landlords can continue raising rents as much as the market will bear. The only recourse tenants have is trying to negotiate with the landlord or moving out.

Evictions in Alabama

  • In Alabama, a landlord must provide the tenant written notice to vacate the property. The required notice period will be the same as specified in the original lease agreement, usually 7-30 days.  
  • If the tenant does not vacate the property after receiving proper notice, the landlord can file a complaint for unlawful detainer with the local court. This starts the legal eviction process.
  • The court will schedule a hearing, where both the landlord and tenant can present evidence and make their case. If the judge rules in favor of the landlord, they will issue an order giving the tenant a set number of days to vacate (usually 7-10 days). 
  • If the tenant still refuses to leave after the court-ordered deadline, the sheriff can forcibly remove them from the property. The landlord cannot take matters into their own hands and lock out or forcibly evict a tenant.
  • A tenant who loses an eviction case can appeal the judge's ruling to a higher court. However, they will likely need to put up a bond for the rent determined to be owed in order to delay physically vacating pending the appeal.


Alabama has fair housing laws at both the state and federal level that protect renters from discrimination. The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability when renting, buying, or securing financing for any housing.

Alabama's fair housing law provides similar protections against discrimination and also prohibits discrimination based on age. Under Alabama law, it is illegal for landlords, property owners, real estate agents, and other housing providers to deny housing or treat anyone differently based on protected characteristics.

Some examples of illegal discrimination include:

  • Refusing to rent to someone because they have children
  • Charging higher rents or deposits for tenants who are disabled
  • Steering prospective tenants towards or away from certain units or neighborhoods based on race
  • Evicting or harassing a tenant because of their religion
  • Denying reasonable accommodations for tenants with disabilities  

Alabama tenants who feel they have experienced housing discrimination should file a complaint with either the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) or the Alabama Fair Housing Law Enforcement Agency within one year of the incident. These agencies can investigate, facilitate conciliation, and even help take legal action when necessary.

Low Income Protections

While Alabama does not have statewide rent control laws, there are some protections in place for low-income tenants. 

Subsidized Housing

The Alabama Housing Finance Authority (AHFA) provides affordable rental housing opportunities through the Housing Credit program and other initiatives. These properties offer reduced rents to tenants who meet certain income eligibility guidelines. AHFA has helped finance thousands of affordable housing units across the state.

To qualify for subsidized housing, your total household income must not exceed a set percentage of the area median income, adjusted for family size. The property management company can advise if units are currently available and provide details on how to apply. 

AHFA also administers the Housing Choice Voucher program in some areas of the state. This program helps pay a portion of the rent each month so individuals and families can afford safe housing.

Rent Assistance Programs 

Several nonprofit organizations in Alabama offer rent assistance programs and emergency funds to prevent eviction. These programs provide short-term financial aid for rental and utility payments. Eligibility is based on income, employment status, and the reason for the financial hardship.

For example, the Community Action Partnership of North Alabama has a rent assistance program that provides up to 6 months of aid. Applicants must live in Madison, Morgan Limestone, or Lawrence counties. Other organizations around the state offer similar emergency rental assistance programs.

Reaching out to local churches, charities, and social service agencies is the best way to find out about any rent help programs available in your area. The United Way may also be able to refer you to organizations providing rent assistance.

Tenant Resources

Alabama tenants have a few options when seeking assistance with housing issues:

Legal aid organizations like [Legal Services Alabama]( provide free legal help to qualifying low-income tenants dealing with evictions, unsafe housing conditions, illegal fees, discrimination, and other issues. They can help tenants understand their rights and responsibilities under Alabama law.

Fair Housing Organizations 

Fair housing groups like the [Birmingham Fair Housing Center]( offer support for tenants facing discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, or familial status. They can help tenants file complaints and navigate the investigative process.

Tenant Unions

Some cities have tenant unions or renters' associations that provide advocacy and support for tenants' rights. For example, the [Birmingham Tenant Union]( organizes tenants around grievances and campaigns for more tenant protections. Unions leverage collective power to push for change.

Connecting with a legal aid office, fair housing group, or tenant union can help provide tenants with information, resources, and support when dealing with landlord-tenant issues in Alabama. These organizations exist to help protect tenants' rights.

Key Takeaways

  • Alabama does not impose statewide rent control laws, which means landlords in Alabama can increase rents without any legal cap, provided they follow the lease's proper notice requirements.
  • While Alabama generally lacks rent control, certain cities may have localized rent control measures for specific low-income or affordable housing units, though these are limited in scope and application.
  • Alabama landlords must ensure rental properties are habitable, make timely repairs as needed, and provide essential services such as electricity, hot water, and heating. This ensures tenants live in safe and sanitary conditions.
  • Tenants in Alabama have rights including living in a habitable dwelling, receiving essential services, and having privacy with reasonable notice before landlord entry. These rights are protected under state law to ensure fair treatment of tenants.
  • Lease agreements in Alabama can vary in terms, but landlords typically need to provide 30-60 days' notice for rent increases, and cannot raise the rent during the fixed term of a lease unless the lease explicitly allows for it.
  • Alabama requires landlords to provide written notice for evictions according to the lease agreement, usually between 7-30 days. The eviction process includes a court hearing, and if ruled in favor of the landlord, a court order will specify a deadline for the tenant to vacate.
  • Alabama upholds fair housing laws preventing discrimination and offers protections for low-income tenants through subsidized housing, rent assistance programs, and resources like legal aid organizations and tenant unions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the maximum rent increase allowed in Alabama?

There is no state law in Alabama that caps the amount a landlord can increase the rent, allowing landlords to set and increase rents freely as long as they provide proper notice as stipulated in the lease agreement.

What a landlord Cannot do in Alabama?

In Alabama, landlords cannot refuse to make necessary repairs to maintain the property's habitability, illegally evict tenants without following proper legal procedures, or discriminate against tenants based on protected characteristics under federal and state fair housing laws.

Is Alabama a tenant friendly state?

Alabama is generally considered a landlord-friendly state due to the lack of statewide rent control, minimal restrictions on rent increases, and eviction processes that favor landlords.

Does Alabama have rent control?

No, Alabama does not have statewide rent control laws, and cities within the state are not permitted to enact their own rent control ordinances, giving landlords considerable flexibility in setting and raising rent.

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