The Alabama Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act does not allow a landlord to take retaliatory action against a tenant unless it is warranted and lawful.
Except as provided in this section, a landlord may not retaliate by discriminatorily increasing rent or decreasing services or by bringing or threatening to bring an action for possession because:
- The tenant has complained to a governmental agency charged with responsibility for enforcement of a building or housing code of a violation applicable to the premises materially affecting health and safety;
- The tenant has complained to the landlord of a violation found under an Alabama Landlord’s Responsibility to Maintain Premises; or
- The tenant has organized or become a member of a tenant’s union or similar organization.
Tenant Remedies for Landlord Retaliation
If a landlord acts in violation of the Landlord Retaliation subsection, the tenant is entitled to the remedies found under the section, Alabama Unlawful Removal of Tenant or Diminution of Services. The tenant would also have a defense in any retaliatory action against the tenant for possession.
Lawful Landlord Action
Notwithstanding the above subsections, a landlord may bring an action for possession if:
- The violation of the applicable building or housing code was caused primarily by lack of reasonable care by the tenant, a member of the tenant’s family, or other person on the premises with the tenant’s consent;
- The tenant is in default in rent;
- Compliance with the applicable building or housing code requires alteration, remodeling, or demolition which would effectively deprive the tenant of use of the dwelling unit; or
- Other material violations of the lease have occured.
Note: The maintenance of an action regarding the list above does not release the landlord from liability found under Alabama Landlord Noncompliance where a tenant may seek damages, attorney fees, and injunctive relief if the rental agreement is violated.
Section 35-9A-501 (Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1.)
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