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Alabama Tenant Absence, Nonuse, and Abandonment

Alabama laws allow a landlord a few remedies when a tenant is determined to be away from the rental property for a specified period of time.


If a rental agreement requires the tenant to give notice to the landlord of an anticipated extended absence in excess of 14 days pursuant to requirements under an Alabama Tenant’s Responsibility to Maintain Dwelling Unit and the tenant willfully fails to do so, the landlord may recover actual damages from the tenant.

Note: During any absence of a tenant in excess of 14 days, the landlord may enter the dwelling unit at times reasonably necessary.

Nonuse or Abandonment

If a tenant abandons the dwelling unit, the landlord shall make reasonable efforts to rent it at a fair rental. But such duty shall not take priority over the landlord’s right to first rent other vacant units. If the landlord rents the dwelling unit for a term beginning before the expiration of the rental agreement, it terminates as of the date of the new tenancy. If the tenancy is from month-to-month or week-to-week, the term of the rental agreement for this purpose is deemed to be a month or a week, as the case may be.

Personal Belongings

If a tenant leaves property in the unit more than 14 days after termination pursuant to this chapter, the landlord has no duty to store or protect the tenant’s property in the unit and may dispose of it without obligation.

No Electric Service

In addition to any other means by which a landlord determines that a property has been abandoned by the tenant, a property shall be considered abandoned if the electric service to the property has been terminated for seven consecutive days.

Recovery of Possession is Limited

A landlord may not recover or take possession of the dwelling unit by action or otherwise, including willful diminution of services to the tenant by interrupting or causing the interruption of heat, running water, hot water, electric, gas, or other essential service to the tenant, except in case of abandonment, surrender, or as otherwise permitted under the Alabama Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act.

Section 35-9A-423 (Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1; Act 2011-700, p. 2154, §1; Act 2014-279, p. 886, §1.)

Return to Alabama Landlord-Tenant Laws.