Last Updated on October 21, 2023 by Kelvin Nielsen
Are you looking to evict a tenant for nonpayment of rent in Alabama? If so, here is everything you need to know about the process.
Alabama landlords have certain rights under Chapter 9A of Title 35 of the state laws. And among these is the right to evict a tenant for nonpayment of rent.
When evicting a tenant for nonpayment of rent in Alabama, it’s important that you follow the proper eviction process. You must not try to evict the tenant using any other method other than through a court order.
Illegal eviction methods include the following.
- Using “self-help” means. For instance, locking the tenant out, removing their belongings, or shutting down their utilities.
- Trying to evict the tenant based on a protected class, such as race, color, religion, sex, nationality, and familial status.
- As a retaliatory tactic after the tenant has exercised a legal right. Such as, joining or forming a tenants’ union to advocate for their rights and those of other tenants.
All these tactics are bound to fail. What’s more, you may also find yourself in legal hot soup should the tenant choose to sue you.
Here’s everything you need to know when it comes to evicting a tenant for nonpayment of rent in Alabama.
How to Evict a Tenant for Nonpayment of Rent in Alabama
The lease obligates tenants to certain things. And key among these is the payment of rent. Failure to do that can give you a just cause to evict the tenant from your rental property.
The following is the step-by-step process that you must follow when evicting a tenant for failure to pay rent in Alabama.
Serve the tenant an eviction notice.
The purpose of an eviction notice is to terminate the lease agreement. You must use the right notice for the eviction process to go on smoothly.
In Alabama, you must serve the tenant a 7-Day Notice to Quit if you wish to evict them for paying rent late. This will give the tenant the opportunity to pay the balance due or vacate the unit within 7 days.
Unless the lease says otherwise, rent becomes due at the start of every pay period. And it becomes late immediately after the due date.
If the tenant pays the balance within 7 days, then you must stop further eviction proceedings against them. However, if the tenant doesn’t, then you may choose to continue with the eviction process by escalating the issue with the courts.
You must deliver the notice to the tenant in a certain manner. The following are the options you have.
- Delivering a copy of the notice to the tenant in person.
- Handing a copy to a person of a suitable age AND mailing another copy to the tenant’s address via certified mail.
- Posting a copy on the front door or any other conspicuous place AND mailing another copy to the tenant via certified mail.
File an eviction lawsuit.
If the tenant refuses to pay the balance or move out within 7 days, you can move to court and file a complaint in the appropriate County Court. You can also file the lawsuit online.
After notarization, the county clerk will issue a copy of summons and complaint. These will need to be forwarded to the county sheriff or a process server for onward service to the tenant. On average, filing an eviction lawsuit in Alabama will cost one about $247. You may also need to pay an extra $10 for every summons that is issued to a tenant.
Next, once served, the tenant will have an opportunity to contest the eviction. They must do so within 7 days of being served with a copy of the summons and complaint.
If the tenant chooses to contest the eviction, the process will take longer. But to do so, the tenant must have a valid legal defense.
Attend the court hearing and await judgment.
If the tenant chooses not to answer the eviction complaint, you may file a default motion judgment. However, if they choose to, then they will need to pay the outstanding rent to the Court Clerk until the case is determined.
Regardless, if the ruling is in your favor, the court will issue you with a Writ of Execution. This will give the tenant a final 7 days to move out or risk being forcefully evicted from the property by the sheriff.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): How to Evict a Tenant for Nonpayment of Rent in Alabama
Q: How do I legally evict someone in Alabama?
A: You must first have a just cause. Examples of just causes in Alabama include nonpayment of rent, violation of the lease agreement, illegal activity, and end of the lease term. Next, if the tenant doesn’t cure the violation (for curable violations), you must move to court and obtain a summons and complaint. Then, a hearing will be held and a judgment made.
If the judgment is in your favor, you’ll be issued with a Writ of Execution, which is the final notice for the tenant to leave.
Q: How much does it cost to file an eviction in Alabama?
A: Filing a summons and complaint comes at a cost to the landlord. While the filing fee varies from county to county, expect to pay an average of $247. You may also need to pay an additional $10 for every tenant that needs to be served with a summons.
Q: What is an eviction notice in Alabama?
A: This is a written statement that a landlord serves the tenant when looking to terminate their lease. The notice contains important information, such as the reason for the eviction, what the tenant must do within the notice period, the amount of time the tenant has to vacate, and the consequences for not vacating the property within the notice period.
Q: How fast can you evict someone in Alabama?
A: Evicting a tenant in Alabama can take anywhere between a month to several months. However, it can take longer depending on the eviction reason and whether the tenant chooses to contest it.
Disclosure: The content herein isn’t a substitute for advice from a professional attorney. It’s only meant to serve educational purposes. If you have a specific question, kindly seek expert attorney services.
Sources: Alabama Code Title 35 Chapter 9A, https://www.lawdistrict.com/eviction-notice/alabama/, https://eforms.com/, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpH29mSY6YM.
Hi, I’m Kelvin Nielsen, an experienced landlord and accomplished real estate lawyer. My focus is on answering your questions about renting in the hopes of making your life as a renter or a landlord a bit easier.