When a landlord wants to remove a tenant from their property they must evict the tenant. Evictions are generally time consuming and expensive for both the landlord and the tenant involved. In order to legally evict a tenant the landlord must strictly comply with all applicable eviction laws. This can be more challenging than it sounds as there are often multiple sources of eviction law that govern a particular landlord-tenant relationship. The Legal Information Institute notes that there are six basic sources of eviction law: local law, state law, federal law, the lease governing the tenancy, the common law, and court rules. As the eviction process can be complicated, and strictly complying with evictions laws helps ensure that the landlord is legally protected, it is a good idea to consult with an experienced evictions attorney before initiating the eviction process.
Common Legal Reasons to Evict a Tenant
When evicting a tenant, it is essential that the landlord has a legally valid reason to base the eviction on. While courts have historically upheld several different reasons as valid, Rent Prep put together a helpful list of the top five reasons that landlords use to lawfully evict tenants:
- Late Rent: The most common lawful reason for evicting a tenant is that they have failed to pay their rent on time.
- Non-Trivial Violations of the Lease: A landlord can legally evict a tenant after discovering that the tenant has violated some non-trivial provision of the lease. For example, if a rental agreement states that the tenant is not allowed to have pets on the premises then the tenant can be legally evicted if they live with their pet cat.
- Illegal Use of the Property: If a tenant uses the rental property for an illegal purpose then the landlord is within his or her rights to evict the tenant. For example, this may include using a rental unit to grow marijuana or opening up a business in a rental house that is not zoned for commercial use.
- No Longer Renting: Landlords who no longer wish to rent their property are often allowed to legally evict a tenant if the landlord decides to move into the home or wants to have an immediate family member move in.
- Rehabilitation, Demolition, or Sale of the Property: A landlord also has the right to evict a tenant if he or she wishes to substantially rehabilitate the rental unit, demolish the home, or sell the property.
Illegal Reasons for Evicting a Tenant in Alabama
In Alabama, it is illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant as a form of retaliation. For example, it is illegal to evict someone for reporting a housing code violation, joining a tenant organization, or suing the landlord for discriminatory renting practices. Be warned that in an Alabama court it is the landlord’s responsibility to prove that the eviction was not initiated as a retaliatory practice. Additionally, it is also illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant based on a term that was “added” to the rental agreement without the tenant agreeing to the term in writing.
Need Legal Advice?
If you are a landlord in Alabama and would like to evict a tenant, contact the experienced eviction attorneys at Cloud Willis & Ellis, LLC today. Our lawyers can help reduce your financial risk by ensuring that Alabama’s eviction laws are followed during every step of the eviction process.