What Alabama Law Says and Does Not Say About Rent Payments
One of the most common reasons for Alabama landlords to evict tenants is when the tenants do not pay their rent. If the tenant is more than a month late with their rent, the landlord can give them notice that, if they do not pay within 30 days, the landlord will move to evict them. On the other hand, Alabama law is less specific about other details of on-time payment. In fact, the law allows landlords to set their own policies about how they handle late payment of rent, with the hope that they will use eviction only as a last resort. No matter the details of the rental agreement you have concluded with your tenants, an Alabama eviction lawyer can help you when you have been unable to collect rent payments from your tenants and need to evict them.
How Late Fees Affect Eviction Laws in Alabama
Alabama law does not state one way or another whether it allows late fees. Because some landlords impose late fees, and because the courts become aware of these late fees when the landlords or tenants bring lawsuits related to rental agreements but do no require the landlords to remove the late fees, it follows that landlords are free to charge late fees. If you do charge late fees, though, you must specify this in your rental agreement. If your rental agreement does not specify the amount of the late fee, then the tenant has satisfied their financial obligation to you when they pay the amount of the rent, even if it is late.
When you present a notice of eviction for nonpayment of rent, you state that you will terminate the lease unless the tenant pays all past due rent and all late fees within seven days. That means that, if the tenant pays you the past due rent by the deadline but does not pay you the late fees, you can still move forward with the eviction.
How Grace Periods Affect Eviction Laws in Alabama
Likewise, Alabama law is silent about grace periods. In other words, unless you specify a grace period for late rent payments in your rental agreement, then there is none. If a tenant asks you for extra time to pay the rent before you send an eviction notice and threaten to terminate the lease, you have the right to refuse. You can always refer to the rental agreement that says that the rent must be paid on its original due date, or else it is late. If your rental agreement includes late fee clauses, you can also impose the late fees starting on the day after the original due date for rent payments.
Let Us Help You Today
Before you notify a tenant of your intention to evict, you should review your rental agreement with a lawyer and make sure that you truly have grounds to evict the tenant; otherwise, you could be in for a messy court battle. Contact the Alabama eviction attorneys at Cloud Willis & Ellis for a consultation about your eviction case.