It’s commonplace in Alabama for property owners to collect a standard one-month security deposit from renters in order to protect themselves against damages and delinquent rent. Unlike other states, Alabama’s legislation around security deposit collection is fairly straightforward. Here’s a brief summary of Alabama legislation around security deposit regulations for rental properties.
Is there a limit on how much the property manager/owner can charge for an application fee? If so, what is that amount?
There is no limit on the application fee amount in the state of Alabama. Application fees are separate from security deposits and are non-refundable unless otherwise noted.
What is the security deposit amount the landlord can collect?
As an Alabama property owner, you can request a security deposit of up to one month’s rent to protect your property in the event of damages or unpaid rent.
Can the property manager/owner collect a fee for pets?
A pet deposit separate from the apartment security deposit is allowed in the state of Alabama. Service pets are an exemption, and disabled persons with service pets do not have to pay an additional security deposit. However, if a service dog causes damages, the resident is still liable for expenses incurred.
How does the security deposit need to be held?
According to Alabama state law, the deposit can be managed in the bank account of the property owners choosing, and a separate or escrow account does not need to be set up.
Is the property manager/owner required to tell the resident where the deposit is held?
Property managers in Alabama are not required to tell residents where the deposit is held.
Is the property manager/owner required to tell the resident what the interest rate on the account is (if applicable)?
Property owners in Alabama are not required to tell residents what the interest on their security deposit it.
What can the property manager/owner deduct from the security deposit?
Property managers operating in Alabama may keep a portion of the security deposit to cover unpaid rent or damages that exceed normal wear and tear. An itemized list of damages and repair costs must be provided to the vacating residents.
How long does the property manager/owner have to return the security deposit after the lease has ended?
In the state of Alabama, the security deposit, or its remainder (after additional costs have been incurred, if applicable) must be returned to the renter within 60 days after vacating the property alongside an itemized list of deductions, if applicable. The deposit must be sent to the last known address or the resident at the address of the rental property.
What penalties does the property manager/owner face if they do not return the security deposit on time?
Property owners in Alabama that do not provide itemized descriptions of the damages and repair costs to residents within 60 days may be fined up to double the amount of the security charges.
What is the process for the property manager/owner to claim the security deposit funds?
In the state of Alabama, an itemized receipt must be sent to the vacating resident with the refund detailing the exact reasons for which the property owner has withheld all or part of the security deposit.
Is the resident allowed to apply their security deposit towards the last month’s rent?
According to Alabama law, renters cannot choose to use the security deposit for their last months’ rent, unless the property manager/owner agrees to it in writing.
To summarize, Alabama law concerning security deposit regulations for rental properties is quite standard and clear. Properties should be sure to keep full and accurate records of all damages incurred in order to provide renters with an itemized list of deductions, if applicable, at the end of the lease.
Disclaimer & Sources:
Qira aims to keep this information as up-to-date as possible. The content provided here is for informational purposes and should not replace legal counsel. Please refer to the relevant government sources to check for any changes or updates to the law.