What You Need To Know About Eviction in Alabama

Alabama law requires landlords to give a seven-day notice before filing an eviction lawsuit.
Written by Matthew Lynaugh
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
The civil codes ruling eviction in Alabama states that landlords must give their tenants seven days’ notice before terminating their lease and filing an eviction lawsuit. All evictions must legally pass through the courts and sheriff, so you must understand your rights and protect yourself.
Despite being ranked one of the most affordable places to live in the US, the economic turmoil and effects of COVID-19 have increased the risk of eviction for many
residents. With such an unstable economy and uncertainty in the world, every renter should understand their state’s eviction laws.
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Alabama eviction 101: the six ways you can be evicted

The landlord must give the tenant a seven-day notice before filing an eviction lawsuit. The eviction notice, also called an Unlawful Detainer, will be mailed by the courts or delivered by the sheriff and must be acted on according to the notice's instructions. 
Alabama has six different categories for eviction types based on cause:
  • Nonpayment of rent: The landlord must give a written Seven-Day Notice to Pay before proceeding with the eviction process.
  • Violation of lease/rental agreement: Requires a Seven-Day Notice to Comply for the tenant to resolve the violation(s).
  • False or misleading information on rental application: Tenants charged with applying with false information is given a Seven-Day Notice to Quit and must vacate the premises. 
  • Illegal activity: A written Seven-Day Notice to Quit can be issued to any tenant that has conducted illegal behavior. 
  • Material health or safety violation: Requires a Seven-Day Notice to Comply if the tenant violates any housing or health codes.
  • Non-renewal of lease: The landlord can immediately end the tenancy if there is no lease renewal and its term has ended.
Your landlord cannot evict you just because they don’t want you on their property anymore—they need a valid reason. They can, however, decide not to renew your lease, and your landlord’s exact requirements are based on the agreed terms of the lease:
  • If you're on a weekly lease agreement, your landlord must give you a seven-day' notice to move at the end of your tenancy. 
  • If you're on a monthly lease agreement, your landlord must give you 30 days' notice to move at the end of the month.
  • If you're on a fixed-term lease agreement, your landlord is not required to give any notice that you'll be leaving unless stated in the terms of the lease.
No matter the reasoning, if you cannot resolve your problem or violation, the landlord has the legal right to file an eviction. If the judge rules in favor of the landlord, the sheriff or a police officer will order the tenant to vacate through a Writ of Execution. If they do not obey the Writ, the tenant is forcibly removed.
Key Takeaway Under Alabama law, landlords must issue violating tenants a seven-day notice before legally filing an eviction lawsuit.

A timeline of eviction in Alabama

Now that you know you've given a seven-day notice before the landlord will file an eviction lawsuit, how long will the case take? Here's how long the specific eviction processes take in Alabama:
How long it typically takes
What to expect
Initial notice period
7-30 days
Your landlord begins the eviction process due to a valid cause.
Summons and Complaint
Approximately 6 days
The lawsuit is filed with the appropriate court, and the summons will be served at least six days before the return date of the process
Answer is filed
7-14 days
You’ll have seven business days to file an answer with the court explaining why you shouldn’t be evicted.
Court Hearing and Ruling
A few weeks
The court will hear the case and rule based on the landlord’s evidence and the tenant’s response.
Writ of Execution
The court grants possession of the property to the landlord and acts as your final notice to leave.
Return of Possession
7 days
The sheriff or constable will remove the tenant with force if they have not already removed themselves.
The eviction process can be lengthy, and it is up to the landlord to determine how speedy it will be. For example, there may be over a month before a sheriff forces you out. However, more diligent landlords can power through the process more quickly, so be prepared for that notice when it appears.

How to resist eviction in Alabama

Remember, the state of Alabama gives tenants rights, too. If your landlord is trying to have you evicted, here are some ways you can resist and fight back:
  • Resolve the cause of eviction: The smoothest way to fight an eviction and remain in your home is to resolve any issues you are currently in violation of. Finding a way to pay your rent or eliminating any health code infractions is your best bet to avoid any legal friction and have to move out. 
  • Identify a procedural mistake: Understanding your state's eviction law can give you a serious advantage if your landlord tries to evict you. Know what mistakes to look out for and appeal the eviction if your landlord fails to follow the correct procedure.
  • Argue that the landlord was the one in violation: If your landlord is trying to have you evicted due to failed maintenance, but you can prove you requested this maintenance and they ignored it, you may be able to overturn the eviction filing. 
  • Call out discrimination: The Fair Housing Act is a federal law created to give every American an equal opportunity to find housing without discriminatory factors standing in the way. If you feel you are being evicted due to your gender, sexual orientation, or race, you may be able to get your case thrown away.
The above defenses can be used to resist and appeal your landlord's eviction lawsuit or even sue them outright if they are applicable. Should you win the case, you could be awarded court fees, damages, and last but not least, avoid having to leave your home.

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