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By Laura Salvas
Updated on May 23, 2022
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff, Staff Editor.
Eviction laws in Alaska require landlords to give written notice before filing an eviction suit. Depending on the reason for eviction, there are set notice periods ranging from 24 hours to 30 days. A landlord cannot evict you directly, and an eviction must proceed through the courts.
Making rent can be tough for many Alaskans at the best of times, but with the COVID-19 pandemic compromising the economy with lost jobs and limited employment opportunities, the last couple of years have caused even model tenants to fear eviction.
That’s why Jerry, the insurance-comparing super app, has compiled all you need to know about eviction in Alaska. Whether you rent in Soldotna, Fairbanks, or beyond, here are the legal reasons for eviction, the timeline for the eviction process, how you can protect yourself - and even how to save some money on your car and renters insurance.
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Alaska eviction 101: the six ways you can be evicted
If a landlord wishes to evict you from your rental unit in Alaska must provide written notice informing you of the impending eviction. The amount of the notice allows – and whether or not you have an opportunity to correct the issue and stop the eviction process– depends on the reason for the eviction notice.
Here are the five cause-based scenarios for a tenant to be given a notice of eviction:
- Failure to pay rent: Requires a seven-day notice that allows the tenant to pay rent in full to avoid eviction.
- Failure to pay utilities: If the tenant fails to pay for utilities as required under the rental agreement and utilities are shut off, this requires five days’ written notice before eviction. If the tenant pays the overdue utility bill and restores services to the unit within three days of receiving the notice, and no damage was caused to the unit due to the utilities being shut off, the eviction will not proceed.
- Violation of rental terms: This could include too many people occupying the unit, keeping a pet despite a no-pet policy, creating a health and safety violation (causing damage to wiring, allowing garbage to accumulate, or creating an environment that invites rodents or insects). This requires a 10-day notice allowing tenants to correct the issue to avoid eviction.
- Illegal use of property: This includes using the property for a purpose other than a dwelling or activities such as prostitution, illegal drugs, illegal use of controlled substances or alcohol, illegal gambling, or significant damage to the unit. A landlord can also evict a tenant if these activities are only carried out by their guests or other occupants. This requires between 24 hours to five days’ written notice of eviction, with no opportunity for the tenant to correct the issue.
- Not allowing landlord access: If the tenant refuses to allow the landlord into the unit to inspect the unit, make a repair or carry out a necessary service, show the unit to a prospective renter, or remove their property from the unit, this requires a 10-day notice of eviction.
An eviction can sometimes be ordered with no cause or fault of the tenant—just due to the needs or desires of the landlord.
A landlord can evict you if they need to bring the property up to code or make improvements, if they want to use the property for personal purposes, if they don’t want to use the unit as a rental unit for at least six months, or if they are selling the property and the purchaser wishes to evict you due to these same reasons.
A landlord can also choose not to renew your lease. The amount of notice required from your landlord depends on the terms of your tenancy:
- If you pay rent on a week-to-week basis, the landlord must provide a 14-day notice.
- If you pay rent on a month-to-month basis, the landlord must give a 30-day notice.
Following the notice period, a Summons and Complaint is served to the tenant. A process server or peace officer should deliver this, not the landlord. It should arrive no less than two days before the eviction hearing.
Key Takeaway In Alaska, you must receive written notice in advance, a Summons and Complaint, and an eviction hearing before being evicted. A landlord is not legally allowed to evict you directly.
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A timeline of eviction in Alaska
Being served a notice is just the beginning of the eviction process in Alaska. If things move to a trial, here’s how long you can expect each step to take.
|Step||How long it typically takes||What to expect|
|Written notice from landlord||24 hours to 30 days||Your landlord must provide written notice outlining the reason(s) for eviction.|
|Complaint filed||1 day following term of Notice||Your landlord can file a lawsuit one day after the end of the Notice period if any conditions to pay or comply have not been met.|
|Summons and Complaint||At least two days before hearing||After your landlord files a lawsuit, you will receive a court summons requiring you to appear at an eviction hearing.|
|Tenant response||Within 20 days of Summons and Complaint||If monetary damages are being claimed, the tenant may file a response to the court.|
|Eviction Hearing||Within 15 days after the hearing request and at least two days after the summons is served||The judge will hear the landlord’s reason for the eviction and your response to the claims and make a ruling as to whether the eviction stands.|
|Judgment on Damages||Following eviction hearing||If the complaint has also requested damages, and the tenant responded within 20 days of the complaint being filed disagreeing with the claim, a damages trial may follow the eviction hearing. If the tenant did not file a response to the landlord’s claim for damages, the judge will make a default judgment and there will be no damages trial|
|Appeal||Within 30 days of judgment||Either the landlord or tenant can file an appeal on the judgment made by the court.|
|Writ of Execution||Hours or days||This court order informs the tenant they must move out or will be forcibly evicted.|
|Eviction||Days or weeks||The court will provide a timeline for evacuating the premises in the judgment should the eviction request stand.|
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Overall, the entire eviction process can take one or two months. In the case of illegal activity being carried out on the property, the process might move more quickly.
How to resist eviction in Alaska
There are many valid reasons for eviction, but landlords can take advantage of tenants, so it is important to know your rights. If your landlord is trying to kick you to the curb, there are several ways you can fight back.
- Fix the problem: Pay the rent that’s past due. Clean the unit thoroughly. Whatever the landlord’s Complaint is, making good on the issue may require the landlord to cancel the eviction notice.
- Find a violation of procedure: Knowing how evictions work is a great defense. If your landlord does not properly follow the eviction process, the whole case may be thrown out.
- Know the landlord’s responsibilities: Sometimes, landlords try to blame the damage on the tenant, but the tenant is not responsible for everything. Know what the landlord is legally responsible for fixing or maintaining and the timeframe for the issue to be addressed.
- Stand up to discrimination: If you feel your landlord is trying to evict you solely because of your ethnicity, race, disability, family or relationship situation, gender identity, or other factors, be aware that discrimination is illegal. In some areas, discriminating based on your source of income is also unlawful. If you can show this as a potential factor in your eviction, that may be a reason for dismissal.
When asked for your response to an eviction suit, cite any of the above infractions if they apply. Try to document everything with photos and copies of correspondence to use these as evidence for your case. It may save you from being evicted—and could even result in you being awarded damages.
How to save money on Alaska car and renters insurance
While the government initially put COVID eviction protections in place a couple of years ago, these eviction suspensions have mostly expired. But that doesn’t mean tenants have been able to get back on their feet just yet, and many are still hurting financially.
Saving money wherever possible is vital for many renters, so Jerry is proud to save users on average $800+ a year on car insurance. This super app compares policies from top insurers and shows you the best coverage options with the most significant savings–at no cost to you.
It takes just 45 seconds to answer a few questions and be matched with the insurance of your dreams. Jerry can also help save you money on renters insurance for some extra dollars in your pocket!
“Jerry had a super simple app that was easy to navigate. And their terrific customer service made everything even easier. Plus I saved $700 in a single year.” —Lucia M.
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