Alabama has one of the most comprehensive and specific sections of landlord tenant law addressing landlord access to the rental and what remedies the tenant has for abuse of access. The landlord’s right to access can be found in Ala. Code 1975, § 35-9A-303. The general rule is that the tenant may not unreasonably withhold consent for the landlord to enter the premises for purposes of inspecting the premises, making necessary or agreed repairs, decorations, alterations, or improvements, supplying necessary or agreed services, or showing the unit to interested parties.
There are some cases where the landlord can enter the premises without consent, and they include:
- In cases of emergency.
- Pursuant to a court order.
- In cases of abandonment.
- To correct tenant’s failure to remedy any noncompliance with tenant’s maintenance obligations (after proper written notice is delivered to tenant).
- At reasonable times and with prior notice to show the premises to a prospective tenant or purchaser. In order to do this the landlord must have a general notice signed by the tenant which allows the landlord to show the premises within four months of the expiration of the rental agreement term, and showings can only occur in the company of a prospective tenant or purchaser.
Of course, the landlord can not abuse the right to access the unit as a way to harass the tenant. To help control for that certain notice periods are required before the landlord can gain access to a unit for cases other than those mentioned above that require no notice period.
Showings - Landlord can show the premises at any reasonable time after giving tenant at least two days’ notice, and entry can be made only at reasonable times. Posting a note on the primary entry door to the premises stating the intended time and purpose of the entry is a permitted method of notice.
Repairs, maintenance, pest control, other services - No specific timeframe is required, but a minimum of 24 hours is suggested as reasonable. However, Alabama law contains a provision that if the landlord provides in a general notice or an advance schedule (separate from the rental agreement) dates in excess of two days for repairs, maintenance, pest control, or for service relating to health or safety, then no additional day’s notice is required to gain access.