Nobody wants to have to evict a tenant. The original intent of the lease is that you would provide them a place to live and they would take care of that place and pay you rent . . . monthly . . . the whole thing . . . and on time.
Somewhere your tenant forgot that they had to take care of the place or pay you rent or worse BOTH.
If you are like many people talk to in this business, you’re probably kicking yourself for letting this go on much longer than it ever should have. If it makes you feel any better, if you’ve been in this business for any measure of time, you’ve let a tenant carry on way too long.
So you need them out of your house?
The first step in evicting someone in Alabama is the 7 day notice. I’m going to cover some quick elements to make sure remember, but as always, I’m not an attorney, so I always suggest consulting one before making any legal moves.
There are really two reasons in Alabama to evict someone.
The first is for “nonpayment of rent”. This is fairly obvious why you are evicting them.
The second is for “material breach of lease”. This is a catch all phrase for everything else. Meaning they have violated some other portion of the lease document . . . this could mean destroying the house, having people living in the house other than who is on the lease, etc.
I break these two down, because it used to be a big difference in the type of notice that was posted. Previously, under the Uniform Residential Landlord Tenant Act in Alabama, you were required to post a 7 day notice for rent and a 14 day notice for material breach.
They updated the law a few years ago and this is no longer the case. You post a 7 day notice either way.
So that is where I get to my first tip . . . Have one notice that covers both.
Our notice has the heading:
And in the body, it goes on to include both of them again in the first paragraph:
You are hereby notified, pursuant to 35 -9A-421(b) Code of Alabama that you are in noncompliance with the terms of your rental agreement for failure to pay rent and or a material breach of the lease for the premises now occupied by you, being situated at_______________________________________________________________________________________________.
My second tip is that a 7 day notice doesn’t end on the 7th day . . . it ends on the 8th. Here is the language from our eviction notice:
Your rental agreement will terminate upon the expiration of seven (7) days after the receipt or posting of this written notice, if you fail to pay or cure the material lease breach prior to the expiration of the seventh (7th) day.
My third tip is that you can’t terminate the lease by posting the notice. The lease doesn’t actually get terminated until after the 7th day the tenant has not “cured” the breach. Meaning, they have not fixed the problem.
Here is the next paragraph from our notice laying this out:
If the full rent is not paid or material breach cured, Demand is made upon you to deliver possession of the premises at the time of termination of your rental agreement (7 days after receipt or posting of this notice), otherwise, an eviction action will be filed against you.
Your failure to surrender possession of the premises will be deemed a willful noncompliance of the rental agreement for which the Lessor will seek a judgment for possession of the premises and all damages allowable under Alabama Law.
Additional rent charges may continue to accrue as due and owing under the terms and conditions of the rental agreement.
Fourth tip, only take certified funds at this point. We actually tell them this in the notice.
ALL PAYMENTS MUST BE MADE BY CASHIER’S CHECK OR MONEY ORDER ONLY
Tip number 5, to cover your rear end, include debt collection language. Here is what we have:
**We will assume this debt to be valid, unless it is disputed within thirty days after you receive this letter. If you dispute this debt, or any portion thereof, we will obtain and mail to you a verification of the debt or a copy of any judgment, if you send us a written request within this thirty day period. Also, upon written request within this thirty day period, we will provide you with the name and address of the original creditor, if different from the current creditor. This NOTICE, however, may require you to take some action prior to the thirty days, OTHERWISE, unlawful detainer proceedings may be instituted AGAINST you. This letter is an attempt to collect a debt, and any information obtained will be used for that purpose. This communication is from a debt collector.
Lastly, to make it as official as possible, have the notice notarized.
The next thing we need to cover is how to serve it properly.
While posting a notice can feel like a really weird thing to do, when you put it on the door, you must make an attempt to get someone to the door and hand deliver it to them. There is no requirement for you to come back if nobody is there, but you must make a good faith attempt.
If nobody is home, you may post it on the door where they are most likely to enter and see it. This is typically the front door.
I also suggest you take a picture of it to prove that you were there and served it. It is crazy the things people will say when they are attempting to get out of paying you rent.
Properly posting the notice in our experience gets MOST tenants to pay and/or fix the issue. We have very few tenants who will take an eviction all the way from the 7 Day eviction notice to them being set out by the sheriff.