Broken AC? Moldy unit? A guide to renters' rights in Alabama - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Broken AC? Moldy unit? A guide to renters' rights in Alabama

(Source: WAFF) (Source: WAFF)

Here at WAFF 48 News, we receive daily phone calls about landlords allegedly refusing to keep up with tenants' maintenance requests. Viewers call us about their landlords not acknowledging broken air conditioning units, ignoring mold inside units, you name it.

We sat down with an attorney about what renters can do when these situations arise. Farah Majid is an attorney for Legal Services Alabama and said first and foremost, tenants and renters must stay current on rent.

“A lot of tenants think, ‘Well, I’m not going to pay for this house anymore because it's so terrible.' But unfortunately, Alabama laws are not very friendly towards tenants,” Majid said.

But that doesn’t mean tenants don’t have rights.

More than 50,000 Alabama households live in rental housing. According to the Alabama landlord-tenant law, tenants have a right to a decent place to live. That means housing codes have to be up to par, there must be working be heat and AC, hot and cold water, etc.

If something is broken, Majid suggests tenants contact their landlord and let them know. If the landlord is unresponsive, tell them in writing that you'll terminate the lease if the repairs aren't made within 14 days.

“Unfortunately in Alabama, you are not allowed to withhold rent for a landlord's failure to make repairs. So once you've given that 14-day notice, or even if you haven't, you have to stay current on your rent,” Majid said.

Take pictures for your records. If the landlord doesn’t make repairs within that 14-day period, call a lawyer. They could help you break the lease, get your security deposit back and any rent you’ve prepaid.

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