Introduction to Alaska Residental Landlord & Tenant Act
The Alaska Residential Landlord & Tenant Act governs many of the laws and rules regarding rental agreements in the state of Alaska. This bill doesn't just cover one side, but outlines in detail the responsibilities of both parties involved in a rental contract, inherent rights that each group has and particularly focuses on how moving in and moving out should be covered by both the renters and the landlords.
The purpose of this Act was to attempt to put all the laws regarding rental, eviction, landlord rights, and tenant rights in one place in order to offer a clear and easy to understand view of what the exact rules and regulations around Alaska rentals are. This hub is an informational (not legal) introduction to this Act, but anyone looking to rent in Alaska either as a landlord or as a tenant, should read this act for themselves to get the information needed to make an informed decision. This means if you want more specific information on how Alaska evictions work, this is the starting point and should give you a good idea whether you have a case or not regardless if you are the tenant or the landlord.
There are certain provisions that cannot be put into a rental agreement in Alaska, according to the Alaska Residential Landlord & Tenant Act. For example, no rental agreement that is legal in Alaska can:
* Demand the renter waive their rights under the Landlord & Tenant Act
* Excuse the landlord from negligence responsibilities
* Pay the landlord's attorney fees in case of legal action.
Those are critical protections that both parties need to understand, because there is no way around any of those three points of protection. Also according to this law, the landlord cannot legally force the tenant to sell their mobile home, or prevent the sale of a mobile home. These protections are guaranteed to renters, so even if these appear in a rental contract snuck into the fine print somewhere, they are not legally binding and therefore void the entire contract.
Alaska Tenant & Landlord Responsibilities
Section 120 of the bill outlines specific tenant responsibilities when renting in Alaska. The tenant is responsible for keeping the rental occupied, for disposing of trash, maintaining smoke alarms, keeping noise at a respectful level and not cause any intentional damage. While repairs are most often the landlord's responsibility, the opposite is true if the tenant damages something through negligent or inappropriate use.
The landlord does have several responsibilities under this act. The premises must be kept up to code, with both repairs and with proper heating in the winter. For rental properties that have running water and plumbing, it is the landlord's responsibility to make sure those remain in good running and operating condition even in the winter. If the landlord fails to provide these services then he or she is open for lawsuit or damages, and the renter also enjoys rights to move or challenge of rent payment.
The process of eviction is also covered in the Alaska Residential Landlord & Tenant Act. Written notice must be given for each part of the eviction process and cause must be given. Certain accepted eviction "causes" can be solved by the tenant falling back into line with the lease, which the state allows in order to halt eviction. Despite the common misconception, tenants with small children can be evicted, as can tenants in the winter. The only exception is mobile home park tenants, and this makes the process of staying up on rent during the winter months even more crucial. Knowing the law is critical, since many "common knowledge laws" in Alaska turn out not to be the laws at all. Most people can be evicted in Alaska, so it is very important to know what the actual rules and regulations are. Just because it's winter doesn't mean you can skip a few rent payments.
Rent as a Binding Legal Contract
Payment of rent is seen as accepting the terms of the lease agreement. This is a critical part of the Alaska Residential Landlord & Tenant Act that too few people seem to understand. Even if a tenant does not sign the rental agreement, payment of rent is seen as automatic legal acceptance of all the terms and conditions of the rental lease. Likewise, a landlord who accepts a month's rent also legally agrees to the lease terms even if he or she does not sign it. This means any rental agreement, even if unsigned by both parties, is legally binding in an Alaskan court as long as rent has been paid, and accepted. Many states have technicalities which allow for ways around these types of contracts but Alaska has specifically passed these rules to close those potential loops.