When a tenant fails to pay rent, a landlord must take specific steps under the Alaska Uniform Residential Landlord & Tenant Act to force the tenant to either pay the rent due or move out of the rental property. Alaska law prohibits “self-help” eviction remedies; this means the landlord cannot take personal action to remove the tenant from the rental property, such as entering the home and changing the locks, without obtaining a court order (see AS 34.03.280). The first step a landlord must take to evict a tenant who has not paid rent is to serve the tenant with a Notice of Termination for Nonpayment of Rent under Alaska state law (AS 34.03.010 – 34.03.360).
This article explains the basics of evicting a tenant in Alaska for nonpayment of rent. It discusses the Notice of Termination for Nonpayment of Rent (referred to here as the “Notice”) that gives a tenant the right to pay the rent rather than face an eviction lawsuit. Landlords who do not want to give the tenant the option of paying the rent must use a Notice to Quit, which for a month-to-month tenancy, allows the tenant 30 days to move before the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit (see AS 34.03.290).
Notice of Termination for Nonpayment of Rent in Alaska
If the tenant does not pay rent on the day rent is due according to the lease or rental agreement, the landlord may serve the tenant with a Notice of Termination for Nonpayment of Rent. This Notice advises the tenant that the tenant must either pay the rent due or move out of the rental property within seven days of the notice (see AS 34.03.220).
What Is Included in the Notice of Termination for Nonpayment of Rent?
The State of Alaska provides landlords with a sample form to use as the Notice of Termination for Nonpayment of Rent. See Alaska court-approved Notice to Quit form for the form used for nonpayment of rent.
The landlord must include the following information when completing the Notice form:
- the name and address of the tenant
- the amount of rent presently owed by the tenant to the landlord
- the date and time by which the rent presently owed must be paid (at least seven days after the tenant will receive the Notice), and
- the name and signature of the landlord (see AS 09.45.105).
The Landlord’s Record of Service portion at the bottom of the form is left blank until after the landlord serves the tenant with the Notice (see the discussion below for details on completing the Record of Service at that point).
How to Serve the Tenant with the Demand for Nonpayment of Rent in Alaska
Once the Notice form is filled out, the landlord must serve the Notice on the tenant by delivering it to the tenant using one of the following methods:
- personal delivery to the tenant
- personal delivery to the tenant’s rental property given to any adult there with a request to give the Notice to the tenant
- by securely posting on the entry door of the rental property after knocking with no answer, or
- by registered or certified mail with a return receipt requested (see AS 09.45.100).
After the landlord serves the tenant with the Notice, the landlord should complete the Landlord’s Record of Service portion of the Notice on the landlord’s copy, including the following information:
- the name of the person served and the date, if served to the tenant or an adult at the rental property personally
- the date and time the Notice was posted on the entry door of the rental unit, or
- indication that the tenant was served by registered or certified mail and that the landlord has retained the return receipt of mail service.
If the landlord personally serves the tenant with the Notice, the tenant may be willing to acknowledge receipt of the Notice and sign the Landlord’s Record of Service. The landlord, or whoever performed the service of the Notice on the tenant, must sign and date the Record of Service.
Tenant Options When Served with a Seven-Day Notice of Termination for Nonpayment of Rent
The tenant’s response to a Notice may have different consequences:
- If the tenant pays the rent within the seven-day time period, then the landlord cannot proceed with the eviction.
- If the tenant does not pay the rent, but moves out within seven days, the landlord may use the tenant’s security deposit (if any) to cover unpaid rent after following certain steps required under Alaska law. If the security deposit does not cover all the rent due and owing, including late charges, then the landlord can sue the tenant in small claims court for the rent still owed (up to the court limit of $10,000). See Nolo’s article for landlords on handling security deposit disputes in Alaska small claims courts.
- If the tenant does not pay the full rent within the seven-day time period and does not move out of the property, then the landlord can file a complaint in court to gain possession of the property.
Resources on Evictions for Nonpayment of Rent in Alaska
The Alaska Landlord & Tenant Act: what it means to you is a useful guide for landlords and tenants and has been approved by the Alaska Department of Law. Another useful site is the Alaska Legal Resource Center. For more articles on landlord-tenant laws in Alaska, including Alaska tenant rights to withhold rent and illegal eviction procedures in Michigan, see the Overview of Landlord-Tenant Laws in Alaska on the Nolo site. For more eviction-related articles, see the Evicting a Tenant or Ending a Lease section of the Nolo site, including Eviction Notices for Lease Violations in Alaska.