Alaska laws address many aspects of the landlord-tenant relationship, including security deposits, late rent, bounced check fees, and evictions. The following is a summary of key laws that affect nearly all Alaska landlords and tenants.
Yes. There is no law in Alaska that prohibits landlords from charging an application fee.
It depends. A city or county law might prohibit landlords from asking about an applicant's criminal history and running a criminal background check, but there is no statewide law prohibiting landlords from doing so.
Even if the city or county where the rental is located does not prohibit landlords from considering applicants' criminal histories, landlords must be careful. When landlords consider applicants' criminal history, they must do so in a consistent, nondiscriminatory manner. If a landlord's practice of considering criminal history has a discriminatory effect—for example, if the landlord asks only applicants of a certain color for criminal history information—the landlord is engaging in illegal discrimination and can be subject to penalties. Also, landlords can reject applicants only for past convictions that are "directly-related" to the application—in other words, convictions that have a negative bearing on a legitimate business concern of the landlord.
Most Alaska landlords cannot charge more than two months' rent for a security deposit. This limit does not apply, however, to rental units where the rent is more than $2,000 per month.
No. Alaska state law does not require landlords to pay interest on security deposits.
Yes, Alaska landlords can charge a pet deposit for an animal on the premises that is not a service animal. The pet deposit can be in addition to the standard security deposit, and cannot be more than one month's rent. It must be accounted for separately from the security deposit, and it can be applied only to the amount of damaged that are directly related to the pet.
When Alaska landlords collect a security deposit, they must provide the tenant the terms and conditions under which the landlord can withhold money from the deposit. When a tenant gives proper notice to terminate a tenancy, the landlord must give the tenant a written, itemized notice of security deposit deductions along with the remaining security deposit within 14 days after the end of the tenancy. When a tenant fails to give proper notice to terminate or when the tenant causes damage resulting from the tenant's failure to maintain the property, the landlord must give the tenant a written, itemized notice of security deposits along with the remaining security deposit within 30 days after the end of the tenancy.
Under state law, Alaska landlords must disclose specific information to tenants, including the following:
Individuals can sue in Alaska small claims court for up to $10,000.
Alaska law regulates some rent-related issues, such as how much a landlord can charge for a bounced check and the amount of time a tenant has to pay rent or move before a landlord can file for eviction.
No. Alaska landlords are not required to give tenants a rent payment grace period. Rent is due on the date specified in the lease or rental agreement, and a landlord can consider it late if it is not paid on that date. However, when the lease or rental agreement gives the tenant a grace period for paying rent, the landlord must honor it, and cannot consider rent to be late until after the grace period has passed.
When a tenant is late with rent in Alaska, the landlord cannot file an eviction suit until the landlord has given the tenant a properly written and served seven-day notice to pay rent or quit (move out). When the tenant does not pay the rent owed or move out within those seven days, the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit.
Yes. Alaska law allows landlords to charge tenants $30 for bounced checks.
Yes. Alaska landlords can charge tenants a fee for paying rent late. However, late fees should always be a reasonable estimate of the cost that the landlord incurs because rent is late (for example, any interest or collection costs), and should be disclosed in the lease or rental agreement—otherwise, a court might not enforce payment of late fees.
Alaska landlords cannot raise the rent during the term of a lease unless the lease specifically allows them to do so. Alaska landlords can raise the rent of a month-to-month tenancy by giving the tenant proper notice (30 days) of the change.
Alaska tenants cannot withhold rent when a landlord doesn't make repairs. However, tenants can deliver a written notice to the landlord specifying what needs to be repaired and stating that the tenancy will terminate in 20 days if the breach of the landlord's duty isn't fixed in 10 days. When the landlord fixes the breach, the tenancy doesn't terminate; when the landlord doesn't fix the breach, the tenant can move out without penalty.
Yes. When an Alaska landlord fails to supply heat, water, hot water, or essential services, the tenant can give written notice to the landlord specifying the breach. The tenant can then procure the necessary service and deduct the actual and reasonable cost from the rent. Alternatively, the tenant can recover damages based on the diminution of the fair rental value of the unit or move out (and be excused from paying rent) during the time the landlord is failing to provide the services.
Alaska state laws specify when and how a landlord may terminate a tenancy. Landlords must officially terminate a tenancy before they can file an eviction lawsuit.
When an Alaska tenant fails to pay rent on time, the landlord must give the tenant a seven-day notice to pay rent or quit (move out) before the landlord can file an eviction suit. If the tenant does not pay rent or move out within those seven days, the landlord can sue. See State Laws on Termination for Nonpayment of Rent for the relevant statutes.
When an Alaska tenant violates a term of the lease—such as having a pet in violation of a no-pets policy—the landlord must give the tenant a ten-day notice to cure (fix the problem) or quit (move out). If the tenant does not fix the problem or move out within those ten days, the landlord can sue. See State Laws on Termination for Violation of Lease for the relevant statutes.
Alaska landlords can give a tenant a five-day unconditional quit notice (meaning that the tenant does not have the change to remedy the problem) when the tenant repeats a lease violation within six months of having received a prior notice for the same violation. The notice must specify the breach and the date of termination of the rental agreement.
Alaska landlords can give a tenant a notice requiring the tenant to leave not less than 24 hours and not more than five days after service of the notice when:
For more information, see Nolo's article, How to Delay an Eviction in Alaska.
In all states, even in the absence of a statute, landlords can enter a rental without giving notice in order to deal with a true emergency (an imminent and serious threat to health, safety, or property); and when the tenant has abandoned the property (left for good). Alaska law also addresses when and how landlords can enter rental property in non-emergency situations.
Alaska landlords must give 24 hours' notice of their intention to enter, and can enter only at reasonable times and with the tenant's consent.
Alaska law does not specify that the landlord's entry notice needs to be in writing.
Several other landlord-tenant laws might affect both property owners and renters in Alaska, including:
No. Alaska does not have statewide rent control, and there is no law explicitly allowing or disallowing it.
If you want to read the text of a law itself, such as state security deposit rules, start by checking citations for Alaska landlord-tenant statutes. To access the statutes themselves, see the state section of the Library of Congress's legal research site. You can search the table of contents for the landlord-tenant statutes. Or, if you don't know the exact statute number, you can enter a keyword that is likely to be in it, such as "nonpayment of rent."
Cities and counties often pass local ordinances, such as rent control rules, health and safety standards, noise and nuisance regulations, and anti-discrimination rules that affect landlords and tenants. Many municipalities have websites—just search for the name of a particular city in Alaska and then do a search when you're on the site.
State and Local Government on the Net and Municode (click on "Code Library" in the main menu) are good sources for finding local governments online. Also, your local public library or office of the city attorney, mayor, or city or county manager can provide information on local ordinances that affect landlords and tenants in Alaska.
Congress and federal agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), have enacted laws and regulations that apply to the landlord-tenant relationship in Alaska. These laws and regulations address topics such as discrimination and landlord responsibilities to disclose environmental health hazards, such as lead-based paint.
The U.S. Code is the starting place for most federal statutory research. It consists of 53 separate numbered titles, each covering a specific subject matter. Most federal regulations are published in the Code of Federal Regulations ("CFR"). To access the U.S. Code and Code of Federal Regulations online, see the federal section of the Library of Congress's legal research site.
For more information on legal research, check out Legal Research: How to Find & Understand the Law, by Stephen Elias (Nolo). This nontechnical book gives easy-to-use, step-by-step instructions on how to find legal information.
You'll also find a wealth of information in Nolo's landlord-tenant books.
The following types of living arrangements are not covered by Alaska's residential landlord-tenant laws: