A landlord who wants to evict a tenant in Alaska must file an eviction lawsuit against the tenant. Alaska law sets forth how and when the landlord can evict the tenant, and the landlord must follow the law very carefully in order for the eviction to be valid. This article will explain the basic rules and procedures landlords and property managers must follow when evicting a tenant in Alaska.
A landlord must have cause, or a legal reason, when evicting a tenant. Alaska law only lets the landlord evict the tenant for certain reasons, such as failing to pay rent or violating the lease or rental agreement. Once the landlord establishes legal cause, then the landlord must terminate the tenant’s lease or rental agreement. The landlord does this by giving the tenant written notice. The type of notice the landlord uses will depend on the reason for the eviction.
If the landlord does not have legal cause to evict the tenant but wants the tenant to move out of the rental unit anyway, the landlord must wait until the lease or rental agreement has expired before expecting the tenant to move. In some cases, the landlord will still need to give the tenant written notice to move.
A landlord who wants to end a month-to-month tenancy but does not have cause to evict the tenant, must give the tenant a written 30-day notice to quit. This notice must inform the tenant that the landlord is terminating the month-to-month tenancy and that the tenant must move out of the rental unit by the end of the notice period. If the tenant does not move out of the rental unit in time, then the landlord can proceed with an eviction lawsuit against the tenant (see Alaska Stat. § 34.03.290). Alaska Notice Requirements to Terminate a Month-to-Month Tenancy has more information.
A landlord who wants a tenant with a fixed-term lease (that is, a lease with a specified end date) to move but does not have legal cause to evict the tenant, must wait until the lease has ended before expecting the tenant to move. Unless the terms of the lease specifically require it, the landlord is not required to give the tenant written notice to move. If the tenant does not move out of the rental unit by the end of the lease term, then the landlord should stop accepting rent from the tenant and proceed with an eviction lawsuit against the tenant.
Although a landlord may have a valid legal cause to evict a tenant, the tenant can always choose to fight the eviction. The tenant could have a valid legal defense against the eviction, such as the landlord retaliating against the tenant or failing to maintain the rental unit. The tenant’s decision to fight the eviction could lead to increased legal fees for both the landlord and the tenant or allow the tenant to remain living in the rental unit for a longer period of time. Tenant Defenses to Evictions in Alaska has more information on this topic.
The only way a landlord can remove a tenant from a rental unit is by winning an eviction lawsuit against the tenant. Even then, a law enforcement officer, not the landlord, will be the one who actually evicts the tenant. It is illegal for the landlord to try to force the tenant to move out of the rental unit, and the tenant can sue the landlord for trying.Illegal Eviction Procedures in Alaska has more information.
After the tenant has been evicted, the landlord might find that the tenant has left behind personal property at the rental unit. The landlord is not allowed to immediately dispose of this property, unless the items are perishable (such as, food left in the refrigerator). Instead, the landlord must store the property in a safe location and send the tenant a 15-day notice to claim the property. If the tenant does not claim the property within 15 days, then the landlord can dispose of the property, through sale or otherwise (see Alaska Stat. § 34.03.260). Handling a Tenant’s Abandoned Property in Alaska has more information for landlords who find themselves in this situation.
Landlords must carefully follow all the rules and procedures required by Alaska law when evicting a tenant; otherwise, the eviction may not be valid. Although these rules and procedures may seem burdensome to the landlord, they are there for a reason. Evictions often occur very quickly, and the end result is serious: the tenant has lost a place to live. The rules help ensure the eviction is justified and that the tenant has enough time to find a new home.