Frequently Asked Questions About Landlord and Tenant Issues in Alaska

Authored By: Alaska Legal Services

Alaska Eviction Diversion Program

The Alaska Court System's Eviction Diversion Program offers free mediation to landlords and tenants.  Mediation helps the two sides work out their dispute without going to court.  The program is available before or after the landlord starts an eviction case in court.  Both sides must agree to participate.

The Top 10 Most Frequently Asked Questions About Landlord-Tenant Law in Alaska

Yes.  Alaska’s Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act does not forbid a landlord from charging a late fee if the rent is late.  So your lease agreement determines if the landlord can charge a late fee and what sort of fee is allowed. 
Alaska law does put some limits on what late fees are allowed, either a reasonable flat-rate charge or a reasonable percentage-per-day charge.   A reasonable flat-rate charge must approximate the actual cost to your landlord of your failure to pay rent on time.   A reasonable percentage-per-day charge must not be more than 10.5%, and not more than 5 percentage points above the Federal Reserve discount rate.

If you and the landlord have signed a lease agreement, that lease will say what your landlord needs to do to raise the rent.  Your landlord may only raise the rent before the end of the lease period if the signed lease agreement says they can. 
If you don’t have a lease, or if your lease does not say anything about raising the rent, then Alaska law says:

  • For week-to-week tenancies, your landlord must notify you of any rate increase at least 14 days before the increase happens. 
  • For month-to-month tenancies, your landlord must notify you of any rate increase at least 30 days before the increase happens. 

A landlord may not raise the rent in retaliation against a tenant.

Yes.  Unless the rent is more than $2,000 per month, your landlord may not demand a security deposit or prepaid rent that totals more than two months’ worth of rent. 
But if your are keeping a pet that is not a services animal, your landlord may demand an additional deposit of up to one month’s rent.  A landlord can only deduct from the pet deposit for damages caused by the pet.

Non-refundable security deposits, including non-refundable pet deposits, are illegal in Alaska.

If Pat is renting an apartment for $1200 per month, then Pat’s landlord cannot ask for a deposit and prepaid rent of more than $2400 in total.

If Pat has a service animal, then the total still cannot be more than $2400.

If Pat has a pet that is not a service animal, then the total amount pre-paid cannot be more than $2400 and not more than $1200 for the pet.

If you have moved out with proper notice, your landlord has 14 days after you move out to mail you the refund of your security deposit.  If your landlord is making deductions to the rental deposit your landlord has 30 days to provide an itemized accounting of the security deposit.

If you move out without giving your landlord proper notice, your landlord will have 30 days after you move out to provide you with a refund of your security deposit and a written notice itemizing any deductions.

Please make sure you provide your landlord with a valid forwarding address before moving out!

Your landlord may only deduct from a security deposit for the following reasons:

  • Any unpaid rent you still owe the landlord when you move out.  This does not include late fees or other charges.
  • The cost of repairing any damage to the rental unit that is not the result of normal wear and tear and is caused by the tenants’ failure to comply with their legal obligations under Alaska Law.  Normal wear and tear is the minor damage caused by ordinary use of the rental unit.  To learn more about a tenant’s legal obligations, see question 9 below.

If your landlord deducts any money from your security deposit for accrued rent or damage to the premises, they must provide you with a written notice itemizing the deductions.  Money can only be deducted from a pet deposit for damages caused by the pet.

Non-refundable security deposits, including non-refundable pet deposits, are illegal in Alaska.

If your landlord illegally keeps any part of your security deposit, you can sue your landlord in Small Claims Court and recover up to twice the amount that was illegally kept.  There are some risks to consider when suing in small claims court such as being responsible for your landlord’s attorney fees if you lose the case. 

If you are concerned that your landlord will not refund your security deposit, take photos to document the condition of the rental unit when you move out. Then, if the landlord deducts money for damage to the unit, you may be able to use those photos to show that the unit wasn’t damaged.  Also, your landlord might agree to do a joint walk-thru of the unit with you and make a list of any damages together.

Except in the case of an emergency, your landlord can enter the rental unit only if they give you at least 24 hours notice.  The notice must be given at a reasonable time and you must give the landlord permission.  Your landlord is not allowed to use the right of access to harass you.

However, though your landlord may not enter your home without your consent, you are not allowed to “unreasonably” deny entry to the landlord.  This means the landlord needs to be able to landlord things, such as make regular inspections, make necessary or agreed-upon repairs, or show the unit to prospective purchasers, tenants, or contractors. A tenant gets a say in when those things happen, but they do need to happen.

Your landlord is responsible for maintaining the rented premises in a fit and habitable condition during your tenancy. This includes:

  • Making all repairs to ensure compliance with local housing codes;
  • Keeping all common areas of the premises in a clean and safe condition;
  • Maintaining in good and safe working order and condition all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, kitchen, and other facilities and appliances, including elevators, supplied or required to be supplied by the landlord;
  • Providing and maintaining appropriate receptacles and conveniences for the removal of ashes, garbage, rubbish, and other waste incidental to the occupancy of the dwelling unit and arrange for their removal;
  • Supplying running water and reasonable amounts of hot water and heat at all times, insofar as energy conditions permit, except where the building that includes the dwelling unit is so constructed that heat or hot water is generated by an installation within the exclusive control of the tenant and supplied by a direct public utility connection;
  • If requested by the tenant, providing and maintaining locks and furnishing keys reasonably adequate to ensure safety to the tenant's person and property; and
  • Providing smoke detection devices and carbon monoxide detection devices.

Tenants are responsible for:

  • Keeping the premises as clean and safe as possible;
  • Disposing of all ashes, rubbish, garbage, and other waste from the dwelling unit in a clean and safe manner;
  • Keeping all plumbing fixtures in the premises as clean as possible;
  • Using in a reasonable manner all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, kitchen, and other facilities and appliances including elevators in the premises;
  • Not deliberately or negligently destroying anything in the unit or allowing others to do so;
  • Not unreasonably disturbing, or allowing others to unreasonably disturb, a neighbor's peaceful enjoyment of the premises;
  • Keeping smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in working condition by changing the batteries when necessary, testing the devices periodically, and refraining from permanently disabling the devices.
Last Review and Update: Aug 15, 2023
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