Lease Basic Requirements in Alabama
Basic requirements of a lease (Donovan III 1994, 3) are:
The Alabama statute of frauds requires that all agreements affecting an interest in real property must be in writing, except leases for a term of less than one year. The statute of frauds applies to leasehold estates; but execution by the tenant is not required if delivery of the lease has taken place and the tenant gone into possession. Even if a lease is exempt from the statute of frauds, oral leases are difficult to prove.Alabama has a special statute that requires all leases having a term of over twenty (20) years to be recorded within one (1) year of execution or be limited to a maximum of twenty (20) years. The twenty (20) year period includes all options to the extent vested in the tenant. Notwithstanding a lack of recordation, the Eastwood Mall case held that a landlord can be estopped from pleading the statute if he accepts the rent for a considerable period with knowledge that recordation did not occur within one (1) year from date of execution.The draftsman should make sure the term of the leasehold estate is definite, because if it is found to be indefinite, the lease is converted to a tenancy at will on a month to month basis.
CPI rent escalation clauses have been upheld in Alabama.