Alabama REALTORS® Judicial Monitor
October 22, 2019
The Public Policy Team monitors Alabama’s courts for impacts on the real estate industry and property laws in general. When noteworthy events occur, or important opinions are released, summaries and analyses of the cases will be provided as the Alabama REALTORS® Judicial Monitor.
Alabama Supreme Court Holds that Process Server Sufficiently Provided Notice to Tenant in Eviction/Unlawful Detainer Suit
- The notice that must be provided to a tenant in an eviction lawsuit must include an attempt to personally serve the tenant.
- Along with an attempt to serve personally (which can be just a knock on the door during the day), eviction notices must also be posted on the tenant’s door and mailed to the tenant.
- Those methods together are sufficient to provide legal notice for an eviction action, as long as other factors are not present that would indicate the notice might not reach the tenant (for example, public knowledge that children in an apartment building frequently tear down notices posted on apartment doors).
[i] Ex parte Trinity Prop. Consultants, LLC, 2019 Ala. LEXIS 81, *1 (Ala. 2019), overruling Mays v. Trinity Prop. Consultants, LLC, 2019 Ala. Civ. App. LEXIS 24, *1, 2019 WL 1090487. The Court of Civil Appeals had originally ruled in favor of the landlord on January 11, 2019. However, the court subsequently granted the tenant’s motion for a rehearing and withdrew its January opinion.
[ii] Mays, at *4 (discussing Ala. Code § 35-9A-461(c), governing actions for eviction and Ala. Code § 6-6-332(b), covering actions for unlawful detainer).
[iii] Id., at *8.
[iv] Id. (citing Ex parte Volkswagenwerk Aktiengesellschaft, 443 So. 2d 880, 884 (Ala. 1983) (holding when service of process on the defendant is contested, “the burden of proof is on the plaintiff to prove that service of process was performed correctly and legally”)).
[v] The court denied the landlord’s application for a rehearing on May 3, 2019. The landlord sought review of the latest Court of Civil Appeals decision based on the assertion that the notice the landlord provided comported with constitutional due process requirements as set forth by the U.S. Supreme Court in Greene v. Lindsey. Mays v. Trinity Prop. Consultants, LLC, 2019 Ala. Civ. App. LEXIS 52, *1, 2019 WL 1969975 (discussing 456 U.S. 444 (1982)).
[vi] Id., at *12.