Section 35-9A-404

Wrongful failure to make available heat, water, hot water, or essential services.

(a) The landlord is not responsible for the payment of utility services unless agreed in the lease.

(b) If contrary to the rental agreement or Section 35-9A-204, after receiving notice of the breach from the tenant, the landlord willfully or negligently fails to promptly make available heat, running water, hot water, electric, gas, or other essential service, the tenant may:

(1) send a written notice specifying the date of termination not less than 14 days after receipt of notice and upon vacation of the premises, the rental agreement shall be rightfully terminated without further obligation or penalty. If the rental agreement is terminated pursuant to this section, the landlord shall return all security recoverable by the tenant under Section 35-9A-201 and all unearned prepaid rent; or

(2) recover damages based upon the diminution in the fair rental value of the dwelling unit.

(c) If the tenant proceeds under this section, the tenant may not proceed under Section 35-9A-401 as to that breach.

(d) Rights of the tenant under this section do not arise if the condition was caused by the willful or negligent act or omission of the tenant, a member of the tenant's family, a licensee, or other person on the premises with the tenant's consent.

(Act 2006-316, p. 668, §1.)