Unlawful Detainer Law and Legal Definition

Unlawful detainer refers to the unjustifiable retention or keeping possession of real property by one whose original entry or possession was lawful. For example if a tenant holds over property after their lease has expired or after the tenant has been served with a notice to vacate it amounts to unlawful detainer. Such possession entitles the owner of the property to bring an action for unlawful detainer. The owner can seek return of possession, unpaid rent and damages.

In Alabama, Code of Ala. § 6-6-310 defines unlawful detainer as follows:

“(2) Unlawful detainer Where one who has lawfully entered into possession of lands as tenant fails or refuses, after the termination of the possessory interest of the tenant, to deliver possession of the premises to anyone lawfully entitled or his or her agent or attorney”.

In Alabama the owner of the property can initiate a unlawful detainer proceeding by filing a complaint. On receiving the complaint the District judge shall issue a notice to party against whom the complaint is made.