Legal FAQs for Renters in Alaska

This page has local legal information on residential (not commercial) renters’ issues. It is not legal advice, and you should check with your local legal aid and courts for current information.

This page was last updated on Aug 25th, 2023. It was reviewed by our volunteer attorney experts.

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Problem with your Landlord?

What if I need repairs to my rental home in Alaska?

Tell your landlord about any repairs needed, particularly if they affect your health and safety.

You should call your landlord to make the repairs as soon as possible.

Emergency repairs could be for problems with:

  • Running water or hot water

  • Heat or air-conditioning

  • Stove, refrigerator, or oven

  • Electricity

  • Bathroom use

  • Missing doors, locks, or windows

  • Pests

If your landlord doesn't make the repairs promptly, send them a written letter or email about the need for emergency repairs (and keep a copy of this communication).

Reach out for legal help for additional guidance.

Can I break my lease on my rental home in Alaska?

You may be able to break your lease if you can come to an agreement with your landlord.

You can talk to your landlord to see if they will agree to let you leave early. If they agree, be sure to get the agreement in writing.

Also, you can review your lease. It may have a part that lets you end the lease early in times of financial difficulty. If your lease has this kind of part, you might be able to end the lease early (in some cases penalty-free).

Find legal help to get advice for your situation.

What do I do if my landlord tries to evict me from my rental home in Alaska?

Contact a legal help organization to help defend yourself.

It is illegal in Alaska for your landlord to evict you without first going to court and getting an eviction order. To remove you from your home, a landlord must take you to court by filing an eviction lawsuit, win the case, and getting an eviction order from the court.

Legal aid groups might be able to provide you with full representation, or other legal organizations can give you information or brief advice.

Find legal help to protect your rights.

Behind on Rent?

Can a landlord apply for their renter, to get rental assistance?

Most rental assistance programs let landlords apply for financial help. Either a renter or a landlord can start the application.

The landlord will have to fill in as much information they have about the amount of money needed, and the eligibility for the program. The tenant may have to fill in the rest of the information. Check with your local Rental Assistance program about the steps to follow to apply for rent relief.

Does immigration status matter for rent relief?

Many local Rental Assistance programs are open to everyone, regardless of immigration status. Many programs do not even ask about immigration status.

Check with your local Rental Assistance program to make sure about eligibility rules and immigration.

Am I eligible for rent relief?

Local governments set the rules about who is eligible for rent relief. Most programs focus on people who have suffered COVID-19 hardships.

You can talk to your local Rental Assistance program to learn their eligibility rules. You may have to show your household income, or if you are on other benefits programs like SNAP.

You may also have to show that you are at risk of homelessness or eviction if you don't get rental assistance. Check with your local Rental Assistance program to see if you are eligible.

Who can help me with rent that I owe?

If you are behind on rent, you can get help from your local rental assistance program. This is a government service to help people who owe rent or utility bills.

Especially if you are behind on rent because of COVID-19 hardships, your local Rental Assistance (or Rent Relief) program can help you.

Find your local Rental Assistance program at your Get Help page here.

Received a Warning Notice about Eviction?

Do I have to leave my home by the time of the eviction notice's expiration date in Alaska?

No, you do not have to leave (or 'quit') your home by the date listed on the eviction notice. You do not have to leave your home until you have been brought to court, and a judge has ordered that your landlord can make you leave.

After the date on the eviction notice passes, then your landlord may file an eviction lawsuit in court against you. You will be able to go to court and present defenses to protect yourself.

My eviction notice says that I will be evicted unless I pay back-rent I owe in Alaska. What if I can't afford to pay it?

You still have time to reach out for rental assistance, and stop the eviction from moving forward.

Be sure to let the local group know that you have received an eviction notice and what its deadline is. They may be able to help you pay the rent you owe, or work with your landlord to reduce the amount or put you on a payment plan.

Find local financial help in Alaska here.

How long do I have after I receive an eviction notice to pay back rent to stop the eviction in Alaska?

In Alaska, you have a minimum of 7 days between your landlord giving you a notice and them filing a lawsuit against you in court to evict you.

The notice should tell you how many days the landlord is giving you. If they are giving you less than 7 days, then you may be able to challenge it as illegal. Find local legal help in Alaska here.

Facing an Eviction Lawsuit?

Do I have to do anything after I get an eviction Summons and Complaint in Alaska?

In Alaska, you are required to respond to the eviction lawsuit, if you want to avoid the eviction. You will have 20 days after you receive the Summons and Complaint to get a written response back to the court. If you do not submit this response by the 20th day, you may lose your case and the judge may give the landlord damages he requests.

There are two parts to your eviction case.

  1. The first is called a “possession hearing” that normally takes place before the twenty days has expired. This hearing is held even if you do not file an answer. It is important to go to this hearing because it is at this hearing where you can present defenses about why you should not be evicted.
  2. The second hearing is about damages owed to the landlord and is held after you have had an opportunity to answer the complaint.

Reach out to legal help to learn what your rights and defenses are in your eviction case. These organizations can help you deal with this lawsuit. Find local legal help in Alaska here.

Can I settle my eviction case without going to court in Alaska?

You can come to an agreement with your landlord, but you should still go to your court hearing to make sure your case is closed.

You can work with your landlord to work out an agreement before the date of the court hearing. This might be a payment plan or other agreement on what needs to happen for you to stay in your home.

Be sure to get this agreement in writing, so that you can prove it exists and that your landlord follows through on it.

Also, you should still go to court for your hearing date, to make sure the court knows about the agreement and closes the lawsuit. If you do not go to court, the lawsuit might still continue and the judge might rule that the landlord can remove you. Go to court yourself to make sure this doesn't happen.

You can reach out for legal help to get assistance in negotiating an agreement with your landlord, and making sure this agreement is being followed.

Find local legal help in Alaska here.

My landlord has filed an eviction lawsuit against me in court in Alaska. What should I do?

You should make sure that the landlord properly 'served' you with the lawsuit. If they didn't give it you in the correct way, you can challenge the eviction lawsuit. In Alaska, a landlord must follow certain rules to let you know about the lawsuit:

  1. Only certain people can give you the lawsuit's Summons and Complaint. The landlord can not give you these papers - it has to be a person not involved in the case. This can be a peace officer (usually a State Trooper) or a process server.
  2. The notice has to be given to you personally, left with a member of your household that is of age, or mailed to you.
  3. If they can’t reach you, and if they show that they exhaust all other options, they can post the notice on your door.

You should also reach out to local lawyers who can help you prepare for your court hearing so you can protect yourself against the eviction. Find local legal help in Alaska here.

Emergency Protections during COVID

Are there any special eviction protections for renters during COVID-19 in Alaska?

Alaska's statewide emergency protections for renters have expired. Landlords may now try to sue tenants to evict them. If you are worried about an eviction, reach out as soon as possible to your local legal aid group. The lawyers may be able to help you find protections and services to deal with your eviction.

Earlier protections

The Alaska Legislature had ordered a stop to all evictions for non-payment of rent, when the renter has provided a sworn statement of COVID-19 hardships.

This order went into effect on April 10, 2020 and ended on June 30, 2020. Evictions have since resumed.

Alaska renters previously had U.S. national protections against eviction that lasted through August 26, 2021.

What do the eviction protections mean for Alaskan renters?

Since emergency protections have expired, then for renters in Alaska:

  1. Your landlord can still give you a notice to quit.

  2. Your landlord can file an eviction claim in court against you.

  3. Eviction hearings are still happening, and the court will still hear an eviction case against you.

  4. The court may issue a new order, judgment, or writ of eviction against you.

  5. Law enforcement may enforce an existing eviction order against you, to remove you from your home.

Do I still have to pay rent during COVID-19?

Yes, Alaska renters still need to pay rent during the emergency.

Check with your local city or county government to see if they give renters any additional protections if they are struggling to pay rent during the emergency.

If you cannot pay rent, take steps to protect yourself:

  • Apply for rental help immediately: If you need financial assistance for housing costs like rent or utility bills, you may be able to get help. Anchorage has a special fund for rental assistance for its residents, that you can call 2-1-1 to learn more about.

  • Communicate with your landlord, and make a sworn statement: To get protection against eviction for nonpayment of rent, you need to provide a sworn statement explaining why you cannot pay rent due to COVID-19. Find a sample letter you can use. You can also try to negotiate with your landlord to make a payment plan or get a temporary rent reduction. ([Get guidance on how to propose a rent modification to your landlord,]( and you can use the court's Rental Agreement Modification form.

  • Get written records of all communication: Keep copies of any letter or email you send, and any responses from the landlord. Keep receipts for any payments you make. If you make a payment plan or rent agreement, make sure to get it in writing.

  • Keep proof of COVID-19's impact on you: Collect documents about your COVID-19-related employment problems, health care issues, or other issues that affect your ability to pay rent. This includes letters from your employer, doctor, insurance provider, child care provider, schools, etc.

Can my landlord evict me during COVID-19 in Alaska?

Alaska renters can be evicted since emergency protections have ended.

If you receive a notice to quit from your landlord or an eviction lawsuit, reach out for legal help.

Can my utilities be shut off during COVID-19?

Alaska renters' utilities may be shut off now that the statewide emergency period has ended.

Earlier, there were protections against a utility shutoff. The Alaska State Legislature ordered that all utility companies must continue services for residents during the emergency period, if the renter shows to the utility company that they have a COVID-19 hardship.

Renters must still pay their utility bills. If you need financial assistance for utility costs, you may be able to get help.

Landlords are never allowed to shut off a renter's utilities in an attempt to force the renter out. This is illegal. Reach out to a lawyer for help if this happens to you.

Are eviction cases still proceeding through Alaska courts?

Alaska state court proceedings for evictions are currently proceeding. Your case might be in-person or it might be held through remote technology. Check with the court to see how your hearing will proceed.

Check with the Alaska Courts for any updates.

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