My apologies for the wait. I thought that the tenant is not responsible for attorney fess in Alabama.
Not quite. Generally speaking, they are not. However, if the attorney has to file suit to seek relief (i.e. eviction and/or a breach of contract
claim) for the money, then, if they win, the Court may
award them attorney fees as part of judgment:
"The determination of whether an attorney fee is reasonable is within the sound discretion of the trial court..." City of Birmingham v. Horn, 810 So. 2d 667 - Ala: Supreme Court 2001
. The Court normally awards attorney fees only if the losing party has acted maliciously and/or has wasted the Court's time.
But, when the attorneys SEND the demand before filing suit, then they often add their own fees, hoping that you'd pay them anyhow. If so, then not only does the landlord get paid, but, so does the attorney.
Whether or not the attorney fees are reasonable here or not (not really, here, arguably) is a moot point because this is not a court of law, but basically a private demand. It is as though I said, "Give me $5 that you owe me, and $2 for my trouble in asking you."
Someone in your situation may wish to perhaps make a full payment of the amount owed, but, include with it a letter stating that attorney fees will NOT be paid. Then send a copy of that letter to the landlord as well as the attorneys, except include the check to the attorneys.
The landlord will then demand that the attorneys give them the money that was paid to them by you. The attorneys would have to give it, and then there is no more case. One cannot file in Court for simply attorney fees. This may be the best approach to handling this situation.
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