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Georgia Residential Lease Agreement for Rental Properties
Leases are the cornerstone of a successful landlord-tenant relationship, providing a legal framework for both parties to enter a harmonious agreement.
In Georgia, residential lease documents—including their structure, nature, and contents—are regulated by Georgia landlord tenant laws. For this reason, it’s imperative to understand the intricacies of the law before constructing a lease.
This guide will walk you through the crucial components of a lease agreement Georgia considers compliant, ensuring you’re well-equipped to make informed decisions. And to make your journey easier, we’re offering a free Georgia lease agreement template for download!
Georgia lease agreements are legally binding documents that outline the terms and conditions governing the rental of a residential property within the state. Leases must adhere to Georgia’s landlord-tenant laws, providing a clear framework for both landlords and tenants to follow and fostering a secure and transparent rental environment.
The following components should be included in every Georgia lease agreement. Note that these components primarily apply to residential leases; a Georgia commercial lease agreement will necessarily have different requirements.
This section specifies the lease’s start and end dates, establishing the duration of the rental agreement.
Here, you’ll find details regarding the rent rate, due date, and the status of rent control. In Georgia, rent control laws are banned. This means that no municipalities in Georgia can pass a law that regulates the amount of rent that can be charged for single-family or multi-family residential rental properties. Landlords in Georgia are free to increase rent as they see fit, given that the policies for rent increases and notifications are stated clearly in the lease agreement.
The penalties for missing rent payments should be clearly stated in the lease, as should any exceptions. In Georgia, there are no statutory limits on late fees or mandatory grace periods. This means Georgia landlords can charge any reasonable fee for late rent. Once again, however, the late fee amount and policy should be clearly explained in the Georgia lease so that tenants know what to expect when their rent is late.
This section of the lease includes details about the security deposit, including its amount, where it will be stored, and how/when it will be returned. There is no Georgia law limiting security deposit amounts as there is in other states. However, there are laws regulating how it must be stored and returned.
If a Georgia landlord owns more than ten rental units, they must keep all security deposits in a bank escrow account established only for that purpose—or, alternatively, they can post and maintain a surety bond with the clerk of the superior court in the county where the property is located (OCGA § 44-7-31). Additionally, all security deposits must be returned to the tenant (minus any deductions) within 30 days of the lease’s termination (OCGA § 44-7-34).
Every Georgia lease agreement should describe the security deposit policy and especially the withholding rules. This way, tenants are clear about which damages warrant a deduction when the lease expires.
This section encompasses crucial required disclosures, which are information that must be disclosed to the tenant in the lease before they agree to rent the property. A lease agreement Georgia considers compliant must include these disclosures (or they must be provided in a separate notice). According to Georgia law, the required disclosures are:
- Lead-based paint – Landlords in all 50 states must disclose lead-based paint hazards in rental agreements for most properties built before 1978.
- Landlord/agent identification –Georgia landlords must disclose their name and contact information and/or the names of authorized agents to tenants.
- Security deposit location – Georgia landlords must disclose the location of the escrow account holding the security deposit to the tenant.
- Flooding – If a Georgia property has flooded in the past, the landlord must notify prospective tenants of this in writing, or else they may be liable for damage caused by subsequent flooding.
- Move-in/move-out checklists – If a Georgia landlord owns more than ten rental units, they must provide tenants with a move-in checklist consisting of a comprehensive list of existing damages. When the lease ends, the landlord should again inspect the unit and compile a list of damages (move-out checklist).
Landlord Right to Entry
In Georgia, there are no specific laws governing when a landlord can enter a rental property. In general, landlords tend to give at least 24 hours’ notice to tenants before entering for a non-emergency reason. The landlord’s right to entry should be included and explained in all Georgia leases.
Repairs & Maintenance
The lease outlines how and when tenants should submit maintenance requests and clarifies the process for addressing necessary repairs. Every Georgia residential lease agreement should specify which maintenance responsibilities are the landlord’s and which are the tenant’s.
Lease Termination/Renewal Procedures
This section details the procedures for early lease termination and breaking the lease, including eviction processes. Specifically, the lease should clearly state how many days’ notice the tenant needs to provide the landlord to announce their intent to either renew or terminate the lease.
Additionally, a Georgia residential lease agreement should clearly describe what happens if the tenant breaks the lease. Before filing for eviction in Georgia, landlords must send eviction notices for nonpayment or lease violations. The notice the landlord will provide should be specified to the tenant so that both parties are clear on what will happen if the tenant fails to uphold the lease agreement.
Any specific community rules or regulations, such as policies on smoking, guests, and pets, are listed in this section. You may also include a Georgia sublease agreement if tenants are permitted to sublease their units.
Joint and Severability Clause
This clause is for leases with multiple roommates and explains the legal consequences if one party fails to fulfill their obligations. It ensures that the entire lease isn’t invalidated due to one roommate’s breach.
Both the landlord and tenant will sign the Georgia rental lease agreement either on paper or electronically, ensuring a secure and convenient process.
Georgia Lease Agreement Download
To make your leasing journey simpler, we offer a free, downloadable Georgia lease agreement template. This template is tailored to meet the specific requirements of Georgia state law, making it a valuable tool for landlords and tenants.
Understanding the nuances of a Georgia residential lease agreement is vital for a smooth and legal tenancy. We hope this guide has provided you with a clear understanding of the components of a Georgia lease. To get started on the right foot, download our free Georgia lease template and ensure a transparent, lawful, and satisfying rental experience.