Georgia Landlord Tenant Laws
February 28, 2023
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Security deposit location
Death on premises
Rent and Fees
Application Fees: Permitted
Rent Control: Banned
Late Fee Limit: N/A
Grace Period Minimum: N/A
Amount Limit: N/A
Return Within: 30 days
|Fair Housing Protections
Permitted Times of Entry: N/A
Rent Demand Notice: Unspecified written notice
Lease Violation Notice: Unspecified written notice
Unconditional Notice to Quit: Immediate
Nonrenewal Notice: 60 days
Military service members have special protections as tenants in Georgia.
Georgia Landlord-Tenant Law
Landlords in all 50 states must include information about lead-based paint hazards in the rental agreements for most properties built before 1978. Sellers and landlords must distribute an EPA-approved information pamphlet called “Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home” and disclose any known lead hazards in the property. These obligations were established by Section 1018 of the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992.
The landlord, agent, or other person authorized to enter into a rental agreement on behalf of the landlord must disclose the names of the owner and/or their authorized agents to tenants. The landlord should also notify tenants in writing of any change in names or addresses within 30 days after the change.
Security Deposit Location
According to Georgia security deposit law, landlords must provide tenants with written notice of the location of the escrow account holding their security deposit.
Death on Premises
If a prospective tenant asks whether any deaths have occurred on the premises, the landlord must answer truthfully. If not asked, the landlord is not required to disclose this information.
If a landlord’s property has flooded in the past or if flooding has caused any damage to the living space, the landlord must notify prospective tenants in writing. If the landlord does not disclose previous flooding, they are liable for any damage caused to the tenants’ personal property by flooding that occurs during the lease term.
If a landlord owns more than ten rental units, they must provide tenants with a comprehensive list of existing damages to the premises before collecting a security deposit. The tenant also has the right to inspect the premises to verify that the list is accurate before signing it with the landlord.
At the termination of the lease, the landlord or agent must inspect the premises and again compile a list of damages, which the landlord will then use to withhold part of the security deposit based on the estimated dollar value of damages not present on the move-in checklist.
Rent and Fees
- Rent Due Date: No statute in Georgia specifies when rent should be due. Unless the rental agreement says otherwise, rent is generally due on the first of the month.
- Application Fees: Rental application fees are not regulated in Georgia.
- Rent Increases: Rent control is banned in Georgia. Laws that regulate the amount of rent to be charged for single-family or multiple-unit residential rental properties are strictly prohibited. This means landlords are free to increase rent as they see fit (OCGA § 44-7-19).
- Late Fees: There are no statutory limits on late fees in Georgia.
- Grace Period: There is no required grace period in Georgia.
- NSF/Bounced Check Fee Maximum: If the tenant’s rent check bounces, the landlord may charge an NSF fee of $30 or 5% of the check amount, whichever is greater, plus the sum of any additional fees charged by a bank or financial institution as a result of the check’s not being honored (OCGA § 13-6-15).
- Repair and Deduct: If the landlord refuses to make a necessary repair within a reasonable amount of time, tenants may hire a qualified and licensed professional to make the repair and deduct the cost from future rent payments. Tenants must notify the landlord in writing of their plan to use repair-and-deduct before arranging for the repair and must also keep copies of all receipts and records. Tenants’ right to repair and deduct is not codified, but generally upheld by the courts and listed on page 10 of the Georgia Landlord-Tenant Handbook.
- Deposit Limit: There is no limit on security deposit amounts in Georgia.
- Interest: Georgia landlords are not required to pay interest on security deposits.
- Return Within: 30 days (OCGA § 44-7-34).
- Deposit Location: If the landlord owns more than ten rental units, they must keep security deposits in a bank escrow account established only for that purpose (OCGA § 44-7-31). As an alternative to the escrow account, landlords may also post and maintain a surety bond with the clerk of the superior court in the county where the property is located (OCGA § 44-7-32).
- Withholding: Georgia landlords may withhold funds from the security deposit for repairs, unpaid rent or late fees, pet damages, abandonment of the premises, nonpayment of utility charges, repairs, or cleaning. Ordinary wear and tear is not grounds for withholding funds, provided there was no obvious negligence, carelessness, accidents, or abuse of the property by the tenant or tenant’s guests. If the landlord does withhold funds, they must provide a written statement itemizing the reasons for the retention, including a list of damages (OCGA § 44-7-34).
Tenant Screening and Fair Housing Protections
- Federal law prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, gender, national origin, familial status, and disability (Title 24 USC § 3601-3607). Georgia state law reaffirms these protections (OCGA § 8-3-202). For help assessing whether your tenant screening policies meet fair housing protocols, see fair housing act lawyers or an attorney who deals with landlord-tenant law.
- Georgia landlords are subject to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) (15 USC § 1681), which outlines the responsibilities of landlords to protect tenant credit information. According to the Act, landlords may not share tenant credit information with anyone without a legal reason to view it. They must also investigate disputed information, dispose of credit reports after use in tenant screening, and notify applicants when their credit score or history was the reason for their denial.
- Criminal background checks may be used during tenant screening in Georgia.
- Georgia landlords should follow HUD recommendations for using criminal background checks fairly. This includes avoiding blanket policies for denying applicants with criminal convictions, assessing applicants and their criminal histories on a case-by-case basis, and only denying an applicant when they demonstrate a risk to the safety of other residents or the property.
- Advanced Notice: No state law in Georgia requires landlords to give advance notice before entering a property.
- Permitted Times: Georgia state law does not designate any time-of-day restrictions for entering.
- Emergency Entry: There are no laws in Georgia regarding emergency entry without notice.
Evictions are complex legal processes often poorly understood by both parties. Before pursuing eviction in Georgia, consider hiring an experienced real estate attorney and be sure to review the Georgia eviction process in more detail.
- Rent Demand Notice: Unspecified notice to pay or quit. According to Georgia laws on eviction, landlords may serve a pay-or-quit notice and file for eviction the day immediately following the day rent was due. Written notice is required, but there is no specified amount required (OCGA § 44-7-50).
- Notice for Lease Violation: Unspecified notice to cure or quit. Georgia law also does not specify how much time landlords should give tenants to fix a violation before filing for eviction. However, landlords should generally provide written notice and a reasonable period to cure the violation, as well as specifying the policy they follow in the lease agreement (OCGA § 44-7-50).
- Unconditional Notice to Quit: Immediate. If a tenant breaks the law or commits a severe violation, the landlord can file for eviction immediately thereafter.
- Nonrenewal Notice: If the landlord wishes to terminate the tenancy once the term ends, they must give the tenant at least 60 days’ written notice (OCGA § 44-7-7).
Other Laws and Facts About Georgia
- The median rent rate in Georgia is $1,999.
- The median rent rate in Atlanta is $2,260.
- Military service members in Georgia have special protections as tenants. For instance, they are afforded some rent relief, may postpone court proceedings, and may relocate and terminate the lease early without penalty to meet service requirements. See page 19 of the Georgia Landlord-Tenant Handbook for a description of these protections.