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Georgia Landlord-Tenant Laws

Georgia Landlord Tenant LawsThis article is intended to be an online resource for Georgia landlords.  We summarize key Georgia Landlord-Tenant laws that are most applicable to residential rental units.

This article is not qualified legal advice.  Individuals seeking guidance need to work with a legal advisor who is qualified in the jurisdiction.  Georgia Landlord Tenant Laws and statutes may vary from county to county or city to city, this article provides state level laws and statutes. 

Also, laws and statutes are subject to change and may cause sections of this article to be outdated.  We provide links to assist landlords and tenants to the state statute page for further research.

Click here if you are seeking renters insurance in Georgia.

 

Quick Facts for Real Estate Investors Considering Georgia

Georgia landlord-tenant laws are considered Landlord-friendly.

There are 10.6 million residents in Georgia.  Major metropolitan markets in Georgia are:

  1. Atlanta: Estimated population of 6,020,364, which 37% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $1,115.
  2. Augusta: Estimated population of 608,980, which 33% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $814.
  3. Savannah: Estimated population of 393,353, which 40% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $1,031.
  4. Columbus: Estimated population of 321,041, which 46% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $807.
  5. Macon: Estimated population of 229,996, which 39% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $778.
  6. Athens: Estimated population of 213,750, which 45% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $844.
  7. Gainesville: Estimated population of 204,441, which 30% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $892.
  8. Warner Robins: Estimated population of 185,409, which 35% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $866.
  9. Valdosta: Estimated population of 147,292, which 46% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $771.
  10. Albany: Estimated population of 149,126, which 48% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $696.
  11. Dalton: Estimated population of 144,724, which 38% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $694.
  12. Brunswick: Estimated population of 118,779, which 29% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $864.
  13. Rome: Estimated population of 98,498, which 37% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $750.

 

Jump to Different Georgia Landlord Tenant Laws

 

 

 

 

SECURITY DEPOSIT LAWS IN GEORGIA

 

Does Georgia require security deposits? 

Georgia does not require security deposits.

 

Is a security deposit receipt required in Georgia? 

Georgia does not require landlords to provide a receipt of security deposit.

 

How much security deposit can a landlord charge in Georgia? 

In Georgia, there is no statute stating a maximum.

 

 

Storage Requirements for Security Deposits in Georgia: 

Landlords must keep the deposit in an escrow account at a federally-regulated banking or lending institution.  Tenant must be informed in writing of the location of the escrow account.  (Georgia Code Ann. § 44-7-31)

 

 

Can security deposits be commingled with other assets in Georgia? 

Landlords are not allowed to commingle.

 

Do landlords have to pay interest on security deposits in Georgia? 

Landlords are not required to pay interest to the tenants.  

 

When must a landlord return the deposit by in Georgia? 

In Georgia, landlords have 30 days to return the security deposit, if the tenant is due a full refund.  Or, within 3 days when repairs or expenses are withdrawn from the deposit.  (O.C.G.A §§ 44-7-33) (Georgia Code Ann. § 44-7-34)

 

When can a landlord in Georgia withhold security deposit?

At the end of a lease, the landlord is required to return the tenant’s security deposit.  However, landlords may withhold all or portions of a tenant’s security deposit if  (83.49 (3a)):

 

  • Unpaid rent and/or fees
  • Unpaid utilities
  • Any damages caused by the violation of lease agreement
  • Loss rent from abandonment of property
  • Damage in excess of normal wear and tear

 

 

 

Nonrefundable fees: 

Landlords are allowed to accept nonrefundable fees, but they cannot be part of security deposit and must be stated in the rental agreement.  (Georgia Code Ann. § 44-7-30)

 

Pet Deposits and Additional Fees:

Georgia includes pet deposits under their definition of ‘security deposit’.  Landlords are allowed to request a pet deposit.  (Georgia Code Ann. § 44-7-30)

 

Require written description / itemized list of damages and charges?

Georgia Landlord-Tenant laws state different requirements based on the quantity of units owned and management.

Owner with 10 or less units, or hires manager for fee:  Landlords must provide a pre-move-in inspection list of existing damages.  Landlords must provide a written notice within 3 days after the tenant moved out.  Georgia Code Ann. § 44-7-33)

Owners with 10 or more units and self-manages:  Pre-existing conditions list does not apply.  (Georgia Code Ann. § 44-7-36)

 

What happens to Georgia landlords that fail to comply returning the security deposit?

Landlords that failure to provide a written itemized list returned by the deadline forfeit their right to impose a claim upon the security deposit and can be liable for three times the sum improperly withheld, plus reasonable attorney’s fees.  Landlords who fail to keep security deposit in a legal escrow account or surety bond forfeit their rights to without costs for actual damages.  (Georgia Code Ann. § 44-7-35)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RENTAL AGREEMENT LAWS IN GEORGIA

 

Rental agreements required in Georgia:

Rental agreements are required for leases 12 months or longer.  We always recommend having a legal lease agreement to prevent future complications.

If you need a lease, Burbz offers an online Georgia rental lease agreement.

 

What are the required lease provisions in Georgia?

Georgia does not requires certain provisions to be included in the lease agreement.  Besides both the landlord and tenant names, the landlord should also list:

  • Rent Amount and Due Date
  • Security deposit amount and terms
  • Process for requesting maintenance and repairs
  • Length of the lease agreement
  • Subleasing policy
  • Late Fees and Penalties
  • Landlord’s responsibilities for maintenance and utilities
  • Tenant’s responsibilities for maintenance and utilities
  • Pet policies
  • Cleaning Fees
  • Other fees

 

Landlords cannot include:

  • Tenants waiving any of their rights under Georgia’s Landlord-Tenant statutes
  • Tenant waiving the landlord’s responsibility for repairs and improvements
  • Tenants waiving the landlord’s liability for failure to repair
  • Ordinances adopted pursuant to Code Section 36-61-11
  • Article 3: relating to proceedings against tenants hold over
  • Article 4: relating to distress warrants
  • Article 2: relating to security deposits

According to (Georgia Code Ann. § 44-7-2)

 

 

What are the rental agreement notice requirements in Georgia: 

Fixed-End or Year-to-Year: No Statute.  Lease simply expires upon the date in the lease agreement.

Month-to-Month: Landlords must provide at least a 60 day notice.  Tenants must provide at least a 30 day notice.  (Georgia Code Ann. § 44-7-7)

Week-to-Week: No Statute.  Typically each party should provide at least a 7 day notice as a courtesy.

 

 

What happens when the tenant remains without consent after the rental agreement expires or terminates?

Landlords may pursue a summary remedy pursuant to Article 3(Georgia Code Ann. § 44-7-10)

 

 

Does the lease automatically renew in Georgia? 

No Statute.  Lease agreements expire.

 

Rent Increase Notice:

No Statute.

 

Rent Grace Period for Residential:

Georgia does not have grace periods for rent payments.  Landlords may charge late fees the day after the rent due date.

 

Rent Grace Period for Manufactured Homes:

No Statute specifically for manufactured homes.  Follow the residential grace period.

 

 

Prepaid Rent:

No Statute.  Landlords may accept prepaid rent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

LATE FEES AND LIMITS IN GEORGIA

Late Fees for Residential:

Landlords are allowed to charge late fees. No statutes limiting fees.  (Georgia Code Ann. § 44-7-16) states: all contracts for rent shall bear interest from the time the rent is due.

 

Late Fees for Manufactured Homes:

No Statute specifically for manufactured homes.

 

 

 

Limits to late fees in Georgia:

No statute.

 

 

GEORGIA LEASE TERMINATIONS / NOTICES TO QUIT

 

In Georgia, lease agreements between landlords and tenants can be terminated.  Read our blog for landlords about handling early lease terminations.  Here are the cause and effects:

 

What is the Pay or Quit for Nonpayment requirement in Georgia?

Georgia requires a 7 day notice to pay rent, providing a Pay-Or-Quit Notice.  This notice can be sent the day after rent was due. (Georgia Code Ann. § 44-7-50) (Georgia Code Ann. § 44-7-52)

 

How many days must a landlord allow before terminating for a Lease Violation?

Georgia does not have a statute stating.

 

 

Georgia allows immediate lease termination if the tenant is responsible for:

No Statute.

 

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How many days when terminating for illegal drug-related activities?

No Statute.

 

 

 

 

GEORGIA LAWS ON REPAIRS

 

Georgia requires landlords provide a habitable property for tenants to live and enjoy.  There are specific provisions defining how tenants can remedy repairs if the landlord fails to do so.  

How many days must the tenant give for non-emergency repairs? 

Tenants do not have to provide written notice, but it is encouraged to send written notice for records.  Landlords are allowed a ‘reasonable amount of time’ to make the repairs.

 

Can tenant withhold rent for landlords’ failure to provide essential services (i.e. water, heat, etc.)?

Tenants may not without rent if they state so in the written notice.  Tenants can withdraw costs of repairs from their next monthly rent payment.  Tenants need to provide proper notification they will be handling the repairs if the landlord has not done so, then provide receipts.

 

 

If the landlord fails to take necessary action, then the tenants can legally:

Tenant may remedy the situation with any of the following options:

  • Reduce rent by cost of repairs

 

 

 

GEORGIA LANDLORD RESPONSIBILITIES

What must the landlord provide in good and working order?

Georgia defines certain responsibilities for landlords, including ( 83.51):

 

Do landlords have to provide appliances and services?

No Statute.

 

 

 

 

GEORGIA TENANT LAWS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

 

Tenant must maintain a fit and habitable premise and is prohibited from intentionally or negligently damaging or removing any part of the premise.  Tenants must conduct themselves and others in a manner not to disturb the neighbor’s peaceful enjoyment of their premises. 

 

 

 

 

 

GEORGIA EVICTION LAWS

 

Georgia requires a landlord to file a Writ of Possession, which allows the tenant to pay rent in 7 Days or face eviction court.

Landlords may evict tenants for the following:

  • Unpaid rent
  • Breach of lease agreement
  • Tenants actions causing physical damage to the premise
  • Tenant is holding over after the lease expired

 

Can landlords do a ‘self help’ eviction?

In Georgia, it is illegal for landlords to attempt to evict a tenant not through a court order.

Are landlords allowed to lock out tenants by changing locks?

Landlords cannot change locks. 

Are landlords allowed to turn off utilities?

Landlords cannot turn off utilities.  There is a $500 fee for doing so. (Georgia Code Ann. § 44-7-52)

Tenants may not be evicted for non-payment of rent if:

No Statute

 

 

Do landlords have to make a reasonable attempt to mitigate damages when re-renting the rental unit?

Yes.  Statute only states precluding the landlord if they attempted to mitigate the actual damages.  (Georgia Code Ann. § 44-7-52)

 

 

GEORGIA LAWS ON RETALIATION

 

Georgia laws does not state any provisions on retaliation.

 

 

 

 

 

LAWS ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, SEXUAL MISCONDUCT, AND SEXUAL ASSAULT

 

Georgia has no statutes to protect a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, rape or stalking.  Burbz encourages landlords to work with these victims in good faith and help prevent or reduce the situation.  This includes changing locks or letting the victim out of their lease agreement to find a safer home.

 

 

 

GEORGIA LAWS FOR LOCKS AND LANDLORDS

 

Are landlords requested to change locks before new tenants:

No Statute.  Before new tenants moves in, landlords are not required to change the locks.  It is always recommended to do so.

 

 

Are landlords required to install any specific security device:

No Statute.

 

 

Do landlords have to change locks for domestic violence victims:

No Statute.

 

 

 

 

 

GEORGIA PET LAWS & PET POLICIES

Georgia Landlord-Tenant Laws does not have any specific pet laws.  Landlords are legally allowed to create their own pet policies and requirements.  Including tolerance for breeds, size, types, and more.  Read our guide to pet policies.

 

 

Any limitations on pets that landlords can impose?

No Statute.

 

 

What are the max pet deposits in Georgia:

No Statute for max deposits.  Landlords can also charge non-refundable fees.   Deposits follow the same provisions as security deposits regarding interest earned.

 

 

 

 

DO LANDLORDS IN GEORGIA NEED A RENTAL LICENSE?

 

According to Georgia Landlord-Tenant Laws, landlords do not need a rental license in Georgia.

Landlords and owner of a residential rental property do not need to register the property.  Local cities may have different requirements, we recommend you research the local city specific laws.

 

 

 

 

 

NOTICE OF ENTRY LAWS IN GEORGIA

Do landlords in Georgia have to provide notice of entry? 

Georgia does not require landlords to provide a notice.  It is recommended that landlords provide 24 hours’ notice for normal circumstances entry.    This includes:

  • Non-emergency maintenance and repairs
  • Improvements to property
  • Inspections
  • Showing prospective tenants, contractors, mortgagees or buyers
  • Tenant has been absent from property for one-half of the periodic rental payment

 

When can a landlord enter without notice:

Due to an emergency.

 

 

Can landlords enter for non-emergency maintenance and repairs?

No Statute.

 

 

Can landlords enter for showings?

No Statute.

 

 

 

Can landlords enter for emergencies without notice?

No Statute.

 

 

Can landlords enter during Tenant’s extended absence?

No Statute.

 

 

Can landlords enter for pesticide use?

No Statute.

 

 

 

 

GEORGIA SUBLEASE AND ASSIGNMENT PROVISIONS

Is subleasing permitted?

Yes, there is no statute preventing subleasing.

 

 

Do you need the landlord consent?

If the lease includes a clause stating the landlord allows or requires consent.

 

 

Can the LL / lease prohibit subletting?

Yes, there is no statute.  Landlords should include language in their rental agreement to prohibit without approval.

 

 

 

 

TENANT ABANDONED PROPERTY IN GEORGIA

 

Georgia Landlord-Tenant Laws does specific procedures that landlords must follow when tenants leave belongings.  Landlords can request a judgement for write of possession if they think the property is abandoned, the tenant has 7 days to respond.  (Georgia Code Ann. § 44-7-55)

 

How long must landlords hold Tenant’s personal property?

Any writ of possession issued shall not make the landlord responsible for the personal property and owe no duty to the tenant regarding such personal property.  (Georgia Code Ann. § 44-7-55)

 

How long notice must landlords give if law enforcement has legally locked them out?

No Statute. 

 

Can the landlords sell property to pay for outstanding debts?

No Statute.  

 

What happens to excess proceeds?

No Statute.

 

How long must landlords keep records of the sale for?

No Statute.  We recommend keeping records for at least 1 year to be safe.

 

Landlord must store the tenant’s abandoned property where:

No Statute.

 

 

 

Are the landlords liable for damage?

Landlords are not liable or owe duty for tenants personal property.  (Georgia Code Ann. § 44-7-55)

 

 

 

REQUIRED RENTAL AGREEMENT DISCLOSURES FOR GEORGIA LEASES

 

Georgia Landlord-Tenant Laws requires the following be included with all Rental Agreement Disclosures:

 

Lead Paint Disclosure:  Yes.  Federal law requires every landlord to disclose known information on lead-based paint and hazards.  Landlords must provide this EPA-approved pamphlet.

 

 

 

 

HELPFUL RESOURCES

Georgia Code Ann. §§ 44-7 – Landlord and Tenant

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Georgia

Georgia Real Estate Commission

Georgia Insurance Division

Georgia Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection

Consumer Protection – Landlord-Tenant Issues

 

 

GEORGIA RELATED COURT INFO & LINKS

Georgia Small Claims Court Limits:

$15,000 is the limit for small claims court.  (Georgia Code Ann. § 15-10-2)

Georgia Small Claims Court (Magistrate Court)

 

Georgia Eviction Cases Allowed in Small Claims:

Yes

 

Georgia Attorney General

State Bar of Georgia

Georgia Local and Voluntary Bars

Georgia Administrative Office of the Courts

 

 

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