Under Georgia law, leases and rental agreements can be oral, written or even implied. According to Georgia law, GA Code Title 44 Chapter 7 both landlords and tenants have rights and responsibilities. Landlords have the right to collect rental payments in a timely manner and the right to pursue eviction if the tenant is found to be found in violation of the rental agreement.
Tenants also have the right to pursue housing without discrimination and the right to a habitable dwelling, among other rights.
Note: These rights exist regardless of a rental agreement stating otherwise.
Landlord Responsibilities in Georgia
Georgia leases can either be written or oral and even be implied. Tenants and landlords have certain rights even when they are not included in a lease. Landlords are obligated to maintain the premises and keep them in good repair. Georgia tenants do not have the right to withhold rent but may repair and deduct the cost from the following month’s rent.
Local counties and municipalities in Georgia might have additional rights and responsibilities for landlords.
|Air Conditioning||Yes, if provided in the lease agreement|
|Pest Control||Not addressed|
These standards apply to single and multi-family homes. They also can apply to mobile homes when the same person or group owns the home and property that the home is on.
Failing to make appropriate repairs in a “reasonable” timeframe can be grounds for the tenant to remnant the lease.
Tenant Responsibilities in Georgia
Tenants also have responsibilities in Georgia. In Georgia, tenants must:
- Not cut or destroy growing trees.
- Not remove permanent fixtures.
- Not damage the property.
Evictions in Georgia
Georgia landlords can start the eviction process after providing a reason for eviction. Landlords can evict for the following reasons:
- Nonpayment of Rent – Georgia landlords can provide a Notice to Pay to a non-paying tenant. Georgia law doesn’t specify how much time tenants must be given in the notice.
- Violation of Lease Terms – Georgia landlords are not required to allow tenants to correct a lease violation, but they must provide tenants with a Notice to Quit. Georgia law doesn’t specify how much time tenants must be given in the notice.
- No Lease/End of Lease – Tenants who hold over or stay in the rental unit after the rental term has expired may be given a 60-Day Notice to Quit.
Landlords are not allowed to evict for discriminatory reasons against a protected class. Landlords also cannot evict as retaliation for reporting health or safety code violations
Security Deposits in Georgia
Collections & Holdings. The following laws apply to the collection and holding of a security deposit.
- Limit / Maximum –None
- Inventory / Move-in Checklist – Required
- Holding Requirement – Landlords must hold deposits in an escrow account or post a bond
- Interest Requirement – None
- Receipt Requirement – None
Returns & Deductions. The following laws apply to the return of a security deposit.
- Allowable Deductions – Unpaid rent, utilities, late rent/pet fees, physical damage, costs due to abandonment or a breach of the lease, cleaning costs
- Time Limit for Return –30 days
- Max. Penalty for Late Return –3x amount wrongfully withheld plus attorneys’ fees
Normal Wear and Tear in Georgia
Normal wear and tear refers to the effects of aging and normal depreciation. This is different from damage resulting from the tenant’s negligence. Landlords are not allowed to charge tenants for normal wear and tear.
Georgia state law describes “Ordinary Wear and Tear” as deterioration that occurs from the “use of the premises for the purposes for which the premises were intended.” However, the law does not provide any specific examples. Common examples include the general wearing of carpets, fading paint from sunlight, minor scuffs, or dirty grout.
Lease Termination in Georgia
Landlords and tenants in Georgia have different notice requirements. Landlords must always give 60-days’ notice to terminate any lease.
|Rent Payment Frequency||Notice Needed|
Tenants, on the other hand, only need to provide 30 days’ notice in both cases.
Early termination: Tenants can legally terminate a lease early for the following reasons:
- Active military duty
- Unit is uninhabitable
- Landlord harassment
- Domestic violence
- Prior early termination lease clause
Tenants may still be liable for paying the remainder of their lease after legally breaking it. Georgia landlords are not mandated to fill vacant rental spots in a timely and reasonable manner.
Rent Increases & Related Fees in Georgia
Rent Control. Georgia does not have rent control and state law prohibits cities and towns from creating their own rent control laws.
Rent Increases. Georgia landlords can raise the rent by any amount, as often as they choose, but they must comply with:
- Discrimination laws
- Retaliation laws
- Lease agreement
- Notice requirements
Increase Notice Period. 60 days
Rent Collection and Fees. The following laws apply to the collection of rent and related fees.
- Grace Period – None
- Maximum Late Fee – No limit, except it must be reasonable
- Rent Payment Methods – No statute
- Rent Receipt – Not required
Housing Discrimination in Georgia
Protected groups. The Fair Housing Act prohibits landlords from discriminating against renters due to their membership in a protected class. These rules do not apply to all landlords, such as owner-occupied homes or houses operated by religious organizations.
Georgia does not have any additional protections for groups not covered in the Fair Housing Act. However, the state’s Department of Community Affairs provides some protections for non-statutorily protected individuals on a case-by-case basis.
Discriminatory acts. Acts considered discriminatory when directed against a protected group include:
- Refusing to rent or sell housing on a bona fide offer
- Lying about unit availability
- Offering differing lease terms or privileges
- Threatening or intimidating tenants
- Refusing to accept “reasonable” accommodations
- “Steering” tenants into specific neighborhoods.
There are no codified legal penalties for discrimination in Georgia housing.
Additional Landlord Tenant Regulations in Georgia
Landlord Right to Entry in Georgia
Landlords and tenants are free to set entry justification and notification terms in individual leases. Landlords are generally assumed to have the right to entry in emergencies.
Small Claims Court in Georgia
Landlords and tenants can file cases in Small Claims Court to settle minor disputes without hiring an attorney if the amount claimed is less than $15,000. Georgia Small Claims Court is a division of Magistrate Court. The process takes approximately two to four months.
Mandatory Disclosures in Georgia
Georgia law requires that landlords disclose the following information:
- Lead-Based Paint – Houses built before 1978 must disclose concentrations of lead paint used.
- Authorized authorities – Landlords must provide names and addresses of any and all property owners or managers. If any of these people change, tenants must be notified in writing.
- Flooding Risk – Landlords must disclose if a house has flooded three or more times in the past five years.
- Move-In Checklist – Landlords must provide tenants with a move-in checklist if they charge a security deposit.
Changing locks in Georgia
Tenants are technically free to change their own locks unless their lease states otherwise. Landlords, however, cannot unilaterally change locks as they are prohibited from “lockouts.”
Georgia Landlord-Tenant Resources
Please check local county and municipality laws for additional rules and protections for both landlords and tenants.
Georgia Landlord Tenant Handbook – This handbook is written by the Department of Community Affairs and provides general guidance for both tenants and landlords.
Georgia Legal Aid – This is a tenant-oriented legal aid for Georgia renters that are looking for legal solutions to landlord misbehavior.
The Georgia Fair Housing Act – This pamphlet breaks down the state’s rules on discrimination and what actions are considered discrimination.
- 1 Unless lease states otherwise
Unless lease states otherwise