Georgia Security Deposit Collections & Holdings

Georgia Security Deposit Collections & Holdings

Last Updated: January 5, 2023 by Ashley Porter

Quick Facts Answer
Maximum / Limit No Limit
Receipt Requirement None
Inventory Requirement Required
Interest Requirement None

To learn about laws on security deposit returns in Georgia, click here.

Maximum Security Deposit Allowed in Georgia

There is no limit on how much a landlord can collect for a security deposit in Georgia. While other states impose a maximum security deposit limit, such as one month’s rent, Georgia does not.

Can Landlords Charge an Additional Pet Deposit in Georgia?

Yes, landlords can collect an additional pet deposit in Georgia, except for service dogs and emotional support animals.

In Georgia, the definition of “security deposit” includes other refundable deposits, like a pet deposit. If a landlord collects a pet deposit, it must be treated according to the same rules as a security deposit.

How Much Rent Can a Landlord Collect Upfront in Georgia?

There is no limit on the amount of rent that can be collected upfront in Georgia. Many states have a limit on the amount of rent that can be collected at once, but Georgia does not.

Security Deposit Collections in Georgia

When landlords collect a security deposit in Georgia, they must provide the tenant with a comprehensive list of existing damage to the rental unit and give them the option to complete an inspection. They must also do one of the following:

  • Place the security deposit in an escrow account and notify the tenant in writing
  • Post a surety bond

Rental units are exempt  from these responsibilities if all of the following are true:

  • The landlord is an individual (i.e. not a company or business entity)
  • The total number of rental units the landlord owns collectively with their immediate family is ten or fewer rental units
  • The landlord does not pay a fee to use a management service to rent out units, including rent collection services

In Atlanta, there are additional responsibilities if the following are true:

  • The landlord leases eleven or more rental units
  • The security deposit is more than 60% of one month’s rent
  • The deposit is not collected 60 days or earlier before the lease term to secure the rental unit

In this case, the Atlanta landlord must provide these two options  to the tenant in writing in lieu of paying the security deposit in one upfront payment:

  • Pay the security deposit in three equal installments
  • Purchase security deposit insurance

Check your local laws to determine if there are additional security deposit rules in your area.

Do Landlords Have to Provide a Receipt for the Security Deposit in Georgia?

While landlords in Georgia must inform the tenants in writing if the security deposit is placed in an escrow account, an additional receipt of the deposit is not required to be provided.

What Obligations Do Landlords Have to Establish the Condition at Move-in in Georgia?

In Georgia, landlords must provide the tenant with a comprehensive list of the existing damage to the rental unit (if any). The tenant must have the opportunity to inspect the unit and either:

  • Sign with the landlord to agree with the list
  • Submit a signed statement of disagreement with all or a portion of the list

However, there are some exemptions to this responsibility when the landlord is an individual and they, together with their immediate family, own ten or fewer rental units.

Security Deposit Holdings in Georgia

Landlords in Georgia must hold security deposits in one of two places: an escrow account or by posting a surety bond.

Option 1: Escrow Account. The landlord may place the security deposit in a state or federally-regulated account. The account must only be used for security deposits.

Option 2: Surety Bond. The landlord may post a surety bond issued by a company authorized to do business in Georgia and posted with the clerk of the Superior Court in the county where the property is located. The amount of the bond must be the total amount of all security deposits held by the landlord or $50,000, whichever is less.

Exemption: The landlord is an individual (not a corporation, partnership, etc.) and they own ten or fewer rental units, together with their immediate family. In that case, they are exempt from this rule unless they hire a company to manage the units and/or collect rent.

Are Tenants Entitled to Interest on Their Security Deposit in Georgia?

Landlords in Georgia do not owe interest on security deposits. If the landlord holds the security deposit in an account that gains interest, they may choose whether or not to credit the tenant.

How Are Security Deposits Accounted for in Georgia?

Security deposits are not considered taxable income when they are collected.

What Happens to a Security Deposit When the Property is Sold in Georgia?

There is no state statute for the treatment of security deposits after the sale of a property. However, the security deposit belongs to the tenant and must be returned to them at the end of the lease term if no deductions can be made.

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