Georgia Habitability Laws

Georgia landlord-tenant law governs all related issues in the state. Read further to learn what landlords are responsible for providing and how long they have to make repairs. Learn how tenants should request maintenance and how habitability applies to damages and security deposits. 

Quick Facts for Georgia

Who Does The Warranty of Habitability Apply To?

The Warranty of Habitability in Delaware applies to short-term and long-term rental properties that are single-family or multi-family dwellings. Condos are not covered under habitability laws.

How Long Do Tenants Have to Make Repairs?

Landlords must give tenants written notice of damages to the property that they must fix; if they do not comply, the landlord may evict the tenant or deduct the cost of damages from the security deposit.

What Are Tenants Responsible For?

Tenants are required to keep the rental reasonably clean; landlords can ask a tenant to clean up if they are not doing so. Tenants may use their security deposit to pay for repairs.

What are Landlords Responsible For Providing?

Running water, working HVAC equipment, plumbing, electrical, sanitation facilities, and elevators (in buildings that have them), as well as a trash can (for trash pickup services). >Landlords must provide flood disclosures, when applicable, to prospective tenants.

How Long Do Landlords Have to Fix Something?

Landlords must make repairs within a “reasonable time” after receiving a written request from tenants. Tenants must provide landlords with access to the rental property to make these repairs.

Georgia law governs all landlord/tenant issues in the state.  The following chart lays out which types of rental units the law applies to.

Understanding the Law


In Georgia, landlords are responsible for ensuring that any common areas of rented or leased multifamily properties are clean and safe. 

NOTE

For all residential properties, landlords are required to make and pay for any repairs to make the unit livable that are not caused by the tenant. 

Tenants are required to pay for any repairs caused by their own negligence or intentional acts, which may come out of the security deposit.

Rental agreements are not allowed to include any provisions that waive the tenant’s right to live in a habitable residence. 

Landlord Responsibilities

The following chart lists common landlord responsibilities when it comes to habitability.  Not all of them are requirements in Georgia, as indicated below.

*Items not addressed at the state level are often enforced in local housing codes.  Check with your local government agency to see which additional requirements may apply.

Flood Disclosure

If the property has been flooded at least three times within the past five years, the landlord must disclose this to potential tenants or be liable for any damages to the tenant’s personal property caused by flooding.

Lead-based Paint Disclosure

For rental units built prior to 1978, the landlord must disclose the potential for lead-based paint in the unit before tenants sign the rental agreement. 

Landlords must also provide tenants the “Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home” booklet prior to signing the lease.

Additionally, a lead-based paint warning must be included in the written lease agreement.  However, the landlord is not required to remove any lead-based paint on the premises. 

Addressing Habitability Issues

For any repairs the landlord makes due to the tenant’s actions, the landlord can:

  • Use the tenant’s security deposit to pay for any damage to the property when the tenant moves out.
  • Charge tenants for repairing the damages.
  • Evict the tenant.

Tenant Repair Requests

NOTE

If tenants request repairs, they must put their request in writing to the landlord.

If the landlord fails to make the requested repairs within a “reasonable” time period, a tenant has the right to:

  • Repair the issue themselves and deduct a reasonable amount for the repair from the following month’s rent.
  • Pursue legal action for damages.

Landlord Access

Tenants are required to give the landlord access to the property to make necessary repairs.

Tenants are not required to give the landlord access to the property to make necessary repairs unless specifically stated in the lease.

Failure to Provide the “Essentials”

If a landlord intentionally or negligently fails to provide heat, water, electricity, and/or other “essentials,” tenants are allowed to:

  • Pay for any necessary utilities themselves.
  • Move out without owing any further rent.
  • Pursue legal action.  Landlords may be fined up to $500 in addition to any other damages awarded.

Retaliation

NOTE

Retaliation against tenants for requesting repairs that affect habitability is illegal under Georgia law, effective May 2019

Landlords who retaliate against their tenants will be required to pay the tenant one month’s rent plus $500 plus any attorney fees/court costs.

Security Deposits and Repairs

Finally, if the costs for any repairs were taken out of the tenant’s security deposit, the landlord is required to provide an estimate for the repairs to be withheld from the deposit within 30 days of the lease’s termination, or the landlord will owe the tenant three times the amount wrongly withheld.

Note that this requirement only applies to landlords with ten or more rental units or who use a professional management company. 

Sources

  1. State of Georgia, “Georgia Landlord Tenant Handbook.”
  2. Georgia Annotated Code, Title 44, Chapter 7, Landlord and Tenant.
  3. Georgia Legal Aid, “Georgia Landlord Tenant Handbook.”