The Georgia residential lease agreement (“rental agreement”) is a written contract for the exchange of the temporary use of the residential property for regular, periodic payments (“rent”). The parties involved in the agreement are known as the landlord (“lessor”) and the tenant (“lessee”).
Georgia Lease Agreement Disclosures
The following disclosures are either required for some or all residential lease agreements in Georgia.
There are also a number of optional disclosures and addendums that help reduce future conflicts and/or legal liability in Georgia.
Landlord’s Name & Address
Applicable to all rental units in Georgia.
Landlords, owners, or any authorized person who may act on the landlord’s behalf shall provide their name and address to the tenant. Generally, this information is disclosed in the rental agreement so future legal notices and demands that are sent by the tenant can be properly delivered. If there is any change of ownership or address changes, the tenant should be notified immediately.
Flooding Notice Disclosure
Applicable to any property with a history of flooding (three instances of damage within past five years).
Flooding is considered the inundation of a living space that was caused by an increased water level from an established water source (i.e., stream, river, ponding of water due to heavy rain, or a drainage ditch). Some parts of Georgia are at higher risk of flooding, so Georgia requires landlords to provide a disclosure in the form of a flooding notice when any property that is for rent has experienced at least three instances of damage to living spaces in the preceding five years from the date of the rental agreement. Otherwise, the landlord may be held responsible for damages.
Applicable to all rental units in Georgia that charge a security deposit.
Georgia landlords that intend to charge a security deposit are required to provide an inventory of the rental unit’s condition in the form of a move-in checklist. This checklist may be separate from the rental agreement. The checklist should include any present damage or specific furnishings that are included (such as appliances or furniture) that must be returned in the same state they were upon move-in.
Lead-Based Paint Disclosure
Applicable to any rental units built prior to 1978.
It is a federal law in the United States that any home built prior to 1978 must disclose the risks posed by lead-based paints. This law requires landlords in Georgia to:
- Fill out and attach this lead-based paint disclosure form to the lease agreement.
- Provide the tenant with an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved pamphlet about the dangers of lead-based paint.
- Provide additional records or reports about the presence or hazards of any known lead-based paint in the unit. For multi-unit buildings with common areas, this includes information from building-wide evaluations.
Optional Disclosures & Addendums (Recommended)
The following lease agreement disclosures and addendums are not required by Georgia law in residential lease agreements, but either help reduce future conflicts with tenants or reduce legal liability for landlords.
- Medical Marijuana Use – it is recommended to state where medical marijuana use is and isn’t allowed on the property so that expectations are clear. Georgia law allows landlords to restrict marijuana usage to non-smoking methods only or control where users can smoke to not interfere with other tenants.
- Late and Returned Check Fees – it is recommended that landlords disclose in the lease any late fees or returned (bounced) check fees that they intend to charge. Georgia does not limit how high these fees can be, but they should be considered reasonable (often no more than 10% of rent) and reflect the actual expenses incurred by the landlord because of a late payment. They must also be charged only after the agreed upon due date for rent, dictated in the rental agreement. Returned check fees may not exceed $30 or 5% of the check balance, whichever is greater.
- Shared Utilities Arrangements – for rental units with shared utilities, it is recommended to disclose the specifics of how they are shared, and how each party’s bill is calculated, so that tenants have a reasonable expectation of what they owe each month.
- Bed Bug Disclosure – for rental units with a history of infestation, it is recommended to provide information on the protocol for handling a bed bug infestation. This addendum will notify the tenant of their obligation to cooperate with bed bug prevention by promptly reporting any sign of infestation to the landlord.
- Asbestos Disclosure – for rental units built prior to 1981, asbestos was a common building material. This disclosure will notify the tenant to take certain precautions to minimize the chance of disturbing the asbestos fibers (i.e. no sanding, pounding, modifications or repairs, without the landlord’s consent). The disclosure will also notify the tenant of their obligation to immediately notify the landlord if any ceilings begin to deteriorate.
- Mold Disclosure – it is recommended to disclose the current mold status of a property in the rental agreement to protect against future liability of mold damages due to tenant negligence during the lease term.