In the state of Georgia, a lease between a landlord and tenant is established in either of three ways: orally, through implication, or in a written agreement.
Once established, Georgia landlord-tenant law (GA Code Title 44 Chapter 7) automatically kicks in and gives both parties certain rights and responsibilities.
At Rent Appeal, we believe it is critical for landlords to understand the laws that govern their property. So, we have put together this article to help you learn about the basics of Georgia landlord-tenant law.
Required Landlord Disclosures in Georgia
Tenants have a right to certain information before moving into a rental. In Georgia, you must provide your prospective tenants with the following disclosures:
- Information regarding the use of lead-based paint: This is a federal law and only applies to rentals built before 1978.
- Information regarding the names and addresses of the property owner or the person tasked with managing the property. You must also again notify your tenant in writing if such persons change in the future.
- Information regarding the risk of flooding in the area. But this disclosure is only mandatory if flooding has occurred at least 3 times within 5 years.
- You must also provide your tenant with a move-in checklist if you charge a security deposit.
Georgia Tenant Rights & Responsibilities
The statewide Georgia landlord-tenant laws give your tenants the following rights. A right to:
- Live free from any form of discrimination on the basis of a protected class.
- Live in a habitable dwelling as per the warranty of habitability laws in Georgia.
- Be removed from the unit through the judicial eviction process.
- The return of their security deposit within a period of 30 days after moving out, minus any legally justifiable deductions.
- Have any repairs they request made within a reasonable period of time.
- Live in peace and quiet as per the requirements of the Implied Warranty of Habitability.
The list of responsibilities includes the following for tenants in Georgia.
- Keeping their rented premises clean, sanitary, and away from any potential hazards that may impact the unit’s habitability.
- Maintain the unit in a good standard of cleanliness as may be specified in the lease agreement.
- Respect the peace and quiet of other neighbors by not causing unreasonable disturbances or annoyances.
- Bring the landlord’s attention to any dangerous conditions or maintenance issues as quickly as they notice them.
- Reasonably use all facilities for their intended purposes and keep them clean and sanitary.
Georgia Landlord Rights & Responsibilities
As a landlord in Georgia, you obtain the following rights under the Georgia Landlord-Tenant laws. A right to:
- Terminate a month-to-month tenancy by giving 60-days advance notice.
- Terminate a lease agreement for lease violations.
- Be served proper notice by a tenant looking to move out of their rental premises.
- Charge whatever amount of rent and security deposit you deem fit.
- Withhold the security deposit amount for allowable reasons.
- Screen prospective tenants before allowing them to rent your property.
- Be notified by a tenant looking to leave town for an extended period of time.
The following are some of the responsibilities you must adhere to in renting your Georgia rental property:
- Abide by all terms of the lease agreement.
- Follow the proper eviction process when removing a tenant for violation of the lease agreement.
- Maintain peace and quiet.
- Make repairs within a respectable period of time.
- Comply with Georgia habitability codes.
- Not retaliate against a tenant for exercising any of their rights. For example, hiking rent shortly after your tenant has reported you to a local government agency for habitability violations.
Overview of the Georgia Landlord-Tenant Law
Can you enter your tenant’s rented premises without notice in Georgia? Technically, yes!
Georgia, unlike some other states, is yet to pass any legislation on landlord entry. That being said, make sure to set entry justification and notification terms in individual leases.
Small Claims Courts
Both parties to the lease can seek legal redress in a small claims court as long as the lawsuits don’t exceed $15,000. Georgia is yet to define the statute of limitations.
Tenants in Georgia have the right to be treated equally and fairly under a series of protected classes regulated by the Fair Housing Act. These rules apply to most types of housing, including single-family homes, condos, apartments, multi-family buildings, and HOAs. The only exceptions are:
- Private clubs that limit occupancy to members.
- Housing is operated by religious organizations.
- Single-family houses are rented or sold by the owner without the use of agent services.
- Owner-occupied buildings with no more than four units.
The protection by the Georgia Fair Housing Act is on the basis of race, disability, color, gender, religion, nationality, and familial status.
Certain localities also have additional protections. For example, in Atlanta, discrimination is prohibited in other classes such as creed, marital status, sexual orientation, and parental status.
Georgia has virtually no rent control policies in place. This, therefore, means that you can charge whatever amount of rent you want. Additionally, you may also raise the rent amount for whatever reason and whenever you want without notifying your tenant first.
You must also abide by certain rules when it comes to handling your tenant’s security deposit. The following are some of those rules.
- You must store your tenant’s security deposit in either an escrow account or a surety bond.
- You must provide your tenant with a written notice after receipt of their security deposit.
- You must return your tenant’s security deposit within a month of your tenant moving out.
- Georgia Code Annotated §§44-7-30 to 37 is the code that governs security deposits in the state of Georgia.
Evictions in Georgia
As a landlord, you can evict your Georgia tenant for a number of reasons. Including, nonpayment of rent, illegal activities, and lease violations. But to remove them from your property you must follow the statewide Georgia eviction process completely.
At Rent Appeal, we are a property management company committed to the success of our clients. But part of that success is understanding the laws that govern how you manage your investment, so we hope this article has helped you understand these rights and responsibilities further. But if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us!
Disclaimer: This content isn’t a substitute for professional legal advice from a qualified attorney or property management company. If you have a question pertaining to Georgia landlord-tenant laws or need help in the management of your Atlanta rental property, Rent Appeal can help.