A summary of Georgia Landlord Tenant Laws based on state law statutes as they apply to residential lease agreements executed between landlords and tenants.
Required Disclosures (by Landlords)
Before signing a lease, if the living space or attachments have been damaged by flooding three or more times within the past five years, landlord must so disclose in writing. (Ga. Code Ann. § 44-7-20)
When or before a tenancy begins, landlord must disclose in writing the names and addresses of the owner of record or a person authorized to act for the owner for purposes of service of process and receiving and receipting demands and notices; and the person authorized to manage the premises. If such information changes during the tenancy, landlord must advise tenant within 30 days in writing or by posting a notice in a conspicuous place. (Ga. Code Ann. § 44-7-3)
Landlord must give tenant a written list of preexisting damage to the rental before collecting a security deposit. Landlords must place the deposit in an escrow account in a state or federally regulated depository, and must inform the tenant of the location of this account. Alternatively, landlords may post a security bond securing all tenants’ deposits. A landlord who owns ten or fewer rental units, unless those units are managed by an outside party, does not need to supply a written list of preexisting damage or place the deposit in an escrow account. (Ga. Code Ann. §§ 44-7-30 to 44-7-37)
If asked by a prospective tenant, landlord must answer truthfully when questioned about whether the rental was the site of a homicide or other felony, or a suicide or a death by accidental or natural causes; or whether it was occupied by a person who was infected with a virus or any other disease that has been determined by medical evidence as being highly likely to be transmitted through the occupancy of a dwelling place presently or previously occupied by such an infected person. (Ga. Code Ann. § 44-1-16)
Security Deposit Limit
There’s no state statute that limits the amount of a deposit. However, if collected, Landlords must place the deposit in an escrow account in a state or federally regulated depository, and must inform the tenant of the location of this account. As an alternative, landlords may post a security bond securing all tenants’ deposits. A landlord who owns ten or fewer rental units, unless those units are managed by an outside party, does not need to use an escrow account or provide a written list of preexisting damage.
Deadline for Returning Security Deposit
Upon vacating, the deposit must be returned within one month and notice must be provided in advance of any deductions that are proposed to be made to cover damage.
Small Claims Lawsuits
The Magistrate Court will hear any landlord-tenant disputes that are filed to recover damages less than 15,000.
No late fee may be charged unless it is written in the lease.
Bounced Check Fees
Returned checks may incur a fee of up to $30 or 5% of the face amount of the check (whichever is greater). Bank processing fees (if any) may be added to that amount.
A 60 day notice to increase rent on a month-to-month term must be given. Longer term leases are exempt from increases unless specified in the agreement.
Discrimination and Retaliation
Any increase in rent must be free of any discriminatory or retaliatory intent.
Termination and Eviction
An unconditional notice to quit and vacate the property immediately may be served if there was nonpayment of rent more than once within 12 months or if the tenant is holding over after the end of a lease. There is no statute addressing other lease violations. However, a landlord can provide a notice of violations and give a reasonable amount of time to cure before an eviction is filed.
Court may grant protective order, and award a party possession of the residence or household of the party and exclude the other party. Court may also require a party to provide “suitable” alternative housing to a spouse, former spouse, children or parents.
Georgia Lease Agreement
Georgia Landlord-Tenant Law Statutes
Georgia Code Ann. §§ 44-7-1 to 44-7-81.