Georgia Rental Laws

Written on March 7, 2014 by , updated on March 13, 2018

Flag of GeorgiaThis article summarizes some key Georgia Landlord-Tenant laws applicable to residential rental units.

We’ve used the Official State Statutes and other online sources cited below to research this information, and it should be a good starting point in learning about the law.

With that said, our summary is not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for qualified legal advice. Laws and statutes are always subject to change, and may even vary from county to county or city to city.

You are responsible for performing your own research and complying with all laws applicable to your unique situation.

If you have legal questions or concerns, we recommend consulting with the appropriate government agencies and/or a qualified lawyer in your area. Your local or state bar association may have a referral service that can help you find a lawyer with experience in landlord-tenant law.

Official Rules, Regulations & Guides

Security Deposit:

  • Security Deposit Maximum: No Statute
  • Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: 30 days. If the landlord is withholding or claiming part of the deposit due to damages, the landlord must provide a list of the damages and the amount withheld, within three days. (O.C.G.A §§ 44-7-33 and O.C.G.A. § 44-7-34)
  • Allowable Deductions: The landlord is allowed to deduct from the security deposit: (O.C.G.A. § 44-7-34)
  • Security Deposit Interest: The landlord does not have to place the deposit in an interest-bearing account nor does the landlord have to pay interest to the tenant. (handbook)
  • Separate Security Deposit Bank Account: The landlord is required to place the security deposit in an escrow account in a banking institution regulated by federal financial laws. The landlord must notify the tenant in writing of the location of the escrow account. (O.C.G.A. § 44-7-31) This is not applicable to owners and family members who collectively own ten or fewer rental units, unless those units are managed by a third party for a fee. (O.C.G.A. § 44-7-36)
  • Nonrefundable Fees: Allowed, but they must not be part of the security deposit. (O.C.G.A. § 44-7-30)
  • Application Fees: Allowed (see handbook, pg.11). Use Cozy to avoid application fees.
  • Pet Deposits and Additional Fees: Allowed (O.C.G.A. § 44-7-30)
  • Require Written/Signed Move-In Checklist: If the owner and/or family members own ten or fewer rental units, the owner shall give the tenant a comprehensive list of any existing damage to the rental unit before the security deposit is collected. The tenant has the right to inspect the rental unit to confirm the accuracy of the list prior to moving in. (O.C.G.A. § 44-7-33). These requirements are not applicable to owners and family members who collectively own ten or fewer rental units, unless those units are managed by a third party for a fee. (O.C.G.A. § 44-7-36)
  • Require Itemized List of Move-Out Damages and Charges: Within three business days after the tenant’s move out date, the landlord shall inspect the rental unit and compile a comprehensive list of any damages, along with the estimated dollar value of such damage. This list is the basis for any withholding of the security deposit. The tenant then has the right to inspect the rental unit within five business days after the move-out date in order to ascertain the accuracy of the list. (O.C.G.A. § 44-7-33) This is not applicable to owners and family members who collectively own ten or fewer rental units, unless those units are managed by a third party for a fee. (O.C.G.A. § 44-7-36)
  • Record Keeping of Deposit Withholdings: No Statute
  • Failure to Comply: The landlord forfeits any right to withhold a deposit if the money was not originally deposited in an escrow account, or if landlord did not provide move-in/move-out inspection lists. Any landlord who intentionally and wrongfully withholds a deposit may be liable for three times the amount withheld plus attorney’s fees. (O.C.G.A. § 44-7-35)

Lease, Rent & Fees:

  • When Rent Is Due: No Statute
  • Rent Increase Notice: No Statute
  • Rent Grace Period: No Statute
  • Late Fees: No Statute
  • Prepaid Rent: No Statute
  • No Limit on Rent Amount: No county or municipal corporation may enact or enforce any ordinance that regulates how much rent can be charged for privately owned, single-family or multiple-unit residential rental properties. (O.C.G.A. § 44-7-19)
  • Returned Check Fees: Yes, but the fee is not to exceed $30 or 5 percent of the check amount, whichever is greater, plus the amount of any fees charged to the check holder’s bank or financial institution. (O.C.G.A. § 13-6-15) To prevent bounced checks, consider using Cozy.
  • Tenant Allowed to Withhold Rent for Failure to Provide Essential Services (Water, Heat, etc.): No Statute
  • Tenant Allowed to Repair and Deduct Rent: No Statute
  • Landlord Allowed to Recover Court and Attorney Fees: Yes (see handbook)
  • Landlord Must Make a Reasonable Attempt to Mitigate Damages Caused by Lessee: Yes, but there is no statute that requires the Landlord to look for a new tenant. (O.C.G.A. § 44-7-34)
  • Abandonment of Personal Property: The landlord can remove the tenants’ abandoned personal property with a formal writ of possession (i.e., a court order). (O.C.G.A. § 44-7-55)
  • Termination of a Service Member:
    • Specific Rules: A landlord must follow a specific process for terminating the lease of an active duty member of the regular or reserve component of the United States armed forces, the United States Coast Guard, the Georgia National Guard, or the Georgia Air National Guard on ordered federal duty for a period of 90 days or longer. See O.C.G.A. § 44-7-22 for specific details.
    • Limited Liability: Any liability of the Service Member for rent, as well as the cost of repairing damages to the rental unit, under the lease may not exceed 30 days’ rent after written notice and proof of the assignment are given to the landlord. (O.C.G.A. § 44-7-37)

Notices & Entry:

  • Notice to Terminate a Tenancy at Will (a Lease with No End Date): 60 days’ notice if the landlord is giving notice; 30 days’ if the tenant is giving notice. (O.C.G.A. § 44-7-7)
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Fixed End Date in Lease: No Statute. Typically no notice is needed as the lease simply expires.
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Month-to-Month Lease:  60 days’ notice if the landlord is giving notice; 30 days’ notice if the tenant is giving notice. (O.C.G.A. § 44-7-7)
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Week-to-Week Lease: No Statute
  • Notice of Date/Time of Move-Out Inspection: No Statute
  • Notice of Termination of All Leases for Nonpayment: Immediate lease termination. Landlord can also file for eviction immediately (O.C.G.A. § 44-7-50), however the tenant has seven days to pay to avoid eviction. (O.C.G.A. § 44-7-52)
  • Termination for Lease Violation: No Statute
  • Required Notice before Entry: No Statute; 24 hours is recommended (see handbook, pg. 13)
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Maintenance and Repairs (nonemergency): Yes, but the landlord must provide prior notice; 24 hours is recommended. (see handbook, p. 13)
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Showings: Yes, but the landlord must provide prior notice – 24 hours is recommended (see handbook, p. 13)
  • Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: Yes (handbook, pg. 13)
  • Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: No Statute
  • Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: No Statute
  • Lockouts Allowed: No (see handbook, pg. 55)
  • Utility Shut-offs Allowed: No. Landlord is not allowed to discontinue heat, electricity, or water service. These actions are punishable by a fine not to exceed $500. (O.C.G.A. § 44-7-14.1) 

Disclosures & Miscellaneous Notes:

  • Special Tenant Rights & Restrictions: A tenant may not cut or destroy growing trees, remove permanent fixtures, or otherwise injure the property without prior permission. A tenant may use dead or fallen timber for firewood and pasturing cattle. (O.C.G.A. § 44-7-11)
  • Landlord Responsibility & Liability:
    • The landlord must keep the rental unit in repair. The landlord is liable for all substantial improvements made to the rental unit with their consent. (O.C.G.A. § 44-7-13)
    • Having fully parted with possession and the right of possession, the landlord is not responsible to third parties damages resulting from the tenant’s negligent or illegal use of the rental unit. The landlord is responsible for damages caused by defective construction or the failure to keep the rental unit in repair. (O.C.G.A. § 44-7-14)
  • Name and Addresses: At or before the commencement of a tenancy, and 30 days after any change, the landlord must provide the names and addresses of:
    • The owner of the rental unit or a person authorized to act for and on behalf of that person; and
    • The person authorized to manage the premises to the tenant. (O.C.G.A. § 44-7-3)
  • Destruction of Dwelling: The destruction of a dwelling by fire or the loss of possession by any casualty not caused by the landlord does not release the tenant from the obligation to pay rent. (O.C.G.A. § 44-7-15)
  • Flooding Disclosure: If any portion of the living space covered by the lease has flooded three times in the last five years, the landlord must disclose this to the applicant before signing a lease. (O.C.G.A. § 44-7-20)
  • Lead Disclosure: Landlords must disclose all known lead paint hazards. Landlords must also provide tenants, as an attachment to a written lease, with an information pamphlet on lead-based paint hazards.
  • Domestic Violence Situations: No Statute
  • Retaliation: No Statute

Court & Legal Related:

Business Licenses:

  • Business License Required: No state-wide statute, but local cities and counties may have regulations and requirements. Check with your local governing authority.

Court & legal related:

State agencies & regulatory bodies:

Housing Authorities

Realtor, and landlord and tenant associations

Helpful Videos

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519 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • stephanie graves

    As of march 25, 2018 my toilet have been stopped up. I called the maintaince hotline for them to come out and fix my toilet. they advised me that im not able to put bathroom tissue in my toilet. told me that I have to get a trash can and to put the soiled tissue in the trash can.

  • Don't know what to do

    HI, I live in a house in Lithonia Georgia.. My refrigerator broke 4 times and my landlord keeps trying to get it repaired. I have thrown away 100 of dollars in food. I deducted 300 from my rent to replace my food. The first time okay its not your fault. The 2nd time you got a guy to repair it and it still broke. 3rd time she got a warranty with sears to fix it. They came and it still broken. This last time I told her a head of time that it was acting up and she went out of town and it broke again. Can I be sued because I keep the money for food.

  • Diana

    I am new to this group and look forward to sharing ideas and strategies regarding real estate investing.

  • Will

    My landlord has raised my rent every year for 4 yrs. Do they have that right? I started at 650.00 now they want me to renew again at 827.00 and that doesn’t include their other fees which will put me at 850.00. Is this ok in GA?

    • James

      Georgia law does not limit the amount rent can be increased by. They only have to give you 60 days notice that it will increase. States with laws limiting the amount, limit it to no more than 10%, which is about what yours is increasing.

  • christopher clover

    my owner of the park where i have my moble home in. did a repair contract w me 4.. 2 yrs i pay 50 $ extra a month. now he says whwn we signed this that our lease was expired and now wants to evict us due to no lease. is this legal. because if we didnt have a lease y would we agree to pay 50 $ additional to 265 we already pay?

  • Kinley

    I was wondering if there is a certain age limit there is to rent an apartment in Georgia?

  • werch

    My tenants paid rent, but they were not on time, but they refuse to pay the late fees. What exact and complete steps do I need to do to legally and Effectively Evict them?

  • Will H

    We are moving out within the next week and need some help asap. We rent the basement from the owner of the house whom resides upstairs. My wife and I just removed a letter from the exterior door by our landlord stating he will be conducting an inspection between 9am-11am or 9pm-11pm whichever he prefers. This will be done everyday without further notice. He also stated if we do not answer the door he will enter at will and no future notices will be given.
    Please help…

  • Amazingly

    I have live at my place of residence over 8+ years. The company is undergoing renovations I sign my lease in February 2018. Today I received a letter stating due to the renovations new pricing cycle will go into effect 30-90 days… Anyone who has already renewed will be re-renewed to one of the units…My obligations is to the lease I have in place I am not going to re-renew to this contract… What do I do on my end the legal advice..

  • Cayci Smith

    I’m a tenant living in a home that’s pending a forclosure sale. The owners are trying to secure a modification and stop the foreclosure procedeedings. But can only do that if I continue to pay the rent. What are my rights in this case?

  • Peggy Blackman

    My daughter just got into a lease in GA in March. Now they are having to move due to family responsibilities. The landlord said she is keeping the security deposit??? can she do that???

    • Alex Agle

      You will need to refer to the lease. For example, I signed a one year lease, but I needed to move out early. My penalty was one month’s rent plus the loss of the security deposit. So yes, the landlord can do that if it is in the lease. I have also had a tenant move out without providing 30 days of notice, so I kept their security deposit.

  • Adeline

    we moved out of an apartment before the end of the contract because of family necessity.so they owner asked us to pay two months rent and he won’t return the security deposit and we did it.now after one month exceeded,he sends us a bill of two thousands and something to pay because he renew things in the apartment. it’s our responsibility to pay that fees?

    • Annie

      I am a landlord and am currently viewing applicants for my property. My leasing company says that they cannot tell me the amount of occupants that will be living in my property and they also said that they cannot tell me what job the applicant/applicants have. I just want to know by Georgia state law, does my leasing company have the right the dent me those pieces of information. Thanks!

    • Alex Agle

      When you rent a dwelling, reasonable wear and tear is expected. When you moved out, you should have done a walk-through inspection with the landlord. It is up to the landlord to provide before and after photos that prove that you caused excessive damage.

      Let’s say that a stove needs to be replaced. If it needs to be replaced due to damage that you caused, then he may have a case against you. If it is simply old and needs to be updated, then that’s not your fault.

      In this case, the landlord feels that you caused $2,000 worth of damage. He will need to prove to a judge that you caused this damage or the case will be thrown out.

  • Ken Marzec

    I have been in my residence for 3 months in Loganville. We did an inspection before moving in. We do not know who the home owner/landlord is. We know he is local. We have had a few problems. First the air conditioning doesn’t work correctly and the unit is the age of home which is over 30 years old. They send handymen out that keep saying it needs to be replaced due to constant freezing of unit. Two weeks after I get woken up at midnight because the kitchen is flooded. Myself being a plumber for 30 years goes under kitchen sink and finds that the drain pipe coming out of wall was dry fitted and not glued so me being a plumber get material out of my truck and fixes up to code. Constantly problems. What do we do legally.

  • AJ

    I just moved to Peachtree Corners area to a room for rent. The day I moved in I saw a roach crawl out if the faucet, the next day I used Hot shot to kill 4 more. The landlord is very frugal, the house temp is always 80 degrees, they halfway renovated a 40 year old house, so its musty which makes me sick, and the kitchen sink needs to be repaired. My question is when it comes to pest control not stated in thelease, who pays, and what are my rights? Can I break this lease this soon, and get all my money back 1st month rent included? Please help, 3 days in and this is a total nightmare!!!

  • Penny Nunn

    I am a tenant at will, since 2013. Pd rent on 7/22. Landlord called 7/26 to raise rent up and due for Aug. rent. Should it be 60 days?
    Also- I have a bad light switch in dining room and offered to have fixed- history is to take 8-9 months to fix electrical fire-hazards. I was told NO, no light in room for 9 months. Should the landlord be responsible in a more timely manner?

  • denita current

    I believe that their is some incorrect information provided on the website:

    Require Written/Signed Move-In Checklist: If the owner and/or family members own ten or fewer rental units, the owner shall give the tenant a comprehensive list of any existing damage to the rental unit before the security deposit is collected. The tenant has the right to inspect the rental unit to confirm the accuracy of the list prior to moving in. (O.C.G.A. § 44-7-33).

    States if owns less than 10 units then must provide list, 44-7-36 states they are EXEMPT

  • Lakisha Frazier

    Hello:

    I am new to the group. I am a Realtor in Atlanta. I was reading some of the comments. To the young lady with the refrigerator, read your lease. See if it states that you must use their refrigerator. If not, buy your own refrigerator. Put the landlord’s refrigerator in the garage. Make sure clean it out, so it won’t mess up. Then, when you move again, you will already have your own refrigerator. You will put the landlord refrigerator back in the house. On another note, if you do not have a garage. Ask the landlord to pick up the refrigerator, then make the change on your lease. I hope this helps.

  • chrissy hooper

    what are the laws about repairs in are apt in Augusta ga . are property owner ,staff ,and maybe the manager we don’t know who owns this rental property . they call them self ad&d llc. we call and can’t get throw to anyone the phone is out of order and the guy who dose repairs and colleges the rent dose not answer his phone and when you talk to him he will not do any repairs or give me my new lease i have been asking and writing the office and nothing . we pay rent on time every month and don’t cause any problems . can someone help find out who owens this property and why they won’t fix anything or give me a new lease .we have lived here 3 years and do everything right.

  • Piper O'Hare

    In the last 12 months my the utilities went off six times mostly between 1-4 hours. Previously, I did not deduct this inconvenience. Now I am on month to month and the utilities went off this time for over 24 hours. I purchased a few items (less than $20.00) that did not need refrigeration and now the landlord claims that deduction is not allowed. Utilities are included in the rent. Shouldn’t he check with the electric company for verification?

  • Alex

    I havent been at my home in 30 days. My in laws have came over trying to move all of my belongings out and when the police were called the ordered me banned me from the property. I have power of attorney with my boyfriend over the property and they stated since u haven’t been at the home in 30 days you abandoned the property. And the landlord supposedly gave them a new deed to the house.

  • Alex Agle

    You didn’t provide enough information for anyone to give you a meaningful answer. The part about the power of attorney doesn’t seem relevant. The landlord issuing a new deed doesn’t make sense unless he owned the property and quitclaimed it to someone else.

    In general, if you are on the lease and have been current on the rent and utilities, then it really isn’t the landlord’s business whether you have been gone from the property for 30 days or longer.

    How did your in-laws gain access to the property, and what business of theirs is it to try and move you out?

    First, talk to your landlord about the issue. If you have been wrongfully evicted, then you may need to go to magistrate court.

  • Sara

    I have a major problem with mold due to flooding on 2 separate occasions. My rental company has finally sent a company out. They showed up today. They want to remove a two ft section of my lower floor the will leave my home open and then vent the mold under my living room space because it’s illegal to vent into the air outside. The mold has been making my daughter and myself sick. The problem I am having is 1. I don’t think they should be pushing the air back into my crawl space 2. They only want to remove the 2ft section but not fix any of the leaks or have anyone to rebuild this area at time of removal and these are both interior and exterior walls. And 3 I’m not sure if I should be staying home while removing black mold? Help??

  • Cory

    have a landlord who didnt provide anything on move out and 8 months later i am served a dispossion of tact for damages to his home, (that were caused by water damage malfunction to equipment in home) wondering how he can start a eviction process if he showed up at my new residence and took key 9 months ago?

  • Steedley

    I am renting to own, does my landlord have right to enter my home without me here?

  • Brandi

    We rented a house to the sis of a friend, with no lease. She was behind $505 She was to pay $100/wk & lost her job so we let her try & catch it up. She’d pay $50 here, $100 there but never caught up. She came to us on a Sun to let us know she was moving & would be out by Fri Well, it’s now Sun again & she still has a bunch of clothes throwed all over the place & we have a person able to pay ready to move in as soon as her stuff is gone. Are we allowed to remove her stuff from the house. She seems to have gotten anything of value. I wanted to know being theres no lease & she came to us saying shes be out Fri, can we remove her stuff, change the locks and allow new person to move in. We need the $$ and it’s not a free storage facility for her

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