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

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544 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Lici H

    Hello. The owner of the rental property I have filled an application for has asked me to make the security deposit in a rental account at a bank. Is this normal? I question because the only paperwork I have is the rental application I emailed, his email stating he approved me, and the email requesting me to make the deposit at a local bank. I am use to at least having a copy of the lease to sign before I shell out money. In this case, this is a $1,400 deposit. I would appreciate any assistance regarding this concern

    • Michael

      I paid a security deposit without singing a lease. I could not agree to the lease and the owner would not fix the lease.
      The owner is playing games with me on returning the security deposit.
      I am looking up statue state codes for Ga law on how to write a legal letter on returning my security deposit before I take him to small claims court.
      Any help would be greatly appreciated.
      -Michael Williams-

  • Cornelia

    My landlord sold the duplex without giving us a notice and I want to move my lease is not up until Aug. 19. I have not signed anything with the new owners so since i don’t have a legal contract with the new owners can I move out with notice. Or am I locked in until next year.

  • Jeffrey Granade

    Can a landlord sue a tenant that was evicted 3 yrs ago, for money owed. Even after he had new tenants move in 3yrs ago also?

  • Eddie haberern

    My girlfriend moved out but she left some stuff there. She receives mail at my apartment. She is not on the lease. Does she have a right to come back? Do I need to hold onto her belongings she left or can they be discarded?

  • Lydia Pinckney

    The landlord said in January he would not be renewing the lease in Aug because he will be selling the house. But without notice he sold the house today. What rights do we have as tenants that have a lease until August and wasn’t told anything different from what he told us in January?

  • Karen W.

    I contacted my landlord and told them the foundation has cracked and broke apart in the living room. They sent their maintenance guys out to look at it and after I never heard from them so I called and they said they’re going to discuss it. What rights do I have?

  • bobbie jean c Harvey

    Our least states we have 1 yr rent free bc we agreed to do all remodeling.we did some..the whole house is remodeled. Year isnt up.they are evicting us.but won’t do it legally.our landlords admitted us that the home is tied up in court cases family fighting for ownership we were informed no tenants were allowed.the my husband rewired the home..all new plumbing .the works..they wont go do it legally and expects us and our 5 chidren to leave immediately..I advised her to go to magistrate..instead.shes harassing me..getting physical.calked dfacs 6 times..calls the law..animal control on my dane.bc shes too false accusations..please tell me what to do..

  • Gloria Burgess

    My apt complex changes a 100$ late fee. My rent is 399 every month. The way I get paid, causes me to have a late charge every month. Is that reasonable or against the law.

  • E.ophelia

    What should be done if another tenant smokes illegal drugs and the Landlord has not done anything to resolve this, only pasting off duties between office and security. I have call, email and made my complaints known.

  • Eydie Chapman

    My niece just moved to Georgia and the Property Management Company charged her an extra $900 stating that even though she had excellent credit her credit history was not long enough. She has established credit for 4 years as a labor delivery nurse. Is this legal?

  • joelle

    I reside in the city of Atlanta ga. My Landlord sent me a bill for waste management taxes. Stating i am responsible for paying the waste tax of over $400. I pay al my utility bills on time but not aware of this surprise bill he claims I owe. I reached out to the city of atlanta waste and they stated I am not responsible for that bill my landlord is.. Yet the landlord states its my bill to pay.

    What can be done to assure that the landlord doesn’t evicted me for NOT paying a bill that was unknown to me

  • Ashley

    My apartment was burglarized and the door the was broken was simply put back by the complex maintenance. We asked to be out the lease but now they want to charge us $5200 to break
    The lease. What are my options.

  • Steve Jones

    I’m trying to find the law where a renter who stays over 6 months has rights to stay for every. I’m not sure what the legal statute is but thats close

  • christopher wisherd

    I let a friend stay with me over winter for verbally agreed trades, such as , pay my phone card bill monthly, buy my cigarettes, keep up the groceries, etc. He stayed six months and only brought food from the local food pantry. He lefy three months ago and his stuff is still here. Im in georgia and wonder is there is any legal recourse for either my unpaid rent of his claim to abandoned property?

  • Fred p Wisenbaker

    My landlord just moved a public dumpster within 10 feet of my front door, now I have flies and roaches plus can not open windows because of smell. Can they do that and what can I do?

  • AC

    I placed (4) work orders for a non-working dryer SINCE JANUARY; it’s Oct & still not working! Completed surveys abt those “completed” work orders & explained STILL not working!

    Meanwhile, they increased rent AND “upgraded” doors & added tile backsplash. I chose this apartment because washer/dryer in unit. Can I withold rent until I get a FUNCTIONAL dryer?

  • Stephanie

    Iif the heat in your unit has been out several 2 weeks+, in winter, landlord has gotten replacement cost and repair cost and decided to go repair route but will take another week, what action can tenant take?

  • Ashley

    I rented an apartment and after moving in the apartment had odors seemly coming up from the hardwood floors? I signed a six month lease. After 2 months the landlord sold the building, I’ve never met the new owner until I gave my notice and they showed the apartment. Well they are accusing me of smoking in the apartment, hence the odors and are trying to charge me for painting the apartment, which hasn’t been painted in years? I only was living in the apartment for 3 months full time and never smoked inside the house?
    They are charging me $4700 to remove the odors that were present when I moved in. What should I do/ say when I take them to court to recover my deposit back.

  • Debra McKenzie

    Moved in to live with Neice and her partner. Live here 7mos Paid rent before 1st of every month. They don’t own the home. Leasing/Renting? The partner who is bi polar told me I need to move by 6/30/20, Is this possible? Especially in a Pandemic. I’m on disability/ social security, Food Stamps, 62yr old diabetic w/degenerative disc disease. Chronic pain with back and right arm (2 surgeries to repair rotator cuff years ago)Being forced to move now does NOT seem legal or fair.

  • Carolyn R Figuereo

    Does anyone know if physical signatures are required, or are digital ones, like from DotLoop, acceptable?

  • Asauntwa Craft

    My apartments have failed to fix leaking water for months I put in work orders and they lie and say they have been completed I’ve also emailed corporate but have gotten no response at this time I’ve been dealing with leaking water for 6 months what can I do

  • Chad Wallace

    My lanlord informed me that he was selling the house. After an offer was accepted my landlord came by with typed letter advising we had 30 days at the time of notice July 10th, to vacate premises but said the date my vary. It was addressed to both my wife and I. At the time, I signed it but my wife was not home and has not signed. We currently bought a house and our closing date is Aug 31. I advised my lanlord today and he basically said we told you 30 days and the new owners want to move in on Aug 15th. So is that document legal with just my signature and does the 30 day notice legal since technically a 60 days is to be given. We are not on a lease, that ended in February, no new lease was done, and we’ve been month to month renters.

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