Georgia Rental Laws

Written on March 7, 2014 by , updated on April 21, 2017

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

The Official State Statutes and other reputable municipal sources were used to research this information. All sources are cited appropriately.

With that said, landlord-tenant laws are always changing and you have a responsibility to perform your own research when applying the laws to your unique situation.

If you have a legal question or concern, I only recommend contacting a licensed attorney-referral service that is operated by the state bar association.

Official Rules, Regulations & Guides

Security Deposit:

  • Security Deposit Maximum: No Statute
  • Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: 30 days, unless landlord is withholding or claiming part of the deposit for damages, then the remaining balance must be given back to the tenant within 3 days. (O.C.G.A. § 44-7-34)
  • Allowable Deductions: Landlord is allowed to deduct from the security deposit: (O.C.G.A. § 44-7-34)
    • for nonpayment of rent or of fees for late payment
    • for abandonment of the premises
    • for nonpayment of utility charges
    • for repair work or cleaning contracted for by the tenant with third parties
    • for unpaid pet fees
    • or for actual damages caused by the tenant’s breach, provided the landlord attempts to mitigate the actual damages.
  • 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: Landlord is required to place the security deposit in an escrow account and to notify the tenants 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 (handbook, p.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 owner and family own ten or fewer rental units, prior to collecting a security deposit, the owner shall give the tenant a comprehensive list of any existing damage to the premises. The tenant shall have the right to inspect the premises to confirm the accuracy of the list prior to taking occupancy. (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)
  • Require Itemized List of Move-Out Damages and Charges: Within three business days after the date of the termination of occupancy, the landlord shall inspect the premises and compile a comprehensive list of any damage done to the premises which is the basis for any charge against the security deposit, along with the estimated dollar value of such damage. The tenant shall have the right to inspect the premises within five business days after the termination of the occupancy 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 3x 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, maintain, or enforce any ordinance to regulate the amount of rent to be charged for privately owned, single-family or multiple-unit residential rental property. (O.C.G.A. § 44-7-19)
  • Returned Check Fees: Yes, but the fee is not to exceed $30 or 5 percent of the face amount of the instrument, whichever is greater, plus the amount of any fees charged to the holder of the instrument by a bank or financial institution. (O.C.G.A. § 13-6-15) I recommend using Cozy to prevent bounced checks.
  • 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 (handbook)
  • Landlord Must Make a Reasonable Attempt to Mitigate Damages Caused by Leasee: 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: Landlord can remove the tenants’ abandoned personal property with a formal writ of possession (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. (O.C.G.A. § 44-7-22)
    • Limited Liability: Any liability of the Service Member for rent under the lease may not exceed 30 days’ rent after written notice and proof of the assignment are given to the landlord; and the cost of repairing damage to the premises caused by an act or omission of the tenant.(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 from the landlord, or 30 days’ notice from the tenant. (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 from the landlord, or 30 days’ notice from the tenant. (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 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, but 24 hours is recommended (handbook, p. 13)
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Maintenance and Repairs (nonemergency): Yes, but landlord must provide prior notice – 24 hours is recommended. (handbook, p. 13)
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Showings: Yes, but landlord must provide prior notice – 24 hours is recommended (handbook, p. 13)
  • Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: Yes (handbook, p. 13)
  • Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: No Statute
  • Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: No Statute
  • Lockouts Allowed: No (handbook, p. 55)
  • Utility Shut-offs Allowed: No. Landlord is not allowed to discontinue heat, electricity or water service, punishable by a fine not to exceed $500. (O.C.G.A. § 44-7-14.1) 

Disclosures & Miscellaneous Notes:

  • Special Tenant Rights & Restrictions: Without permission, a tenant may not cut or destroy growing trees, remove permanent fixtures, or otherwise injure the property. A tenant may use dead or fallen timber for firewood and the pasturage for his cattle. (O.C.G.A. § 44-7-11)
  • Landlord Responsibility & Liability:
    • The landlord must keep the premises in repair. He shall be liable for all substantial improvements placed upon the premises by his 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 persons for damages resulting from the negligence or illegal use of the premises by the tenant; provided, however, the landlord is responsible for damages arising from defective construction or for damages arising from the failure to keep the premises 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 shall disclose to the tenant in writing the names and addresses of the following persons:
    • The owner of record of the premises or a person authorized to act for and on behalf of the owner for the purposes of serving of process and receiving and receipting for demands and notice; and
    • The person authorized to manage the premises.
  • 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, 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.

Helpful Videos

These videos review some of the most common landlord-tenant laws and issues in Georgia.

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473 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Debi Reed

    hi

    • Roberta Cash

      I had my first leak in my kitchen ceilling 6/2/2017.i call the number for sevice that day and there was no emergency number was working,so i had to wait until that monday to write the rent office about the problem and the leak.on 6/12/2017 i wrote another letter to the rent office about mold had started to grow and she had her mainten man come to my apartment and put bleach and spray paint the ceilling where the mold was at but it kept coming back and each time he put more bleach on it.then i had another leak at the same spot and once again he put bleach on it and again spray painted it.i have wrote her about the mold was not go on me because i have asthma and i droped off a document that tell why my apartment couldnt use bug spray .help

  • Jeremy Richardson

    Hi,

    Im staying in an apartment that was burglarized twice within 6 months. The first time my apartment was burglarized the assailant came through my balcony window. The only repairs done to my window was a piece of wood screwed into the outside of the window seal. This did not help repair the window, because 6 months later my apartment was burglarized again, and the assailant came through the same broken window.

    What legal rights do I have to sue for property stolen, and can I also get back my money for the months that I paid rent leading up to the second burglary? Also, can I legally break my lease?

  • David

    How often does a landlord have to have a rental property inspected to ensure it is up to code?

  • Roberta Daniels

    Hi,
    Can a landlord unilaterally create a fixed term tenancy for one month after sending the tenant a 30 day notice to vacate letter? Does that fixed term agreement have to be in writing? Does it require a new 30 day (or some other time period) notice to vacate?

  • Michelle Bolding

    I am currently renting an apartment and always paying on time, the property manager informed me that there is a limited of visitors I am allowed to have or I will be charged 200 dollars extra which I already paid just to avoid any conflict, my mom came visit with her dog and the property manager was taken pictures of us stating that I have a dog and have to pay 300 dollars extra, my mom was only there for the weekend! I am constantly being watch and pictures of my usual day to day activities are being taken, do they have the right to take pictures of me as well as keep charging me extra for visitors or my mom and dog to come and visit? I feel like my privacy is being constantly being violated. Please help with any information. Thank you

    • A.A.

      I do agree your privacy is being invaded, and there is probably some legal issue with what they are doing to you. Typically, they can’t say another person is living there unless the same person has been staying the night a certain amount of nights a month. As for the dog, they could say they don’t allow pets period, but since they wanted to charge you for a pet fee, it shows they do allow pets, and there is usually a grace period, especially if you can prove they were only there for the weekend. I would not have paid them anything extra on top of your normal rent, and if they tried to raise next months rent, I would fight it, even going to small claims court if needed. Good luck.

  • A.A.

    My prospective landlord (moving to Atlanta area) says he charges $60 for service calls, regardless of the problem or how often/little he is called for something. Even if it is something that was not on us, like the a/c or a leak in the roof, he says he can charge. Being a prior landlord from a different state where you could not legally do this, it makes me question what he is saying. When I told him I thought that was not legal, he stuttered a little and asked what I meant. Anyone know if it is legal for a owner maintained property to charge a service call fee here in Georgia?

    • marat

      I too would like to know more insight about this service fee. My landlord even tried to reference it as a deductible when the contract clearly states its a service fee to come out. Not sure if the landlord knows the definition or are simply hoping I am ignorant to that fact? Thanks.

  • Jacques Pinckney

    I moved into an apartment back on June 23rd, only to find out that the AC wasn’t working. I called and called management about the problem. To only have someone come by to say that everything should be working fine. As you all know it’s be 90 plus here in Atlanta. Because I feel they haven’t held up there end of the deal. With providing me with a live able apartment, because of the AC not working inside of the apartment. Do I have a legal right to request to be let out of my lease.

  • Tiffany Freeman

    I was wondering was it legal to rent out a residential unit in Gwinnett county without passing a fire inspection in over a year. Is this grounds to break a lease?

  • Kim P

    We’ve been renting in an apartment complex for almost 4 months now. Laat month they changed management. Seems new management is intent on forcing tenants into breaking their lease (or get themselves evicted). They would not take our rent last month because it was a day late and did not include the late fee. Ended up paying almost $500 extra. this month we had the money on time but their office hours do not work woth our job schedules, they do not have an online payment option, and have bolted down the overnight drop box, making it inaccessible. They never answer the phone to talk about this. The first available time to meet them in person with the money order is a day late, thus more late fees.
    Is this legal?

  • Robert Smalls

    if some else rent is posted to my account and the rent office doesn’t notice it until next month am i resonsible

  • tammy

    What can I do about my landlord entering the property with no notice? He can when I want there. The only way I found out is that the dog popped on the floor. When I call him, they amited to it. What’s next?

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