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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537 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?

  • jerri

    We rent mobile home spaces in a small park. One of our tenants has been late with rent every month since moving in. When we ask for the rent they’ve repeatedly threatened to sue us for harrassment. And they dump trash from their business on their lot. We gave them a 60 day notice of our intent to start the eviction process, but they’ve recently informed us that the wife has been diagnosed with cancer. We don’t want to turn them out of their home if this is true, though they’ve lied so much we can’t be sure it is true. The end of the 60 days is nearing. I’m afraid they will call it harrassment, and sue us, if we don’t follow through with the eviction. I don’t know what to do. Any ideas?

  • Sheila wright

    Recently offrd to purchase home been renting for 5 yrs. Land lord refused the offer we made & informed us he accepted an investor offer. Last lease signed 3 years ago. We never signed a month 2 month. He is still asking 4 rent to be paid to him as though he still owns it. Are we still suppose to pay him rent? No correspondence from the new supposedly owners.

  • David Green

    Hey my name is D I live in Savannah Georgia I have a quick question can you rent out a place without a stove and a refrigerator

  • Diane Walker

    I co-signed a lease for a house with a girlfriend and only stayed there a few times as I lived in another city. We broke up and I left the area. She continued to stay and paid the rent for the year on time. I was never ask to pay a portion of the rent. Now she wants me to pay 12K or she will go to court. Am I responsible for the rent after I moved away?

  • Nancy Cherubin

    I renew my lease last year 11/06/2016 to 11/06/2017. I gave a 30day notice on 10/07/2017, I vacated on 11/06/2017 and know they are charging me $100.00 Nov. Late Fee and $171.00 prorate rent for Nov. I don’t understand why I have to pay if I vacated and gave back the keys on 11/06/2017.
    someone please educate me

    • One Guy

      Nancy, it seems to me that your dates show an extra day, i.e. if you started your lease in 11/06/2016, it will end on 11/05/2017, not on 11/06/2017. This is because including 11/06/2016 and going up to 11/05/2017, you will have a full year term. If you go over to 11/06/17 you will have 1 year and one day. This is why I think they are charging you for 1 day.

  • Nancy Cherubin

    I renew my lease last year 11/06/2016 to 11/06/2017. I gave a 30day notice on 10/07/2017, I vacated on 11/06/2017 and know they are charging me $100.00 Nov. Late Fee and $171.00 prorate rent for Nov. I don’t understand why I have to pay if I vacated and gave back the keys on 11/06/2017.
    someone please educate me
    I live in Georgia

  • sue

    A tenant notified me this morning that have a plumbing emergency at the house. A repairman came to the property, but he could not finish until tomorrow. The tenant is upset and wants us to pay for a hotel room for tonight. Is the landlord obligated to do this? thanks,

  • Mashing

    Hi Lucas! I’ve unsuccessfully searched for a (1st time) landlord class in GA. I need it for the NACA program through which I will make a purchase this year. Any idea on where I can find one in the metro Atlanta area? Thank you!

  • JOY MARIE

    i live in savannah and need to know rules for weekly rental. if a don’t pay for a week does the landlord have to file an eviction against me or can he just lock me out.

  • Marcus

    My lease is up at the end of February 2018. I am late on paying my rent but the landlord accepted partial payment for half of the rent. I made a promise to pay remaining February plus March but the landlord doesn’t wish to renew the lease. Of the 24 months I have been here I have only been late 5 time (including this time). Now I have 60 days to vacate the property, is this legal? Do I have a recourse?

    • Janice

      A landlord can decided to non-renew for any reason.

    • Marcus

      OK, it is now August 24th, 2018, my lease was up on February 28th, 2018. I currently still do not have a lease but my landlord keeps accepting the lease payments. I have not been late since February 2018 but I do not feel comfortable about not having a lease. My landlord in his last documented communication to me was that he is going up on the lease by $50 a month. To make matters worse the landlord has not spoken to me since February 2018. This is getting really strange. I want to move but my wife wants to stay.

  • Carol

    I am selling my home and moving into my rental house since I am a senior 74 years old and need a smaller and stair-free place to live. I want to renovate the rental and currently have a week to week tenant. How much time do I have (under Georgia law) to give him to move out?

  • Shawna Gentle

    After 5 years, my landlord has finally hired someone to fix our bathroom floor and shower. To do so, they’re cutting my water off for the entire weekend. We’re a family of 4 (single mom and 3 small kids). There’s no way we can go 2-3 days without water to my house. Shouldn’t the landlord have to pay for us to stay in a hotel for the weekend?

  • S

    In Georgia you can charge fees when leasing that are not part of security deposit and it can be nonrefundable. Now, this is situation, single mom goes to see a townhouse. She needs something quickly. The landlord shows her, she not sure because it looks dirty. landlord will ONLY take nonrefundable binder amount of $500 while mom decides and this townhouse is being leased AS-IS. $500 excessive for a binder? Second, nonrefundable $500? Third, renting a place AS-IS? She went back, looked at the place. Roaches were breeding in appliances. She asked for money back.Nope. She was told I NEVER give back binder money. Maybe your standards are too high. Huh? We had a home to rent to her, no deposit due to her loss.Does she have recourse for $500

  • sohel munna

    i am staying in my current apartment for 2 years. the lease was under my friends name and he let us stay. its me, my wife, my two years old daughter and 3 months son. 2 months ago i recieved a lease renewal letter. my friend didnt renew the lease and i applied for it and i asked for a different apartment. he signed the form also. later on i decided to stay in the same apt and told them i will pay month to month. i paid the fees. but there was no paper document done. two days ago i got lease expiring notice and i showed up to the office to remind them i m still under month to month lease after this month. then they told me nothing. but after 30 mins they left me messege its being rented out already. i cant get one in 7 days.whatcanidonow

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