This is a summary of Georgia Landlord-Tenant laws that apply to residential (non-commercial) rentals. These references were compiled from the Georgia Code and various online sources to serve as a reference for people wanting to learn about Georgia landlord-tenant laws, Georgia eviction laws, and Georgia renters’ rights. 

However, this guide is not comprehensive and PayRent does not warrant the accuracy of this information. Statutes can change any time the state legislature passes a new law. Additionally, counties and cities may have different regulations. Given its limitations, this guide is not an adequate substitute for legal advice from a knowledgeable lawyer.  If you are dealing with a landlord-tenant issue, you seek guidance from a qualified attorney. If you need help finding an attorney, we’ve included a list of attorney referral services in this guide.

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Rules and Regulations Governing Georgia Landlord-Tenant Laws

Georgia Lease Terms Provisions

Security Deposits

  • What is the maximum allowable security deposit?

There is no Georgia law limiting security deposits.

  • Are security deposits required to earn interest?

No. There is no Georgia law requiring security deposits to earn interest.

  • Do landlords need to store security deposits in a separate bank account? 

Yes. Security deposits must be deposited in an escrow account established only for holding security deposits. (Ga. Code § 44-7-31)

  • Are non-refundable fees, such as pet fees, prohibited?

No. Georgia law permits non-refundable fees, but they cannot be part of the security deposit and must be stated in the rental agreement. (Ga. Code § 44-7-30)

  • How long do landlords have to return security deposits?

30 days. (Ga. Code § 44-7-34(a))

  • Can landlords withhold security deposits?

Yes. Landlords can use the deposit for nonpayment of rent or fees for late payment, for the 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 actual damages caused by the tenant’s breach. (Ga. Code § 44-7-34(a))

  • Are landlords required to itemize damages and fees deducted from security deposits?

Yes. Landlords must provide the tenant a written statement identifying the exact reasons for the deductions, which shall include the comprehensive list of damages if the reason for deduction is based on damages to the premises, along with the remaining security deposit, via first-class mail to the last known address of the tenant.  (Ga. Code § 44-7-34(a))

  • Do landlords have to issue receipts upon receiving security deposits?

No. There is no Georgia law requiring landlords to issue receipts for security deposits.

  • Are there any specific requirements for record-keeping for deposit withholdings?

Within three business days after the termination of the residential lease and vacation of the premises or the surrender and acceptance of the premises, whichever occurs first, the landlord or his or her agent 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 and the estimated dollar value of such damage.  The tenant shall upon request have the right to inspect the premises and such list within five business days after the termination of the residential lease and vacation of the premises or the surrender and acceptance of the premises and the inspection by the landlord or his or her agent.  If the tenant is present with the landlord at the time of the inspection, the landlord and the tenant shall sign the list, and this shall be conclusive evidence of the accuracy of the list.  If the tenant refuses to sign the list, he or she shall state specifically in writing the items on the list to which he or she dissents and shall sign the statement of dissent. (Ga. Code § 44-7-33(b)(1))

  • What happens when a landlord does not return a security deposit within the required timeframe?

Any landlord who fails to return a deposit that is required to be returned may be liable for three times the amount withheld plus attorney’s fees. (Ga. Code § 44-7-35(c))

Rent

  • Is there a cap on how much landlords can charge for rent? (rent control)

No. There are no rent control laws in Georgia.

  • When is rent due?

There is no statute in Georgia law covering this issue. 

  • Does rent need to be paid using a certain method of payment?

No. There is no Georgia law requiring a certain payment method for rent.

Fees

  • Can landlords charge late fees when rent is late?

Yes. There is no Georgia law forbidding late fees or limiting the amount that landlords can charge.

  • Do landlords have to allow for a grace period for paying rent before charging late fees?

No. There is no Georgia law requiring a grace period before assessing late fees.

  • Can landlords charge application fees?

Yes. There is no Georgia law forbidding application fees or limiting the amount that landlords can charge.

  • Can landlords charge returned check fees?

Yes. Landlords can charge a returned check fee up to $30 or 5 percent of the check, plus the amount of any bank fees charged. (Ga. Code § 13-6-15(b))

Georgia Landlord-Tenant Relations

Notices

  • Are landlords required to provide tenants with notice of rent increases between lease terms?

No. There is no Georgia law requiring landlords to provide tenants with notice of rent increases between lease terms. However, landlords cannot raise your rent in the middle of your lease.

  • Are landlords required to provide tenants with notice of pesticide use on the property?

No. There is no Georgia law requiring landlords to provide tenants with notice of pesticide use on the rental property.

  • What notice is required to terminate a fixed-end lease?

No notice is required — the lease ends on the date stated in the lease.

  • What notice is required to terminate a tenancy-at-will?

The landlord may terminate the tenancy with 60 days’ notice or the tenant can terminate the tenancy with 30 days’ notice.  (Ga. Code § 44-7-7)

  • Is notice of the date and time of the move out inspection required?

There is no statute in Georgia law covering this issue. 

Entry Provisions

  • When can landlords enter the rental premises with notice?

There is no statute in Georgia law covering this issue. 

  • What notice must a landlord give a tenant before entering the rental unit?

There is no Georgia law requiring landlords to give tenants notice of entry.

  • When can landlords enter the rental premises without providing notice to their tenants?

There is no statute in Georgia law covering this issue. 

Landlord’s Duties  (Ga. Code § 44-7-13)

  • Landlords must keep the premises in repair.

Tenant’s Duties

  • There is no statute in Georgia law covering this issue. 

Required Landlord Disclosures

  • Landlords are required to disclose in writing the names and business addresses of: 
    • the person authorized to manage the premises.
    • the owner of the premises or a person authorized to act for and on behalf of the owner for service of process and receiving notices. (Ga. Code § 44-7-3(a)
  • If any portion of the living space covered by the lease has been damaged by flooding three times in the last five years, the landlord must disclose the property’s propensity of flooding to prospective tenants in writing. (Ga. Code § 44-7-20)
  • 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.

Georgia Renters’ Rights

  • What rights do tenants have if their landlords breach their duties? (See Landlord’s Duties)

There is no statute in Georgia law covering this issue. 

  • Are tenants allowed to withhold rent for needed repairs or other breaches of their landlords’ duties?

There is no statute in Georgia law covering this issue. 

  • What are the protections for tenants against retaliation from their landlords for exercising their Georgia renter’s rights?

There is no statute in Georgia law covering this issue. 

Georgia Eviction Laws

  • What are the reasons that landlords can evict tenants under Georgia eviction laws?
    • Nonpayment of rent 
    • Violation of  lease terms / rental agreement 
    • The tenant remains in possession without the landlord’s consent after expiration or termination of the term of the rental agreement (holdover tenancy) (Ga. Code § 44-7-20(a))
  • What notice must landlords provide tenants before starting the eviction process in Georgia?
    • For evictions based on non-payment of rent or violation of the rental agreement, the landlord must notice before starting the eviction process, but the statute does not specify a certain timeframe. Landlords do not have to permit the tenant to cure the breach. . (Ga. Code § 44-7-20(a))
  • For evictions based on a holdover tenancy, landlords must provide 60 days’ notice to terminate all at-will tenancies. If the tenant remains on the rental property after the termination date, the landlord can begin the eviction process without providing additional notice.  (Ga. Code § 44-7-7)
  • Are landlords permitted to use “self-help eviction” methods, such as locking a tenant out of the rental unit or shutting off the utilities? 

No. If a landlord intentionally shuts off utilities, the landlord may be assessed a fine not to exceed $500.  (Ga. Code § 44-7-14.1)

COVID-19 Changes to Georgia Landlord-Tenant Laws

  • The CDC has passed a national eviction ban through December 31, 2020, that prohibits landlords from evicting tenants  who meet the following criteria for nonpayment:
    • Have used their best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent.
    • Expect to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for Calendar Year 2020 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return).
    • Are unable to pay their full rent or make a full housing payment due to substantial loss of income or employment, or extraordinary medical bills.
    • If evicted, will have no other housing options.
  • The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act requires landlords to provide a 30-day notice to tenants before eviction. However, the CARES Act only applies to properties that are supported by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), or the United States Treasury (Low Income Housing Tax Credit), and properties with federally-backed mortgages, such as FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac.

Related Links

Government 

Realtor and Landlord-Tenant Associations

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