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Georgia Rental Laws – An Overview of Landlord Tenant Rights in Marietta

By February 17, 2022 No Comments

In Georgia, the landlord-tenant relationship is established either orally, in written rental agreements, or when it’s simply implied. After the establishment of the relationship, both parties – the landlord and tenant – obtain certain rights and responsibilities.

Both you and your tenant must abide by these responsibilities for the entire duration of the rental agreement.

In this blog, we’ll provide you with a basic overview of the key elements under the Georgia landlord-tenant law.

Required Landlord Disclosures in Georgia

georgia landlord disclosures

Georgia law requires that landlords provide their tenants with certain disclosures before they agree to rent the property. These disclosures include:

  • Lead-based paint. This is a federal requirement for houses built before 1978. Landlords must let their tenants know of concentrations of lead paint used.
  • Authorized authorities. Property owners have the responsibility of notifying their tenants about the names and addresses of the landlord or manager.
  • Flooding risk. You must let your tenant know of any flooding that’s occurred in the property three or four times in the past 5 years.
  • Move-in checklist. This isn’t exactly a disclosure, but it’s mandatory to provide your tenant with a move-in inspection checklist in Georgia. You must have your tenant sign and agree to the condition of the property and its amenities if you charge a security deposit.

Please note that you must provide all these disclosures prior to the tenant before moving in or signing the lease agreement. If you don’t, your tenant may have a right to terminate their lease without further responsibilities.

Tenants’ Rights & Responsibilities in Georgia

Tenants in Georgia have the right to:

  • Be treated fairly in accordance with the Fair Housing Act.
  • A judicial eviction process as outlined in the Georgia landlord-tenant Act.
  • Be notified about any changes to the terms of the rental agreement.
  • Be notified prior to any landlord entry.
  • A proper written notice after the landlord receives their security deposit.
  • A walk-through inspection prior to moving out.
  • Live in peace and quiet as per the Implied Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment.
  • Live in a safe and sanitary home.
  • Have repairs done within a reasonable period of time.

When it comes to Georgia tenant responsibilities, these include:

  • Paying rent on time as per the agreement, and paying any fees once it’s late.
  • Notifying the landlord when maintenance issues come up.
  • Notifying the landlord prior to moving out.
  • Abiding by all rules and policies of the lease agreement.
  • Caring for the unit.
  • Paying the required security deposit and other move-in fees prior to moving in.
  • Notifying the landlord when away for an extended period of time.
  • Keeping the noise levels down.

Landlord Responsibilities & Rights

landlords tenant georgia

The following are some basic rights you have as a landlord in Georgia. You have the right to:

  • Receive rent payments on time.
  • Be notified when your tenant is looking to vacate the premises.
  • Enter rented premises to carry out important responsibilities like a rental inspection.
  • Evict a tenant for failing to comply with the terms of the lease agreement.
  • Make appropriate deductions to a tenant’s security deposit for a lease violation.
  • Make changes to the terms of the lease agreement.

As for the responsibilities, they are as follows:

  • Follow the due eviction process as required by law.
  • Respond to maintenance issues in a timely manner.
  • Ensure the tenant lives in peace and quiet.
  • Treat the tenant with respect and not discriminate against them on the basis of a protected class.
  • Notify the tenant about any changes to the agreement.
  • Ensure the property complies with all Georgia health, safety, and building codes.
  • Serve proper notice prior to entering a tenant’s rented unit.
  • Abide by all terms of the lease agreement.

An Overview of the Landlord-Tenant Laws in Georgia

landlord tenant laws georgia

1. Changing Locks

Georgia tenants are free to change their locks unless the lease agreement states otherwise. However, as a landlord, you cannot unilaterally change the locks, as “lockouts” are considered to be a form of self-help eviction.

2. Housing Discrimination

All forms of housing discrimination are prohibited in the state of Georgia. The Fair Housing Act requires landlords to treat tenants respectfully and fairly.

While some states have additional protections for classes not covered under the federal Fair Housing Act, Georgia doesn’t. As such, the only protected characteristics in Georgia are race, color, sex, disability, religion, national origin and familial status.

3. Rent Increases

There are no rent control laws in Georgia. As such, landlords are free to charge whatever rent amount they want.

And even when it comes to rental increases, no law bars you from increasing by whatever amount you wish.

4. Lease Termination

Tenants in Georgia have a right to terminate their lease for certain reasons. They include:

  • If the unit is no longer habitable due to a repair or maintenance issue.
  • If they can prove that they have been harassed by the landlord.
  • When starting active military duty.
  • If they become a domestic violence victim.
  • If there is an early lease termination clause in the agreement.

Other than these reasons, a tenant who breaks their lease early will still be liable to pay rent for the remainder of the term. Unlike some other states, landlords in Georgia aren’t required to “mitigate damages” after a tenant leaves.

tenant lease agreement georgia

5. Security Deposits

Georgia also has a security deposit law in place. These laws are contained in the statewide landlord-tenant act. The following are a couple of rules that landlords must abide by when it comes to a tenant’s security deposit.

  • Store it by posting a surety bond.
  • Only make appropriate deductions for certain justified reasons, such as excessive property damage.
  • Return it within 30 days after a tenant leaves, minus any deductions.

6. Tenant Evictions

As already mentioned, Georgia landlords have a right to evict their tenants. That said, the reason for doing so and the process to follow must abide by the law. If the reason for the eviction is determined to be discriminatory or punitive, you may find yourself in trouble with the law.

Georgia Landlord-Tenant Laws in a Nutshell

There’s a myriad of rules to follow with regard to landlord-tenant laws in Georgia. As a landlord, you need to be aware of these rules and abide by them, otherwise, you may get into legal trouble.

Contact Vineyard Property Management if you need help managing your rental property! We’re a team of professional Georgia property managers who can handle all aspects of property management on your behalf. We know the Georgia landlord-tenant act and will ensure your investment is legally compliant.

Disclaimer: This blog isn’t a substitute for legal resources from a licensed attorney. Laws change frequently, and this post might not be updated at the time you read it. If you have a specific question about landlord-tenant laws in Georgia please get in touch with a qualified attorney.