Georgia Landlord Tenant Laws [2023]: Renter's Rights & FAQs (2023)

Last Updated: January 6, 2022 by Elizabeth Souza

Under Georgia law, leases and rental agreements can be oral, written or even implied. According to Georgia law, GA Code Title 44 Chapter 7 both landlords and tenants have rights and responsibilities. Landlords have the right to collect rental payments in a timely manner and the right to pursue eviction if the tenant is found to be found in violation of the rental agreement.

Tenants also have the right to pursue housing without discrimination and the right to a habitable dwelling, among other rights.

Note: These rights exist regardless of a rental agreement stating otherwise.

Questions? To chat with a Georgia landlord tenant attorney, click here

Landlord Responsibilities in Georgia

Georgia leases can either be written or oral and even be implied. Tenants and landlords have certain rights even when they are not included in a lease. Landlords are obligated to maintain the premises and keep them in good repair. Georgia tenants do not have the right to withhold rent but may repair and deduct the cost from the following month’s rent.

Local counties and municipalities in Georgia might have additional rights and responsibilities for landlords.

ItemLandlord Responsibility?
PlumbingYes
Sanitation/SewageYes
ElectricityYes
Smoke DetectorsYes
Air ConditioningYes, if provided in the lease agreement
Pest ControlNot addressed

These standards apply to single and multi-family homes. They also can apply to mobile homes when the same person or group owns the home and property that the home is on.

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Failing to make appropriate repairs in a “reasonable” timeframe can be grounds for the tenant to remnant the lease.

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Tenant Responsibilities in Georgia

Tenants also have responsibilities in Georgia. In Georgia, tenants must:

  • Not cut or destroy growing trees.
  • Not remove permanent fixtures.
  • Not damage the property.

Evictions in Georgia

Georgia landlords can start the eviction process after providing a reason for eviction. Landlords can evict for the following reasons:

  1. Nonpayment of Rent – Georgia landlords can provide a Notice to Pay to a non-paying tenant. Georgia law doesn’t specify how much time tenants must be given in the notice.
  2. Violation of Lease Terms – Georgia landlords are not required to allow tenants to correct a lease violation, but they must provide tenants with a Notice to Quit. Georgia law doesn’t specify how much time tenants must be given in the notice.
  3. No Lease/End of Lease – Tenants who hold over or stay in the rental unit after the rental term has expired may be given a 60-Day Notice to Quit.

Landlords are not allowed to evict for discriminatory reasons against a protected class. Landlords also cannot evict as retaliation for reporting health or safety code violations

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Security Deposits in Georgia

  • Standard limit/maximum amount – None.
  • Interest and maintenance – Landlords may post a surety bond equal to the value of the deposit in the county where the property exists.
  • Time limit for return – Landlords must return any security deposit owed within 30-days after a unit is reclaimed. Landlords must provide a written explanation of any deductions.
  • Penalty if not returned on time – Landlords may be liable for three times the original deposit’s value.
  • Allowable deductions – Georgia landlords can make deductions for:
    • Failure to pay rent
    • Abandonment of property
    • Nonpayment of utilities
    • Unpaid pet fees
    • Third-party cleaning fees

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Lease Termination in Georgia

Landlords and tenants in Georgia have different notice requirements. Landlords must always give 60-days’ notice to terminate any lease.

Rent Payment FrequencyNotice Needed
Week-to-WeekNo Statute
Month-to-Month60 Days
Quarter-to-Quarter60 Days
Year-to-Year60 Days

Tenants, on the other hand, only need to provide 30 days’ notice in both cases.

Questions? To chat with a Georgia landlord tenant attorney, click here

Early termination: Tenants can legally terminate a lease early for the following reasons:

  1. Active military duty
  2. Unit is uninhabitable
  3. Landlord harassment
  4. Domestic violence
  5. Prior early termination lease clause

Tenants may still be liable for paying the remainder of their lease after legally breaking it. Georgia landlords are not mandated to fill vacant rental spots in a timely and reasonable manner.

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Rent Increases & Related Fees in Georgia

  • Rent control. Georgia has virtual no rent control policies, and local laws actually prohibit rent control in many places. As such, landlords can charge whatever they want.
  • Rental increases. Georgia landlords can raise the rent for whatever reason they want whenever they want without prior notice.
  • Related fees. There are no limits to what late fees landlords can charge. However, returned checks fees are capped at $30 of 5% the check’s value.

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Housing Discrimination in Georgia

Protected groups. The Fair Housing Act prohibits landlords from discriminating against renters due to their membership in a protected class. These rules do not apply to all landlords, such as owner-occupied homes or houses operated by religious organizations.

Georgia does not have any additional protections for groups not covered in the Fair Housing Act. However, the state’s Department of Community Affairs provides some protections for non-statutorily protected individuals on a case-by-case basis.

Discriminatory acts. Acts considered discriminatory when directed against a protected group include:

  • Refusing to rent or sell housing on a bona fide offer
  • Lying about unit availability
  • Offering differing lease terms or privileges
  • Threatening or intimidating tenants
  • Refusing to accept “reasonable” accommodations
  • “Steering” tenants into specific neighborhoods.

There are no codified legal penalties for discrimination in Georgia housing.

Additional Landlord Tenant Regulations in Georgia

Landlord Right to Entry in Georgia

Landlords and tenants are free to set entry justification and notification terms in individual leases. Landlords are generally assumed to have the right to entry in emergencies.

Small Claims Court in Georgia

Georgia’s small claims court can handle tenant-landlord disputes up to $15,000. There does not seem to be a defined statute of limitations.

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Mandatory Disclosures in Georgia

Georgia law requires that landlords disclose the following information:

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  1. Lead-Based Paint – Houses built before 1978 must disclose concentrations of lead paint used.
  2. Authorized authorities – Landlords must provide names and addresses of any and all property owners or managers. If any of these people change, tenants must be notified in writing.
  3. Flooding Risk – Landlords must disclose if a house has flooded three or more times in the past five years.
  4. Move-In Checklist – Landlords must provide tenants with a move-in checklist if they charge a security deposit.

Read more

Changing locks in Georgia

Tenants are technically free to change their own locks unless their lease states otherwise. Landlords, however, cannot unilaterally change locks as they are prohibited from “lockouts.”

Georgia Landlord-Tenant Resources

Please check local county and municipality laws for additional rules and protections for both landlords and tenants.

Georgia Landlord Tenant Handbook – This handbook is written by the Department of Community Affairs and provides general guidance for both tenants and landlords.

Georgia Legal Aid – This is a tenant-oriented legal aid for Georgia renters that are looking for legal solutions to landlord misbehavior.

The Georgia Fair Housing Act – This pamphlet breaks down the state’s rules on discrimination and what actions are considered discrimination.

Questions? To chat with a Georgia landlord tenant attorney, click here

Sources

1 Unless lease states otherwise

Unless lease states otherwise

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Can a Landlord Enter Without Permission in Georgia?
If the lease allows for it, then yes. However, most leases have some kind of entry notification and agreement clause. This agreement can cover non-emergencies and emergencies. Read more »
Is Georgia a “Landlord Friendly” State?
Georgia is a very landlord-friendly state because it lacks statutory limits on monetary matters. Tenants also cannot take “alternative action,” so landlords have more leverage. Read more »
What Are a Tenant’s Rights in Georgia?
Tenants have the right to seek out a lease free of discrimination and receive certain types of disclosures. Read more »
Can a Tenant Change the Locks in Georgia?
Yes, tenants can change their locks. Tenants can change their locks and keep all key copies unless the lease explicitly forbids it. Tenants may be liable for damage payments if they do not change the locks back or give a copy of the new key to the landlord. Read more »

FAQs

What a landlord Cannot do in Georgia? ›

Georgia law says that a landlord cannot make a tenant make or pay for repairs, unless that tenant, his/her family or guests caused the damage. For serious repair problems, local housing code departments can inspect for possible violations.

How long can a landlord leave you without air conditioning in GA? ›

How long does my landlord have to fix the air conditioner before I can break my lease, seek alternative cooling, or alternative housing? A landlord normally has ten (10) days to repair problems in the premises but that time is shortened to five (5) days if the situation involves a health or safety issue.

How much time must a landlord give a tenant to move out in Georgia? ›

If there is a tenancy-at-will, the landlord must give the tenant sixty (60) days' notice telling them to leave.

Can a tenant refuse entry to landlord in Georgia? ›

A lease gives the tenant a right to the exclusive use of the lease premises. Unless the lease otherwise allows, the landlord can only enter the property, if such entry is necessary to cure a dangerous condition, prevent destruction or respond to a bona fide emergency on the premises.

What rights do renters have in Georgia? ›

According to Georgia landlord-tenant laws and the Federal Fair Housing Act, tenants have the legal right to proper housing, meaning that they must be able to live in a rental unit in good conditions. On the other hand, all tenants in Georgia have the legal right to receive fair treatment from their landlord.

What can I sue my landlord for in Georgia? ›

When a landlord fails to follow through on their legal obligation to keep their property safe, they may be liable for any damages an occupant or their guest sustains as result. This is done by filing a premises liability lawsuit.

Are landlords responsible for pest control in Georgia? ›

A landlord is generally responsible for keeping the property in good repair. However, pest control is not usually the landlord's responsibility, unless your lease states otherwise. Nevertheless, in situations where the pest problem is severe, as it appears to be in your case, the landlord may be required to address it.

How long does a landlord have to fix something? ›

When it comes to maintenance and repairs, it is important to know who is responsible. The landlord must ensure that the property is safe and habitable. If a tenant informs the landlord that maintenance repairs are necessary, the repairs must be done within 14 days of being asked unless otherwise agreed with the tenant.

Is a text message considered written notice in Georgia? ›

There are times when a text is considered to be a written notice, and it may be legally binding on occasion. However, texted material cannot be used as a technical written document.

Can landlord walk in without notice in Georgia? ›

There is no Georgia law regarding landlords entering a rental property without permission. However, tenants have the right to enjoy their rental property. In Georgia, tenants should refer to their lease about whether or not a landlord can enter without permission.

How long does it take to evict a tenant in Georgia? ›

How Long Does It Take to Evict A Tenant In Georgia? On average, a Georgia eviction can take anywhere between 14 - 80 days from the initial notice period to the return of possession.

What can a landlord refuse? ›

If someone has a criminal record, it's perfectly acceptable to decline them on this basis. You could be setting yourself up for property damage, theft, drugs within the property or, even if your tenant is on their best behaviour, they might attract unwanted attention to your property.

What is considered landlord harassment in Georgia? ›

Verbal threats, threats of physical violence, or actual physical contact are all examples of landlord harassment. Also, keep in mind that verbal threats can occur via face-to-face interaction, over the phone, or in writing.

Can a landlord kick you out? ›

During the fixed term, your landlord can only evict you for certain reasons - for example: you have not paid the rent. you're engaging in antisocial behaviour. there's a 'break clause' in your contract - this allows your landlord to take back the property before the end of the fixed term.

What are three responsibilities you have as a tenant? ›

Your responsibilities as a renter include the following: You must promptly notify the landlord of any problems with the property, such as a water leak. You must take reasonable steps to keep the property clean and sanitary. You must pay the required rent until the end of the lease.

Do tenants have a duty of care? ›

All landlords owe their tenants a duty of care when it comes to their health and safety while living in their rental property. Tenants, meanwhile, have a duty of care to those who visit the property while they're living there, and should ensure as far as is reasonable that they are safe while on the premises.

Can you withhold rent for repairs in GA? ›

Georgia law does not permit you to withhold your rent, but if you can prove that you gave the landlord notice of the needed repair, you can sue the landlord in court for failure to repair. Another solution is to do the repairs - or have someone else do them.

How much can a landlord increase rent in Georgia? ›

Georgia is one of 25 states where rent control is not allowed. Without caps on rent increases, landlords can charge whatever they think the market will bear.

Do landlords have to paint between tenants in Georgia? ›

Answer. No state law requires landlords to repaint a rental unit in between tenants. Some local (city or county) ordinances might require landlords to repaint under certain circumstances.

Does landlord have to pay for hotel during repairs in Georgia? ›

The landlord is not required to look for or pay for the tenant's temporary housing. If the property is only partly inhabitable, the tenant has the option of remaining there while repairs are made. Tenants should only consider doing this if the damage is minor and there are no longer any safety concerns.

Where can I file a complaint against my landlord? ›

The State of California Department of Consumer Affairs can help with questions or complaints regarding landlord/tenant relationships, including repair issues, safety violations, and Health and Safety Code violations. For further information, call (800) 952-5210, or visit the website at www.dca.ca.gov.

Can I sue my landlord for inconvenience? ›

Of course, you can sue your landlord for negligence where he fails in his responsibility to put your house in a good state of repair and you have suffered inconveniences, damages or health issues as a result. However, before suing your landlord, you can make complaints first.

How do I sue my landlord for unsafe living conditions in Georgia? ›

Gather all the evidence that you have regarding the unsafe living conditions and what steps all parties have taken. Get an attorney or call your local Legal Aid department for help. Take your landlord to court to force the landlord to fix the problem and comply with local and state landlord ordinances.

What are landlords responsible for? ›

Repair and maintain the inside of the property to the standard it was in at the start of the tenancy. Repair and maintain the structure of the property. Provide a Building Energy Rating (BER) for the property. Reimburse tenants for any repairs they make which are your responsibility.

Who can I report my landlord to in Georgia? ›

The Fair Housing Division (FHD) begins its complaint investigation process shortly after receiving a complaint that meets the jurisdiction requirements covered within the Georgia Fair Housing Law. The FHD will either investigate the complaint or refer the complaint to another agency to investigate.

Who do you call when your landlord will not fix things? ›

STEP 2: Get someone to inspect your apartment.

Call the Code Enforcement office in your town to file a complaint. Call 2-1-1 or go to http://www.211ct.org to get the phone number. When the inspector comes to your apartment, show the inspector everything that needs to be fixed, and write down the inspector's name.

What do landlords legally have to do? ›

Your landlord has to do anything your tenancy agreement says they have to do. Your landlord is also generally responsible for keeping in repair: the structure and exterior of your home, for example, the walls, roof, foundations, drains, guttering and external pipes, windows and external doors.

Whose responsibility is it to paint a rented house? ›

Typically it is the landlord's responsibility to decorate after the tenancy is over. However, the rental agreement will state whether decorating, touch-ups, and other cosmetic modifications are the tenants' responsibility throughout the year.

Can screenshots of text messages be used in court? ›

You can authenticate text messages by presenting: a “copy,” a screenshot, photo, or print-out of the message that includes identifying information that links the message to the texter, and. testimony or affidavit that the copy is a true and accurate representation of the text messages.

Does an email count as a written notice? ›

Can a legal notice be served by email? If you want to provide proof that a valid notice was sent, an email will not meet the criteria for official notice. If proof of adequate notice is necessary, you will need to have proof that the email was sent and the recipient read the email.

Is a text message proof of agreement? ›

A text message can be a legal document under the ESIGN Act, which gives contracts signed electronically the same weight as paper and ink contracts.

Can a landlord give notice for no reason? ›

Your landlord will have to give you notice if they want you to leave. They have to give the reasons why they want to evict you - for example, if you have rent arrears or you've damaged the property. Your landlord will have to go to court and get a court order.

Can a landlord evict you without a court order in Georgia? ›

In Georgia, you can be evicted if you do not pay rent, if you break an important part of your lease, or if your lease expired. However, your landlord cannot make you move without a court order. Evictions are called “dispossessory actions''.

What is the most a landlord can charge for damages? ›

Most states don't impose a limit on how much a landlord can charge for damages, but you should be able to justify the expense of making repairs. Landlords can't charge for normal wear and tear, such as thin spots in carpeting near the front door that appear after five years.

Can I stop eviction in Georgia? ›

Tenant Has Paid Rent in Full

If the landlord is evicting the tenant for not paying the rent, the tenant can stop the eviction by paying the rent in full, including any applicable court fees, within seven days of receiving the summons for the eviction lawsuit.

How long does an eviction stay on your rental history in Georgia? ›

Having an eviction on your record can be a major red flag and make it difficult to find a rental that meets your needs. Evictions stay on your record for seven years, but many people are not the same person they were seven years ago.

How much does it cost to evict a tenant in Georgia? ›

The person you sue must be served the Complaint and Summons by the Sheriff, and you pay a service cost of approximately $25.00 per Defendant. (Example: evict one Defendant - the cost is approximately $83.00; two Defendants - the cost is approximately $108.00- plus the online filing fee if applicable).

What are the new rules for landlords? ›

From 1 December 2022, landlords will need to give new tenants a paper or electronic version of the occupation contract within 14 days. For existing tenancies, landlords will have six months to issue tenants with their new occupation contract.

What is Section 11 of the Housing Act? ›

Landlord's obligations under section 11

The landlord must keep in repair the structure and exterior of the dwelling house and keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling house for the supply of water, gas, electricity, sanitation, space heating, and heating water.

What rights do long term tenants have? ›

If the tenant has an ongoing contract or agreement with their original landlord, then they retain the right to live in the property when it changes hands. The tenant in situ also has the right to remain in the property until their tenancy reaches its natural end or they are evicted for good cause.

What is considered intimidation in Georgia? ›

For the purposes of this article, the term "harassing and intimidating" means a knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person which causes emotional distress by placing such person in reasonable fear for such person's safety or the safety of a member of his or her immediate family, by establishing ...

How much can I sue my landlord for in Georgia? ›

Tenants can sue landlords in Magistrate Court for the return of their deposit, up to a dollar amount of $15,000. There is no limit in eviction cases. See Filing a Security Deposit Lawsuit in Georgia Magistrate Court for advice for tenants filing suit.

How much notice must a landlord give a tenant? ›

How does my landlord end a periodic tenancy? If your landlord wants to end your periodic tenancy, they usually have to give you 90 days' notice. In some cases, your landlord only has to give you 42 days' notice.

What to do if tenant refuses to move out? ›

If tenants don't leave at the end of the notice period, landlords must apply to the court for a possession order, which gives them the right to evict tenants and take possession of the property.

What is classed as unlawful eviction? ›

Unlawful Eviction: This is committed when the landlord or any person acting on behalf of the lld unlawfully deprives a residential occupier of his or her occupation of the whole of part of the premises.

What are examples of landlord harassment near Georgia? ›

Lying or intimidating a tenant. Giving a “three-day notice” or other eviction notice that is based on false charges. Using fighting words or threatening bodily harm. Refusing to do repairs that are required by law.

Can I sue my landlord? ›

You can take your landlord to court if they won't do repairs after you've asked them. You're more likely to win your case if you give the court as much evidence as possible. The judge will look at the evidence you and your landlord provide before making a decision.

Can a landlord just kick you out? ›

During the fixed term, your landlord can only evict you for certain reasons - for example: you have not paid the rent. you're engaging in antisocial behaviour. there's a 'break clause' in your contract - this allows your landlord to take back the property before the end of the fixed term.

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