Georgia Landlord Tenant Law and Regulations
Is there a limit on how much I can charge for rent?
A landlord may charge whatever he/she feels is reasonable because Georgia law does not limit the amount of rent a landlord is permitted to charge. The state of Georgia has not introduced rent control or rent stabilization.
Am I required to provide smoke detectors?
As of June 1st, 1994, a house, apartment, or condominium must contain a smoke detector. The smoke detector must be located in a passageway by the bedrooms of the dwelling. There must be a smoke detector on each floor, except the attic, unless it is used as a living space. All detectors must be listed and meet the specifications of the NFPA 72.
What are the limits on the amount I can charge for fees?
In Georgia, returned payment fees are to be charged to the tenant as follows: $30 or 5 percent of the instrument, whichever is greater, plus the amount of fees charged to the holder of the instrument by a bank or financial institution as a result of the instrument not being honored. Late fees are not prohibited, but tend to be a rare practice and generally not encouraged (Ga. Code Ann. § 13-6-15).
Are there specific instructions regarding security deposits?
There are no limits on the amount a landlord may charge for a security deposit. Security deposits must be placed in either a post bond or escrow account. Landlords must provide tenants with written notice stating the name, address, account number, as well as the manner in which the security deposit is being held. At the end of a tenancy, the security deposit must be returned within 30 days or written notice stating the reason for withholding any amount. If the landlord keeps a portion of the security deposit, he or she must return the balance along with the reasons for retention to the tenant’s last known address.
May I limit the amount of visitors in my rental?
A landlord may not limit the amount of guests a tenant allows into their unit, although, if a tenant has the same visitor spend too many nights a landlord may deem the guests as an unauthorized occupant.
How can I terminate a Georgia lease?
For a Written Lease: There is no minimum or maximum time restriction for notice to end or renew a lease, except that terms of notice shall be clearly specified in the lease.
No written lease: A landlord must give a tenant 60 days notice to end the lease and a tenant may give the landlord 30 days notice.
Are there circumstances where I am required to release a tenant from a lease?
A landlord may be forced to release a tenant from a contractual agreement when the dwelling unit or premise is damaged and/or destroyed by fire or casualty not caused by the tenant, deeming the rental property unlivable.
I have already started eviction proceedings; should I accept a partial payment?
Accepting payment whether full or partial, may waive the landlord’s right to proceed and evict the tenant.
What do I do to initiate eviction?
The basis for evicting a tenant is:
- The non-payment of rent.
- Failure to surrender the premises at the end of the lease term.
- Breach of the lease, including any rules that are part of the lease, entitling the landlord to terminate the lease.
Prior to going to court, the landlord must give written notice to the tenant stating that they must immediately give up possession and vacate. If the tenant refuses or fails to hand over possession, the landlord, the landlord’s agent, or the attorney must go to the magistrate court and file a dispossessory affidavit under oath.
Can I charge attorney fees and court costs?
In the State of Georgia, attorney fees may be recovered by the prevailing party if specified within the lease agreement. Court costs however, are usually awarded by the judge to the prevailing party
May I require renter’s insurance?
A landlord may require a tenant to get renter’s insurance, although, there is no law that states a tenant must purchase renter’s insurance.
How much notice must I give before entering the rental unit?
Before entering the premises, a landlord must give at least 24 hours notice, except in the case of an emergency, or if it is impracticable to do so.
Disclaimer: The information provided herein is intended as a general discussion of legal issues concerning landlord tenant law. Each issue has unique circumstances that may be too complicated to put a simple answer to. The answers in this Q & A are only guidelines. Information provided is not legal advice or a legal opinion, and it is recommended that the reader seek independent counsel for any specific issue.