As a landlord or a property manager in the state of Georgia, it's critical to understand Georgia renter's rights to foster a healthy landlord-tenant relationship, protect your investment, and ensure legal compliance. After all, knowledge is power. And in the rental world, the more you understand, the better your rental experience.

In broad terms, Georgia is considered a landlord-friendly state, but that doesn’t mean tenants don't have legal rights and protections. Understanding landlord-tenant rights is essential whether you're a landlord, property manager, or tenant.

This comprehensive guide will explore the fundamentals of Georgia's landlord-tenant laws, helping you navigate the rental process while abiding by state regulations. We’ll review the lease/rental agreement, tenant rights and responsibilities, repairs and maintenance, and evictions and foreclosures.

A Summary of Renters Rights in Georgia

In Georgia, landlord-tenant relationships are governed by a combination of state statutes, case law, and lease agreement terms. Here are the statutes and legal principles that generally support the key aspects of landlord and tenant responsibilities:

Lease Agreements:

  • O.C.G.A. § 44-7 (Landlord and Tenant): This chapter provides general provisions regarding rental agreements, obligations, and various other aspects of the landlord-tenant relationship in Georgia. While it might not explicitly detail every scenario, lease agreements are legally binding contracts, and both parties must adhere to the agreed-upon terms, given the lease does not clash with prior court precedent or federal, state, and local laws.

Habitable Housing:

  • Implied Warranty of Habitability: Georgia has no specific statute outlining habitability requirements. However, court rulings and local housing codes enforce the concept that landlords must provide safe and habitable accommodations. This includes maintaining structural integrity, plumbing, heating, and electrical systems in compliance with local and state building codes.
  • Various Local Codes and Ordinances: Different cities and counties in Georgia often have their own specific housing codes that outline standards for habitable living conditions.

Landlord Entry:

  • No Specific Statewide Statute: Georgia has no specific statute that sets forth entry rules for landlords. Instead, the terms of entry are usually specified in the Georgia lease agreement that gets signed by the renter and landlord. While the law doesn't provide exact guidelines, reasonable notice (often understood to be 24 hours) and reasonable entry times are generally accepted practices, except in cases of emergencies.

Repairs and Maintenance:

  • O.C.G.A. § 44-7-13: This section states that landlords must keep the premises in repair, though it does not explicitly allow for rent withholding if repairs aren't made. Tenants typically need to request repairs and follow certain legal procedures if disputes arise over maintenance issues.


  • O.C.G.A. § 44-7-50 (Dispossessory Proceedings): This statute outlines the process for eviction, known as dispossessory proceedings in Georgia. It includes the need for proper notice to the tenant before an eviction suit can be filed. The specific notice required can vary depending on the reason for eviction and the terms of the lease.

It's important to note that while these statutes provide a framework for tenants and landlords, the actual application can vary based on specific circumstances, court interpretations, and local regulations. Lease agreements can also include terms that further detail these aspects, as long as they don't violate the tenant's rights under the law.

Understanding a Lease Agreement in Georgia

A lease agreement is more than just a piece of paper—it's a legally binding contract that outlines the rights and responsibilities of both landlord and tenant. These agreements lay the foundation for a successful and legally sound landlord-tenant relationship.

Importance of Reading and Understanding a Lease Agreement

Both landlord and tenant should get to know their lease agreement to understand their responsibilities. As a landlord, it's a good idea always to include a written lease agreement, regardless of the lease duration. This simple precaution can safeguard both parties in cases of a legal dispute in a court of law.

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What to Include in a Lease/Rental Agreement

A Georgia lease agreement should include several key elements. Here are some of the most important details to have:

Names of all parties involved: This includes the landlord's or property manager's name as well as the names of all tenants occupying the property.

Property Description: A detailed description of the rental unit, including its location and any pertinent features.

Rent amount and due date: The lease agreement should clearly state the rent amount, when it's due, and the acceptable payment methods.

Lease term: The duration of the lease should be clearly defined, indicating when the lease begins and ends.

Security deposit details: This includes the amount of the security deposit, reasons for deductions, and the procedure for returning the deposit at the end of the lease.

Repair and maintenance responsibilities: The lease should outline who is responsible for specific repairs and regular maintenance tasks.

Policies on late rent and eviction: What happens if the rent is late should be clear, including any late fees. The lease should also explain the eviction process in case of a lease violation.

Tenant's rights: The lease should clearly state that the tenant has the right to a safe and habitable living environment.

Before signing on the dotted line, thoroughly understand your lease agreement. If you need any clarification or have any questions about your agreement, it’s a good idea to seek legal advice from an attorney.

Rights and Responsibilities of Tenants in Georgia

As a tenant in Georgia, it's crucial to understand your rights to protect you from unfair practices and establish your obligations as a renter. Let's dive in.

Tenant's Entitlement to Safe and Livable Accommodations

It's a fundamental entitlement for every Georgia tenant to reside in a safe and livable environment. The landlord is responsible for maintaining the property at a standard that meets essential living and safety requirements. This includes ensuring access to running water, adequate heating and cooling, secure electrical systems, and freedom from pest or rodent infestations.

Tenant's Responsibility to Pay Rent and Maintain the Property

While tenants have the right to a safe living space, they also have responsibilities. Some of these duties include:

  • Paying rent on time according to the rental agreement.
  • Maintaining the property (including keeping the rental clean and disposing of trash).
  • Communicating with the landlord if the property is damaged or repairs are needed.

If a tenant fails to do so, landlords may have the legal right to initiate an eviction to have them removed from the property.

Tenant's Right to Privacy and Quiet Enjoyment

In Georgia, tenants have a right to privacy and quiet enjoyment of their rental units. This means many things and can be interpreted in many ways.

The state of Georgia is one of 13 states that does not have specific regulations on how much notice landlords must give before entering the property. It's generally considered good practice to provide at least 24 hours notice. Landlords should respect these parameters to avoid violating tenant privacy.

Tenant's Responsibility to Comply with Lease Terms

Finally, tenants must comply with the terms and conditions outlined in the lease agreement. This includes rules about pets, noise, smoking, subleasing, and more. If tenants violate the terms of the lease, the landlord may have grounds to evict them.

Georgia State Law: Repair and Maintenance Obligations

When it comes to repairs and maintenance requirements for tenants and landlords in Georgia, specific Georgia state statutes apply. Here's a general overview of those statutes:

Tenant Responsibilities:

  • Immediate Written Notice: Tenants must provide prompt, written notice to landlords for any repairs needed.
  • Adherence to Lease: All notices should comply with the specific terms outlined in the lease agreement.

Landlord Responsibilities:

  • Maintenance Duties: Landlords must keep the rental unit safe, habitable, and in good repair, specifically maintaining:
    • Building structure
    • Electric, heating, and plumbing systems
  • Exercise Ordinary Care: Ensure access and unit are safe for tenants.

Exceptions to Landlord Responsibilities:

  • Pre-existing Issues: Landlords aren't responsible for problems noted during the initial move-in inspection unless they render the unit unsafe or unsanitary.
  • Specific Amenities: Unless the landlord provides them, there is no obligation to repair air conditioning, appliances, or fences.

Tenant Brews for Non-Repair:

  • Continue to Pay Rent: Tenants generally must continue paying rent even if repairs are delayed.
  • Legal Recourse: Tenants may file a lawsuit or use a repair-and-deduct method under strict conditions.
  • Repair-and-Deduct: Tenants can arrange and pay for necessary repairs and deduct costs from rent, provided they notify the landlord and follow legal procedures.
  • Constructive Eviction: A rare but possible recourse if a unit becomes completely uninhabitable due to the landlord's neglect.

Additional Considerations:

  • Code Enforcement: Tenants can contact local housing code inspectors if landlords fail to comply with housing codes.
  • Retaliation is Illegal: Landlords cannot retaliate against tenants for asserting their rights, including contacting code enforcement.
  • Move-Out Options: In extreme cases of uninhabitability, tenants may consider the unit abandoned and move out. However, this is a last resort and requires a comprehensive understanding of applicable state laws.

Compensation for Damages:

  • Negotiation Over Litigation: Tenants may seek compensation for temporary loss or damage due to delayed repairs, preferably through negotiation for future rent credit or other arrangements.

Understanding Evictions and Foreclosures in Georgia

Both evictions and foreclosures can be stressful and challenging experiences. But with a solid understanding of tenant rights in Georgia, you can navigate these situations confidently. This section will discuss the reasons for eviction, the eviction process, and your rights during foreclosure. For more information, visit our article on evictions in Georgia.

Grounds for Eviction in Georgia

In the state of Georgia, landlords may file evictions against tenants for a number of reasons. Here are some details on the grounds for eviction in Georgia:

Failure to Pay Rent: One of the most common reasons for eviction is failure to pay rent. In Georgia, landlords must provide a demand for rent (sometimes referred to as a Pay or Quit Notice) before they can file an eviction suit. This notice typically gives the tenant a short period (often specified in the lease or by state law) to pay the rent or leave the property.

Lease Violations: Tenants can also be evicted for not complying with the lease agreement terms. This might include things like damaging the property, having unauthorized pets (if the lease prohibits pets), or engaging in illegal activities on the premises. The lease's specific terms will dictate what constitutes a violation and the process for eviction due to these violations.

End of Lease Term: In some cases, landlords might not renew a lease and can ask the tenant to move out at the end of the lease term. If the tenant refuses to leave after the lease has expired, the landlord might proceed with an eviction.

No Lease or End of Lease: If the tenant is renting without a formal lease or if the lease has expired and the tenant is now month-to-month, the landlord can end the tenancy without cause, typically by providing a notice period as required by state law.

Each of these scenarios calls for a specific type of notice, the time frame in which the notice must be given, as well as how it must be delivered, and so on. These details are governed by Georgia state law and can have nuances based on the specific circumstances of the tenancy. If you find yourself dealing with an eviction, it's always advisable that you consult with a legal professional or a local housing authority in Georgia for the most accurate and applicable advice to your specific situation.

The Eviction Process in Georgia

Notice to Quit: In Georgia, the eviction process typically starts with the landlord giving the tenant a notice to quit (also known as a notice to vacate or demand for possession). The specific type and duration of notice can depend on the reason for eviction and the terms of the lease.

  • Month-to-Month Leases: For tenants with a month-to-month lease, landlords are generally required to provide at least a 60-day notice to terminate the lease and a 30-day notice for tenants to vacate the premises.
  • Year-to-Year Leases: The notice period might vary for year-to-year leases, and it's often recommended to consult the lease agreement or a legal expert for specifics. Traditionally, tenants are provided with a notice a few months before the end of the lease term, depending on the lease agreement.

Filing a Complaint: If the tenant doesn't comply with the notice and remains on the property, the landlord can then file an eviction lawsuit, often referred to as a dispossessory proceeding in Georgia. This involves going to court and providing evidence of the violation of the lease or failure to pay rent.

Court Judgment and Writ of Possession: If the court rules in favor of the landlord, it will issue a judgment for possession. Following this, if the tenant still does not leave, the landlord can obtain a "Writ of Possession" from the court. This writ authorizes the sheriff or other local official to remove the tenant from the property.

Time Frame: The duration of the entire eviction process can vary significantly based on several factors, including the court's schedule, any legal defenses the tenant raises, and the specific circumstances of the case. While three weeks might be typical for a straightforward case, complexities can cause it to take longer.

Landlord-Tenant Rights During Foreclosure

The Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act (PTFA), which was initially enacted in 2009, expired in 2014 but was permanently reinstated in 2018. It is a federal law that provides tenant protections in the event of a foreclosure on the home that they are renting. 

Here's how it applies:

Right to Remain for Lease Duration: Under the PTFA, generally, tenants have the right to stay in the property until the end of their lease term, even after a foreclosure sale. This is applicable unless there are specific exceptions, such as the new owner intending to occupy the property as a primary residence.

Notice for Early Termination: If the new owner plans to live in the property as their primary residence, they may terminate a lease with 90 days' notice. This is the exception to the general rule allowing tenants to stay until the end of the lease.

Month-to-Month Tenancies: For tenants under month-to-month leases, the new owner is required to provide at least a 90-day notice before evicting the tenant.

It's worth noting that while the PTFA provides these federal protections, local laws may also offer additional rights or stipulations that provide even broader protections.

Resources for Tenants and Landlords in Georgia

Navigating landlord-tenant rights can be challenging, but you're not alone. In Georgia, several organizations are committed to providing resources and support for tenants. These include:

Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD): The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is a valuable resource for tenants, especially when it comes to dealing with housing discrimination, bad landlords in federal housing, and many other issues. HUD provides various services and programs to assist tenants in understanding their rights and resolving disputes. Reach out to them for complaints related to tenancy.

Legal Aid of Georgia: Another excellent resource for tenants is Legal Aid of Georgia, which offers a free Tenant Rights Clinic. They provide general legal information and guidance and have a volunteer attorney available to answer questions. These clinics are held throughout the state and are also available online.

Georgia Department of Justice: The Georgia Department of Justice provides valuable information and services to protect tenants' rights. They have resources and guidelines to help tenants understand their rights and responsibilities.

American Bar Association: The American Bar Association (ABA) offers resources and educational material to help landlords and tenants understand their legal rights and responsibilities.

Legal Aid and Tenant Rights Clinics in Georgia

There are resources available in Georgia to assist tenants dealing with unresponsive landlords. Georgia Legal Aid for renters and homeowners offers itself as a resource where tenants can learn about their rights and get advice on dealing with landlord issues and self-help forms.

Georgia's Attorney General also provides resources on the landlord's duty to maintain and repair rental properties.


Remember that understanding Georgia landlord-tenant rights means empowering yourself. It's about recognizing what's fair and legal and engaging effectively with your landlord. And while navigating these waters may seem overwhelming, our TenantCloud platform is here to help.

At TenantCloud, we aim to make your rental experience as smooth and stress-free as possible, whether you’re a property owner, landlord, or tenant. Try TenantCloud today and see how easy it is to communicate between landlord and tenant, request and track maintenance repairs, pay rent, sign lease agreements, and more.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What can a landlord not do in Georgia?

A: In Georgia, a landlord cannot:

  • Illegally evict a tenant without following the proper court procedures.
  • Discriminate against tenants based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability.
  • Retaliate against a tenant for exercising legal rights, such as complaining about unsafe living conditions.
  • Enter a tenant's dwelling without proper notice except in emergencies.
  • Refuse to make necessary repairs to keep the property habitable.

Q: What is the eviction process in Georgia?

A: The eviction process in Georgia typically involves:

  1. Notice to Quit: Landlord provides the tenant with a notice to quit based on the reason for eviction (e.g., non-payment of rent or lease violation).
  2. Filing of Dispossessory Affidavit: If the tenant does not comply, the landlord can file a dispossessory affidavit in court.
  3. Court Hearing and Judgment: Both parties attend the hearing. If the judge rules in favor of the landlord, a writ of possession is issued.
  4. Writ of Possession: The sheriff or marshal enforces the writ of possession, legally removing the tenant if necessary.

Q: What are the laws regarding repairs and maintenance in Georgia?

A: In Georgia, laws regarding repairs and maintenance generally stipulate that:

  • Landlords are responsible for keeping the rental property in a habitable condition, adhering to building codes, and making necessary repairs.
  • Tenants must notify landlords promptly and in writing of any needed repairs.
  • Landlords are not responsible for damages caused by the tenant's abuse or neglect.
  • Certain repairs may be the tenant's responsibility based on the lease agreement.
  • If landlords fail to make critical repairs, tenants might have legal remedies such as repair-and-deduct, withholding rent, or even terminating the lease under severe circumstances. However, these actions have specific legal requirements and should be approached with caution.