The Georgia lease agreement is a legal form that is used for the purpose of recording the terms & conditions specific to the use of real property. The individual renting out the property (lessor) and the individual interested in occupying the property (lessee) must come to an accord on how the tenancy will transpire by determining the length of the occupancy, amount of the monthly rent payment, and any additional provisions that either party would like to establish. Once the document has been drafted, each party shall input the necessary information and sign within the designated areas to ensure the contract is enforceable.
Lease Agreements by Type
Commercial Lease Agreement – Is generally carried out for properties that are intended to generate profit, i.e., accommodate a business.
Lease to Own Agreement – Customized to fit the needs of a lessee who would like the possibility of buying the real estate throughout the duration of the contract.
Month-to-Month Lease – Falling under the category of “tenancy at will”, this type of lease can be canceled at any time. For the lessor, they must provide at least sixty (60) days’ notice of termination, the lessee only needs to provide thirty (30) days’ notice if they decide to end the tenancy (§ 44-7-7).
Roommate Agreement – Employed when an individual, who is currently listed on the lease of a residential property, would like to rent out a specific portion of the dwelling to another person.
Sublease Agreement – Is a contract used to re-rent property from the current lessee to what is known as a “sub-lessee”.
Review Title 44: Chapter 7 – Landlord and Tenant to better understand the state’s necessary code of conduct between lessors and lessees. Georgia’s Consumer Protection Division provides a Landlord Tenant Handbook that gives a condensed overview of the landlord & tenant’s rights, contract requirements, and eviction policies.
Required Landlord Disclosures
Death/Disease (§ 44-1-16) – If inquired, a landlord or agent acting on their behalf must disclose to the best of their knowledge if a death had occurred within the confines of the property or if there was an individual infected with a contagious disease residing within the premises (unless they are restricted by federal law).
Flood (§ 44-7-20) – If flooding has occurred within the property a minimum of three (3) times within the past five (5) years, the lessor is obligated by law to disclose this information prior to the execution of the lease/rental agreement.
Lead-Based Paint (42 U.S. Code § 4852d) – For residential housing constructed before 1978, it is a federal requirement to include a lead paint/hazard disclosure within a rental or lease agreement. The disclosure must include a pamphlet that educates readers about the dangers connected to the harmful material as well as any information specific to the property being rented.
Owner/Agent Identification (§ 44-7-3) – Before the start of the occupancy, the landlord or authorized representative must supply the lessee with the names & addresses of the owner (or their agent) and the individual/entity in charge of managing the premises.
Pre-existing Defects (§ 44-7-33(a)) – Landlord must provide a list of any defects/damages that may be contained within the property prior to receiving the prospective tenant’s security deposit.
Security Deposit Location (§ 44-7-31) – If the security deposit funds are being held in an escrow account, the lessor is liable to inform the lessee in writing of the account’s location.
When is Rent Late?
There is no statute within the content of Georgia’s law that defines a late rent payment or provides a given grace period. All terms regarding payment should be stipulated within the lease agreement before the commencement of the occupancy.
The state does not enforce a cap on the amount one can charge for a late rent fee. If a landlord would like to charge a late fee, it must be within reason and the details disclosed within the contract prior to the tenancy.
If a lesse provides the lessor with an NSF (non-sufficient funds) check, they may be liable to pay the lessor a fee no greater than $30 or 5% of the total amount of the check (whichever one is more), as well as reimbursement for bank charges that may have been accrued when processing the bad check (§ 13-6-15 (b)).
Security Deposit Maximum
There is no regulation that limits the amount one can charge for a security deposit. That being said, the average security deposit in the state of Georgia is one (1) month’s rent.
Security Deposit Return
Landlords are required to return the full security deposit amount to the tenant within a thirty (30) day time frame from the moment of the contract’s expiration (§ 44-7-34).
There is no period of time prescribed by the state for a landlord to give advanced notice before entering the premises of a tenant. Generally, a minimum notice of twenty-four (24) hours before entry is considered customary. (View the Landlord Access to Rental Unit section of the Georgia Landlord Tenant Handbook for more details.)
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