Whenever a lease comes to an end, the pressing question for most tenants is, “will I get my deposit back?”
The answer depends on your state’s laws and the condition of the property at the end of the lease.
In Georgia, where we practice, the laws governing security deposits apply only to landlords who own more than ten rental units. Landlords who own less than 10 units may be subject to the laws if they pay a property manager to manage their properties.
So, assuming the landlord owns 10 units or more, here are 3 things tenants in Georgia should know about safety deposits and safety deposit returns.
In Georgia, there is no limit on the maximum amount a landlord may charge for a security deposit.
Under Georgia law, a landlord must provide a tenant with written notice both before and after receiving a tenant’s security deposit.
Before receiving the security deposit, the landlord must provide the tenant with a list of all existing defects and damage in the unit. The tenant has the right to inspect the rental property to verify the damage/defects claims in the notice. If the tenant agrees with the landlord’s list, he/she must sign the document which will serve as proof of the property’s condition at the beginning of the tenancy. If the tenant does not agree, then he must indicate which items on the list he disagrees with and sign a statement of dissent.
After receiving the security deposit, the landlord must tell the tenant in writing, where the security deposit is being held.
Georgia’s state law requires a landlord to return the security deposit within one month of termination of the lease.
Landlords may, however, withhold portions of the security deposit for damage or other reasons. If the landlord withholds any portion of the security deposit, he is required to provide the tenant with a written list itemizing the reasons for any deductions along with an approximate cost of repairs if applicable. This list must be sent to the tenant along with any portion of the security deposit not being withheld, by first class mail to the tenant’s last known address.
There is a lot to know about the rights of both landlords and tenants. Landlord/ tenant issues can be complex and sometimes difficult to resolve. That is why it is always best to consult with experienced real estate counsel.
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Your property rights are important. That’s why, if you have a real estate issue, you need seasoned and zealous counsel. We are a real estate firm with offices in Cumming, Georgia and we serve Atlanta and the surrounding counties. To schedule your free phone consultation, call us at: 770-888-7707. Or you can contact us here.