Georgia Tenant's Right to Landlord Disclosures
5 Disclosures Every Georgia Tenant Has the Right To
In the state of Georgia, landlords are legally obligated to make certain disclosures to their tenants about the lease terms, the rental property, and the presence of any environmental hazards. Georgia tenants have a right to this knowledge because it could affect their health, safety, or financial responsibilities. Here are five landlord disclosures every Georgia tenant has the right to.
Disclosure of Owner
Georgia’s landlord tenant law requires the landlord, an agent of the landlord, or the person who enters into the lease agreement with the tenant on the landlord’s behalf to make the following disclosure to the tenant.
Before tenancy begins or at the beginning of tenancy.
Provide the names and addresses.
- Of Who?:
The owner of the property or an agent who is authorized to act on the owner’s behalf. This is the person who would receive demands or notices and who the tenant would pursue a court order against, if necessary.
The person responsible for managing the property.
The disclosure of the owner must be made in writing to the tenant.
- Change of Address or Owner:
If there is a change in ownership, management, or any other change in address, the tenants must be notified within 30 days of the change. This notification can be made in writing or it can be posted in an obvious place where all tenants can see it, such as a common area.
Disclosure of Property Flooding
In the state of Georgia, a tenant has the right to be notified about a property’s tendency to flood.
The landlord, or landlord’s agent, must provide this notice to a prospective tenant before the tenant moves into the property.
- How Does Georgia Code Define Flooding?:
To meet the definition of flooding under Georgia code, any portion of the property that is included in the lease agreement must have been “inundated” with water from an existing water source such as a river, stream, or drainage ditch that has overflowed or from water pooling from excessive rain.
- What Counts as a ‘Tendency to Flood?’:
The landlord is required to make this disclosure to a tenant if the property meets the following conditions:
- Has flooded at least three times during the last five years.
- Under the lease agreement, the tenant would have ‘sole and exclusive’ use of the portion of the property that has flooded.
- Only a portion of the dwelling unit has to flood in order for the landlord to be required to give this notice to the tenant.
- Failure to Comply:
If the landlord or landlord’s agent fails to notify a prospective tenant of a flooding issue in the property, and the tenant’s personal possessions or the possessions of a member of the tenant’s family are damaged due to a flood in the property during the term of the lease, the landlord will be liable to pay for the damages that the tenant suffered due to the flooding.
Disclosure of Pre-Existing Damages in the Unit
Landlords in Georgia must provide their tenants with a list of any existing damages or defects in the unit before the tenant moves into the unit and before collecting a security deposit from the tenant.
The tenant is allowed to review this list and walk-through the property before moving into the unit.
If the tenant agrees with all the damages and defects listed on the report, then both the landlord and tenant must sign the list. By signing the list, the tenant is agreeing that the damages listed are accurate.
If the tenant does not agree with the damages listed or finds additional problems with the unit, the tenant should not sign the list. Instead, the tenant must provide a separate written notice which specifically states the items on the list which he or she disagrees with. The tenant must then sign this statement.
Disclosure of Felony, Homicide, Suicide, or Disease
If a landlord, real estate broker, or other agent of the landlord is asked if the property has ever been the site of a murder, any other felony, a suicide, a death by natural or other causes, or was occupied by an individual or individual with a virus, or other disease with very little likelihood to spread solely by occupying the unit, the landlord, broker, or other agent must answer the questions honestly.
However, the landlord, broker or agent does not have to provide this information without being prompted to do so. Even when questioned, the landlord, broker or agent can only answer questions that do not violate any Fair Housing Laws or other state or local rules or regulations.
Disclosure of Lead Paint
Georgia landlords are required to make certain disclosures to their tenants about lead-based paint. In 2011, Georgia became authorized to administer and manage the EPA’s Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) Program in the state.
Under the law, if the property that the landlord is renting out was built before 1978, then the landlord must provide the tenants with a written statement of any known lead hazards on the property, must provide the tenant with copies of any records or reports of lead paint removal or hazards and must attach a lead warning statement to the lease agreement which confirms that the landlord has complied with all the notification requirements. The landlord must also provide all tenants with a pamphlet on Lead-Based Paint Hazards.
Georgia’s Laws on Landlord Disclosures
To view the original text of Georgia’s landlord-tenant law on required disclosures, please consult Georgia Code Annotated, §§ 44-1-16, 44-7-3, 44-7-20 and 44-7-33, as well as the EPA’s lead paint requirements.