Georgia Tenant's Rights for Service Members

How Landlord Tenant Law Protects Service Members in Georgia

Georgia’s landlord tenant law provides certain rights for tenants who are service members. Landlords must understand that these tenants have different rights than other tenants in the state due to their status as military members. Learn how the state of Georgia protects the members of the Armed Forces.

Who Is Considered a Service Member Under Georgia Code?

Georgia Code defines a service member as any of the following:

  • A regular member of the United States Armed Forces
  • A reserve member of the United States Armed Forces
  • A member of the United States Coast Guard
  • A member of the Georgia National Guard
  • A member of the Georgia Air National Guard

Do They Have to Be an Active Service Member?

Yes. The rights granted to service members under Georgia’s landlord tenant act only apply to those who are considered active duty members. This means that they must be on ordered duty for an assignment of 90 days or longer.

What Benefits Are Granted to Tenants Who Are Service Members?

Service members in the state of Georgia have the right to terminate their lease agreement early without penalty. They must, however, meet certain requirements in order to do so. 

Reasons a Service Member Can Terminate a Lease Early

Georgia’s landlord tenant law lists six reasons an active service member has the right to terminate their lease early in the state of Georgia.

These include:

1. The tenant has received a changed of duty order that requires the tenant to move at least 35 miles away from the rental property.

2. The service member leased the rental property while on active duty, but after signing the lease agreement, has been released from active duty and the tenant’s original home is 35 miles or more away from the rental property.

3. The tenant has received orders that he or she must move into government housing.

4. After signing the lease, the tenant learns that he or she has become eligible to live in government housing. If the tenant fails to move into this government housing, he or she will forfeit all rights to receive any basic housing.

5. The service member receives orders of a temporary change in duty. This change requires the member to serve for a period of 60 days or more and the location is 35 miles or more from the location of the rental property.

6. The service member has signed the lease agreement to rent the property, but before he or she even moves into the property, receives notice of a change in duty that is 35 miles or more away from the rental property.

Required Tenant Notice to the Landlord

In order to terminate a rental agreement for any of the above reasons, a service member must first provide proper notice to the landlord.

  • Written Notice:

If the tenant must terminate their lease agreement early, he or she must notify the landlord in writing of their intention to do so, clearly stating the reason for the early termination.

  • 30 Days Prior:

This written notice must be delivered to the landlord at least 30 days prior to the date the tenant wishes to move out of the rental unit.

  • Copy of Orders:

The service member must also include a copy of their military orders or provide written verification that has been signed by his or her commanding officer.

Responsibility for Unpaid Rent

  • Already Occupying the Unit:

If the service member is actively living in the rental unit when they notify the landlord of the need to terminate the rental agreement, the tenant is responsible for rent up until the date of the termination. The tenant is not responsible for paying any additional rent or damages for early termination.

However, if the tenant has caused any damages to the rental unit, these damages can be deducted from the security deposit. If no security deposit has been collected or if the damages exceed the security deposit, the tenant will be responsible for paying these costs.

  • Has Not Yet Moved Into the Unit

    If the service member has signed a lease agreement, but has not yet moved into the unit and provides the landlord with written notice of their need to terminate the lease agreement 14 or more days prior to the expected move in date, the tenant is not responsible for paying any rent or other damages for early termination.

    Death of a Service Member

    If a service member dies during active duty, a member of the tenant’s family who is 18 years old or older must notify the landlord in writing of the event and the desire to terminate the service member’s lease agreement. The notice must include the desired date of termination, which must be 30 days or more after the landlord receives the notice. The written notice must also be accompanied by a copy of the tenant’s active duty orders or a signed statement of the orders by the tenant’s commanding officer, as well as a copy of the service member’s death certificate.

    Georgia’s Landlord Tenant Law for Service Members

    If you would like to view the original text of Georgia’s landlord tenant law regarding service members, please consult Georgia Code Annotated §§ 44-7-22 and 44-7-37.