Your lease or rental agreement should spell out your landlord’s key rent rules, including:
- the amount of rent (there are no limits to how much a landlord can charge in Georgia since there are no communities with rent control in the state)
- where rent is due (such as by mail to the landlord’s business address)
- when rent is due (including what happens if the rent due date falls on a weekend date or holiday)
- how rent should be paid (usually check, money order, cash, and/or credit card)
- the amount of notice landlords must provide to increase rent
- the amount of any extra fee if your rent check bounces, and
- the consequences of paying rent late, including late fees and termination of the tenancy.
Georgia state laws do not cover most of these rent-related issues.
Georgia Rules on Late Fees
Rent is legally due on the date specified in your lease or rental agreement (usually the first of the month). If you don’t pay rent when it is due, the landlord may begin charging you a late fee. Georgia state law does not cover late rent fees. If your lease or rental agreement does not say anything about late fees, your landlord may not impose one, no matter how reasonable it is.
Bounced Check Fees in Georgia
If a Georgia tenant bounces a check, the landlord may charge up to $30 or 5% of the face amount of the dishonored check (whichever is greater). If the landlord’s bank charges a fee for processing the bounced check, the landlord may add that amount to the fee.
Amount of Notice Georgia Landlords Must Give Tenants to Increase Rent
Georgia does not have a state statute on the amount of notice the landlord must provide tenants in order to increase the rent or change other terms of a month-to-month rental agreement. Unless your rental agreement specifies otherwise, the landlord must typically provide the same amount of notice to change the rent or another term of the tenancy as state law requires the landlord to provide when ending the tenancy—in this case, 60 days. Keep in mind that if you have a long-term lease, the landlord may not increase the rent until the lease ends and a new tenancy begins—unless the lease itself provides for an increase.
Rent Increases as Discrimination
Georgia landlords may not raise the rent in a discriminatory manner—for example, only for members of a certain race.
Georgia State Laws on Termination for Nonpayment of Rent
States set specific rules and procedures for ending a tenancy when a tenant has not paid the rent. Georgia landlords can demand the rent as soon as it is due and, if not paid, can file for eviction. Landlords must give tenants at least seven days in which to pay the rent or move. If the tenant does neither, the landlord can file for eviction.
Georgia Guide to Tenant Rights
For an overview of tenant rights when it comes to paying rent under Georgia landlord-tenant law, see http://www.dca.ga.gov/housing/housingdevelopment/programs/downloads/Georgia_Landlord_Tenant_Handbook.pdf.
Georgia State Laws on Termination for Nonpayment of Rent and Other Rent-Related Issues
Here’s where to find various Georgia rent-related rules:
- Rent rules and procedures on issues such as raising rent: Ga. Code Ann. §§ 44-7-6 & 44-7-7.
- Service fees for bounced checks: Ga. Code Ann. § 16-9-20.
- Rules for termination for nonpayment of rent: Ga. Code Ann. §§ 44-7-50 and 44-7-52.
See the Laws and Legal Research section of Nolo for advice on finding and reading statutes and court decisions.