Clients 1st Property Management serves quality property management to all of Cherokee County and surrounding areas.
It’s easy to make a legal mistake when you’re renting out a property in Woodstock. While you don’t have to be a lawyer to effectively invest in rental real estate, it’s a good idea to understand the basic landlord and tenant requirements. Be sure to keep up with the changes in the laws, which are frequent.
Working with a professional property manager can help you stay compliant. We follow the laws carefully and help you protect your investment and your ROI.
Important Federal Laws
Three federal laws in particular are an important part of renting out your property. First, you need to know the federal Fair Housing Act. This identifies seven classes of people against whom you cannot discriminate when you’re advertising, screening, or enforcing your lease. You cannot deny a tenant based on color, race, religion, sex, familial status, disability, or national origin. The Georgia Fair Housing Act follows this law and prohibits landlords from holding tenants to different standards based on those qualities.
The Americans with Disabilities Act protects people who have physical or intellectual disabilities. You’re required to make reasonable accommodations for tenants who need them. This might be a handicapped parking space outside of your multi-family building or a wheelchair ramp leading to your front door. Service and emotional support animals are also protected. Even if you don’t allow pets in your property, you have to allow an animal that’s needed by someone with a disability. You cannot collect a pet fee or a pet deposit.
Finally, the Fair Credit Reporting Act has some specific rules on what you can and cannot do with a tenant’s or an applicant’s personal information. Make sure you understand your requirements if you reject a tenant and take care to protect the privacy and personal financial information that you collect on all applicants.
Georgia Security Deposit Law
In Georgia, there is no limit to the amount of security deposit you collect. However, there are stipulations to how and when you return it. Landlords are required to return a tenant’s security deposit within one month of that tenant’s move-out. You are allowed to withhold money from that deposit for damage that’s left behind as well as unpaid rent and late fees or unpaid utilities. Conduct an inspection within three days of move-out to document the damage that was left behind. You are not permitted to keep security deposit money for general wear and tear.
Landlord and Tenant Laws
As a landlord, you’re required to make several disclosures to your tenants. You have to let them know if the home is prone to flooding, for example, or if there’s a risk of lead-based paint in the property. You have to disclose any defects in the property.
If you evict a tenant, and that tenant leaves personal possessions in that property, you have to leave them for seven days so the tenant can collect anything that was left behind. After the seven days, the property is considered abandoned, and you’re under no obligation to store, return, or protect those possessions.
Compared to other states, Georgia is fairly landlord-friendly. If you have any additional questions please contact us at Clients 1st Property Management.