State of Georgia Landlord Tenant Law
Official Code 44-7
The Statutes posted are current through the 2004 Regular Session of
the General Assembly. However, the Statutes posted from the 2004 Regular
Session may not yet be in effect. Users of this service should note
that the effective date of the Statutes are not listed on this service
and are advised to verify the effective date of any Statutes posted
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(a) The relationship of landlord and tenant is created when the owner
of real estate grants to another person, who accepts such grant, the
right simply to possess and enjoy the use of such real estate either
for a fixed time or at the will of the grantor. In such a case, no estate
passes out of the landlord and the tenant has only a usufruct which
may not be conveyed except by the landlord´s consent and which
is not subject to levy and sale.
(b) All renting or leasing of real estate for a period of time less
than five years shall be held to convey only the right to possess and
enjoy such real estate, to pass no estate out of the landlord, and to
give only the usufruct unless the contrary is agreed upon by the parties
to the contract and is so stated in the contract.
(a) Contracts creating the relationship of landlord and tenant for any
time not exceeding one year may be by parol.
(b) In any contract, lease, license agreement, or similar agreement,
oral or written, for the use or rental of real property as a dwelling
place, a landlord or a tenant may not waive, assign, transfer, or otherwise
avoid any of the rights, duties, or remedies contained in the following
provisions of law:
(1) Code Section 44-7-13, relating to the duties of a landlord as to
repairs and improvements;
(2) Code Section 44-7-14, relating to the liability of a landlord for
failure to repair;
(3) Ordinances adopted pursuant to Code Section 36-61-11;
(4) Article 3 of this chapter, relating to proceedings against tenants
(5) Article 4 of this chapter, relating to distress warrants;
(6) Article 2 of this chapter, relating to security deposits; and
(7) Any applicable provision of Chapter 11 of Title 9 which has not
been superseded by this chapter.
(c) A provision for the payment by the tenant of the attorney´s
fees of the landlord upon the breach of a rental agreement by the tenant,
which provision is contained in a contract, lease, license agreement,
or similar agreement, oral or written, for the use or rental of real
property as a dwelling place shall be void unless the provision also
provides for the payment by the landlord of the attorney´s fees
of the tenant upon the breach of the rental agreement by the landlord.
(a) At or before the commencement of a tenancy, the landlord or an agent
or other person authorized to enter into a rental agreement on behalf
of the landlord shall disclose to the tenant in writing the names and
addresses of the following persons:
(1) The owner of record of the premises or a person authorized to act
for and on behalf of the owner for the purposes of serving of process
and receiving and receipting for demands and notice; and
(2) The person authorized to manage the premises.
In the event of a change in any of the names and addresses required
to be contained in such statement, the landlord shall advise each tenant
of the change within 30 days after the change either in writing or by
posting a notice of the change in a conspicuous place.
(b) A person who enters into a rental agreement on behalf of an owner
or a landlord or both and who fails to comply with the disclosure requirements
in paragraphs (1) and (2) of subsection (a) of this Code section becomes
an agent of the owner or the landlord or both for serving of process
and receiving and receipting for notices and demands; for performing
the obligations of the landlord under this chapter; and for expending
or making available, for the purpose of fulfilling such obligations,
all rent collected from the premises.
(a) Municipalities and counties may establish by local ordinance minimum
security standards not in conflict with applicable fire codes to prevent
the unauthorized entry of premises occupied by a tenant as a dwelling
place and may require landlords to comply with such standards.
(b) This Code section shall be cumulative to and shall not prohibit
the enactment of other general and local laws, rules and regulations
of state or local agencies, and local ordinances on this subject.
When, in an action for rent, title is shown in the plaintiff and occupation
by the defendant is proved, an obligation to pay rent is generally implied.
However, if the entry of the defendant on the premises was not under
the plaintiff or if the possession of the defendant is adverse to the
plaintiff, no such implication arises.
Where no time is specified for the termination of a tenancy, the law
construes it to be a tenancy at will.
Sixty days´ notice from the landlord or 30 days´ notice
from the tenant is necessary to terminate a tenancy at will.
The tenant at will is entitled to his emblements if the crop is sowed
or planted before the landlord gives him notice of termination of the
tenancy, if the tenancy is terminated by the judicial sale of the estate
by the landlord or by death of the landlord or tenant, or if for any
other cause the tenancy is suddenly terminated.
The tenant may not dispute his landlord´s title or attorn to another
claimant while he is in actual physical occupation, while he is performing
any active or passive act or taking any position whereby he expressly
or impliedly recognizes his landlord´s title, or while he is taking
any position that is inconsistent with the position that the landlord´s
title is defective.
The tenant shall deliver possession to the landlord at the expiration
of his term; and, if he fails or refuses to do so, a summary remedy
pursuant to Article 3 of this chapter is given to the landlord.
The tenant has no rights beyond the use of the land and tenements rented
to him and such privileges as are necessary for the enjoyment of his
use. He may not cut or destroy growing trees, remove permanent fixtures,
or otherwise injure the property. He may use dead or fallen timber for
firewood and the pasturage for his cattle.
During the term of his tenancy or any continuation thereof or while
he is in possession under the landlord, a tenant may remove trade fixtures
erected by him. After the term and his possession are ended, any trade
fixtures remaining will be regarded as abandoned for the use of the
landlord and will become the landlord´s property.
The landlord must keep the premises in repair. He shall be liable for
all substantial improvements placed upon the premises by his consent.
Having fully parted with possession and the right of possession, the
landlord is not responsible to third persons for damages resulting from
the negligence or illegal use of the premises by the tenant; provided,
however, the landlord is responsible for damages arising from defective
construction or for damages arising from the failure to keep the premises
(a) As used in this Code section, the term 'utilities' means heat, light,
and water service.
(b) It shall be unlawful for any landlord knowingly and willfully to
suspend the furnishing of utilities to a tenant until after the final
disposition of any dispossessory proceeding by the landlord against
(c) Any person who violates subsection (b) of this Code section shall,
upon conviction, be assessed a fine not to exceed $500.00.
The destruction of a tenement by fire or the loss of possession by any
casualty not caused by the landlord or from a defect of his title shall
not abate the rent contracted to be paid.
All contracts for rent shall bear interest from the time the rent is
When it is agreed that the tenant shall pay to the landlord as rent
a part of the crop produced on the lands rented from the landlord and
the tenant, in good faith, delivers the part of the crop agreed on in
discharge of his rent, such part of the crop so delivered shall be discharged
from the lien of any judgment, decree, or other process whatsoever against
(a) As used in this Code section, the term:
(1) 'Assignation' means the making of any appointment or engagement
for prostitution or any act in furtherance of such appointment or engagement.
(2) 'Prostitution' means the offering or giving of the body for sexual
intercourse, sex perversion, obscenity, or lewdness for hire.
(3) 'Tourist camp' means any temporary or permanent buildings, tents,
cabins or structures, or trailers or other vehicles which are maintained,
offered, or used for dwelling or sleeping quarters for pay.
(b) All leases and agreements letting, subletting, or renting any house,
place, building, tourist camp, or other structure for the purpose of
prostitution or assignation shall be void.
No county or municipal corporation may enact, maintain, or enforce any
ordinance or resolution which would regulate in any way the amount of
rent to be charged for privately owned, single-family or multiple-unit
residential rental property. This Code section shall not be construed
as prohibiting any county or municipal corporation, or any authority
created by a county or municipal corporation for that purpose, from
regulating in any way property belonging to such county, such municipal
corporation, or such authority from entering into any agreements with
private persons, which agreements regulate the amount of rent to be
charged for such rental properties.
When the owner of real property, either directly or through an agent,
seeks to lease or rent that property for residential occupancy, prior
to entering a written agreement for the leasehold of that property,
the owner shall, either directly or through an agent, notify the prospective
tenant in writing of the property´s propensity of flooding if
flooding has damaged any portion of the living space covered by the
lease or attachments thereto to which the tenant or the tenant´s
resident relative has sole and exclusive use under the written agreement
at least three times during the five-year period immediately preceding
the date of the lease. An owner failing to give such notice shall be
liable in tort to the tenant and the tenant´s family residing
on the leased premises for damages to the personal property of the lessee
or a resident relative of the lessee which is proximately caused by
flooding which occurs during the term of the lease. For purposes of
this Code section, flooding is defined as the inundation of a portion
of the living space covered by the lease which was caused by an increased
water level in an established water source such as a river, stream,
or drainage ditch or as a ponding of water at or near the point where
heavy or excessive rain fell. This Code section shall apply only to
leaseholds entered into on or after July 1, 1995.
(a) Where a landlord or tenant has entered into a written brokerage
commission agreement for the payment of compensation or promise of payment
to a real estate broker in consideration of brokerage services rendered
in connection with the consummation of a lease, then, notwithstanding
any rule or construction of law under which such written brokerage commission
agreement might otherwise be considered the personal obligation of the
original landlord or tenant specifically named in the lease, such written
brokerage commission agreement shall, pursuant to the terms of this
Code section, constitute a binding contractual obligation of such landlord
or tenant, as the case may be, and of their respective grantees, successors,
and assigns. Upon any sale, transfer, assignment, or other disposition,
including, without limitation, by reason of the enforcement of any mortgage,
lien, deed to secure debt, or other security instrument, of a landlord´s
interest in real property or upon any sale, assignment, transfer, or
other disposition of a tenant´s leasehold interest, the succeeding
party shall be bound for all obligations occurring after the sale, transfer,
assignment, or other disposition with the same effect as if such succeeding
party had expressly assumed the landlord´s or tenant´s obligations
relating to the written brokerage commission agreement if:
(1) A written brokerage commission agreement is incorporated into the
(2) The real estate broker has complied with subsection (b) of this
(3) The succeeding party assumes the benefits of the tenancy, rental
amount, and term of the lease; and
(4) The written brokerage commission agreement has not been waived in
writing by the broker.
The conveyance or transfer of the real property coupled with the continuing
assumption of the tenancy, rental amount, and term of said lease shall
constitute conclusive evidence of the succeeding landlord´s or
tenant´s agreement to pay such periodic commission payments under
the written brokerage commission agreement.
(b) A real estate broker shall be entitled to the protections afforded
by this Code section only upon the broker´s recording a notice
of commission rights in the deed records in the office of the clerk
of the superior court in the county in which the real property or leasehold
interest is located within 30 days of the execution of the lease incorporating
the written brokerage commission agreement. Said notice of commission
rights must be filed before conveyance of the real property, must be
signed by the broker or by a person expressly authorized to sign on
behalf of the broker, and must follow substantially the following form:
'NOTICE OF COMMISSION RIGHTS
The undersigned licensed Georgia real estate broker does hereby publish
this NOTICE OF COMMISSION RIGHTS pursuant to Code Section 44-7-21 of
the Official Code of Georgia Annotated to establish that the lease set
forth below contains a written brokerage commission agreement providing
for the payment or promise of payment of compensation for brokerage
Lease date Lease term
Project name or building
Legal Description: All that tract or parcel of land lying and being
in the State of Georgia, County of __________, being more particularly
described on Exhibit "A" attached hereto and made a part hereof.
(A full and complete legal description is required for this form to
Given under hand and seal this _____ day of ______________, ____.
Signed, sealed, and
delivered in the
presence of: Broker:
Unofficial Witness Name: ____________________
Notary Public Georgia Real Estate
(Notary Seal Attached) License No. '
(c) The real estate broker must file a release of commission rights
within 30 days of receipt of the final payment of commissions due under
the written brokerage commission agreement.
(d) This Code section shall only apply to leaseholds of all or a portion
of commercial real estate as that term is defined in Code Section 44-14-601
which are entered into on or after July 1, 1997.
(e) Notwithstanding any provision of this Code section to the contrary,
this Code section does not create an interest in the real property which
is the subject of the lease.
As used in this article, the term:
(1) 'Residential rental agreement' means a contract, lease, or license
agreement for the rental or use of real property as a dwelling place.
(2) 'Security deposit' means money or any other form of security given
after July 1, 1976, by a tenant to a landlord which shall be held by
the landlord on behalf of a tenant by virtue of a residential rental
agreement and shall include, but not be limited to, damage deposits,
advance rent deposits, and pet deposits. The term 'security deposit'
does not include earnest money or pet fees which are not to be returned
to the tenant under the terms of the residential rental agreement.
Except as provided in Code Section 44-7-32, whenever a security deposit
is held by a landlord or his agent on behalf of a tenant, such security
deposit shall be deposited in an escrow account established only for
that purpose in any bank or lending institution subject to regulation
by this state or any agency of the United States government. The security
deposit shall be held in trust for the tenant by the landlord or his
agent except as provided in Code Section 44-7-34. Tenants shall be informed
in writing of the location and account number of the escrow account
required by this Code section.
(a) As an alternative to the requirement that security deposits be placed
in escrow as provided in Code Section 44-7-31, the landlord may post
and maintain an effective surety bond with the clerk of the superior
court in the county in which the dwelling unit is located. The amount
of the bond shall be the total amount of the security deposits which
the landlord holds on behalf of the tenants or $50,000.00, whichever
is less. The bond shall be executed by the landlord as principal and
a surety company authorized and licensed to do business in this state
as surety. The bond shall be conditioned upon the faithful compliance
of the landlord with Code Section 44-7-34 and the return of the security
deposits in the event of the bankruptcy of the landlord or foreclosure
of the premises and shall run to the benefit of any tenant injured by
the landlord´s violation of Code Section 44-7-34.
(b) The surety may withdraw from the bond by giving 30 days´ written
notice by registered or certified mail or statutory overnight delivery
to the clerk of the superior court in the county in which the principal´s
dwelling unit is located, provided that such withdrawal shall not release
the surety from any liability existing under the bond at the time of
the effective date of the withdrawal.
(c) The clerk of the superior court shall receive a fee of $5.00 for
filing and recording the surety bond and shall also receive a fee of
$5.00 for canceling the surety bond. The clerk of the superior court
shall not be held personally liable should the surety bond prove to
(a) Prior to tendering a security deposit, the tenant shall be presented
with a comprehensive list of any existing damage to the premises, which
list shall be for the tenant´s permanent retention. The tenant
shall have the right to inspect the premises to ascertain the accuracy
of the list prior to taking occupancy. The landlord and the tenant shall
sign the list and this shall be conclusive evidence of the accuracy
of the list but shall not be conclusive as to latent defects. If the
tenant refuses to sign the list, the tenant shall state specifically
in writing the items on the list to which he dissents and shall sign
such statement of dissent.
(b) Within three business days after the date of the termination of
occupancy, the landlord or his agent shall inspect the premises and
compile a comprehensive list of any damage done to the premises which
is the basis for any charge against the security deposit and the estimated
dollar value of such damage. The tenant shall have the right to inspect
the premises within five business days after the termination of the
occupancy in order to ascertain the accuracy of the list. The landlord
and the tenant shall sign the list, and this shall be conclusive evidence
of the accuracy of the list. If the tenant refuses to sign the list,
he shall state specifically in writing the items on the list to which
he dissents and shall sign such statement of dissent. If the tenant
terminates occupancy without notifying the landlord, the landlord may
make a final inspection within a reasonable time after discovering the
termination of occupancy.
(c) A tenant who disputes the accuracy of the final damage list given
pursuant to subsection (b) of this Code section may bring an action
in any court of competent jurisdiction in this state to recover the
portion of the security deposit which the tenant believes to be wrongfully
withheld for damages to the premises. The tenant´s claims shall
be limited to those items to which the tenant specifically dissented
in accordance with this Code section. If the tenant fails to sign a
list or to dissent specifically in accordance with this Code section,
the tenant shall not be entitled to recover the security deposit or
any other damages under Code Section 44-7-35, provided that the lists
required under this Code section contain written notice of the tenant´s
duty to sign or to dissent to the list.
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this article, within one month after
the termination of the residential lease or the surrender and acceptance
of the premises, whichever occurs last, a landlord shall return to the
tenant the full security deposit which was deposited with the landlord
by the tenant. No security deposit shall be retained to cover ordinary
wear and tear which occurred as a result of the use of the premises
for the purposes for which the premises were intended, provided that
there was no negligence, carelessness, accident, or abuse of the premises
by the tenant or members of his household or their invitees or guests.
In the event that actual cause exists for retaining any portion of the
security deposit, the landlord shall provide the tenant with a written
statement listing the exact reasons for the retention thereof. If the
reason for retention is based on damages to the premises, such damages
shall be listed as provided in Code Section 44-7-33. When the statement
is delivered, it shall be accompanied by a payment of the difference
between any sum deposited and the amount retained. The landlord shall
be deemed to have complied with this Code section by mailing the statement
and any payment required to the last known address of the tenant via
first class mail. If the letter containing the payment is returned to
the landlord undelivered and if the landlord is unable to locate the
tenant after reasonable effort, the payment shall become the property
of the landlord 90 days after the date the payment was mailed. Nothing
in this Code section shall preclude the landlord from retaining the
security deposit for nonpayment of rent or of fees for late payment,
for abandonment of the premises, for nonpayment of utility charges,
for repair work or cleaning contracted for by the tenant with third
parties, for unpaid pet fees, or for actual damages caused by the tenant´s
breach, provided the landlord attempts to mitigate the actual damages.
(b) In any court action in which there is a determination that neither
the landlord nor the tenant is entitled to all or a portion of a security
deposit under this article, the judge or the jury, as the case may be,
shall determine what would be an equitable disposition of the security
deposit; and the judge shall order the security deposit paid in accordance
with such disposition.
(a) A landlord shall not be entitled to retain any portion of a security
deposit if the security deposit was not deposited in an escrow account
in accordance with Code Section 44-7-31 or a surety bond was not posted
in accordance with Code Section 44-7-32 and if the initial and final
damage lists required by Code Section 44-7-33 are not made and provided
to the tenant.
(b) The failure of a landlord to provide each of the written statements
within the time periods specified in Code Sections 44-7-33 and 44-7-34
shall work a forfeiture of all his rights to withhold any portion of
the security deposit or to bring an action against the tenant for damages
to the premises.
(c) Any landlord who fails to return any part of a security deposit
which is required to be returned to a tenant pursuant to this article
shall be liable to the tenant in the amount of three times the sum improperly
withheld plus reasonable attorney´s fees; provided, however, that
the landlord shall be liable only for the sum erroneously withheld if
the landlord shows by the preponderance of the evidence that the withholding
was not intentional and resulted from a bona fide error which occurred
in spite of the existence of procedures reasonably designed to avoid
Code Sections 44-7-31, 44-7-32, 44-7-33, and 44-7-35 shall not apply
to rental units which are owned by a natural person if such natural
person, his or her spouse, and his or her minor children collectively
own ten or fewer rental units; provided, however, that this exemption
does not apply to units for which management, including rent collection,
is performed by third persons, natural or otherwise, for a fee.
Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, if a person is
on active duty with the United States military and enters into a residential
lease of property for occupancy by that person or that person´s
immediate family and subsequently receives permanent change of station
orders or temporary duty orders for a period in excess of three months,
any liability of the person for rent under the lease may not exceed:
(1) Thirty days´ rent after written notice and proof of the assignment
are given to the landlord; and
(2) The cost of repairing damage to the premises caused by an act or
omission of the tenant.
(a) In all cases where a tenant holds possession of lands or tenements
over and beyond the term for which they were rented or leased to the
tenant or fails to pay the rent when it becomes due and in all cases
where lands or tenements are held and occupied by any tenant at will
or sufferance, whether under contract of rent or not, when the owner
of the lands or tenements desires possession of the lands or tenements,
the owner may, individually or by an agent, attorney in fact, or attorney
at law, demand the possession of the property so rented, leased, held,
or occupied. If the tenant refuses or fails to deliver possession when
so demanded, the owner or the agent, attorney at law, or attorney in
fact of the owner may go before the judge of the superior court, the
judge of the state court, or the clerk or deputy clerk of either court,
or the judge or the clerk or deputy clerk of any other court with jurisdiction
over the subject matter, or a magistrate in the district where the land
lies and make an affidavit under oath to the facts. The affidavit may
likewise be made before a notary public, subject to the same requirements
for judicial approval specified in Code Section 18-4-61, relating to
(b) If issued by a public housing authority, the demand for possession
required by subsection (a) of this Code section may be provided concurrently
with the federally required notice of lease termination in a separate
(a) When the affidavit provided for in Code Section 44-7-50 is made,
the judge of the superior court, the state court, or any other court
with jurisdiction over the subject matter or the judge, clerk, or deputy
clerk of the magistrate court shall grant and issue a summons to the
sheriff or his deputy or to any lawful constable of the county where
the land is located. A copy of the summons and a copy of the affidavit
shall be personally served upon the defendant. If the sheriff is unable
to serve the defendant personally, service may be had by delivering
the summons and the affidavit to any person who is sui juris residing
on the premises or, if after reasonable effort no such person is found
residing on the premises, by posting a copy of the summons and the affidavit
on the door of the premises and, on the same day of such posting, by
enclosing, directing, stamping, and mailing by first-class mail a copy
of the summons and the affidavit to the defendant at his last known
address, if any, and making an entry of this action on the affidavit
filed in the case.
(b) The summons served on the defendant pursuant to subsection (a) of
this Code section shall command and require the tenant to answer either
orally or in writing within seven days from the date of the actual service
unless the seventh day is a Saturday, a Sunday, or a legal holiday,
in which case the answer may be made on the next day which is not a
Saturday, a Sunday, or a legal holiday. If the answer is oral, the substance
thereof shall be endorsed on the dispossessory affidavit. The answer
may contain any legal or equitable defense or counterclaim. The landlord
need not appear on the date of the tenant´s response. The last
possible date to answer shall be stated on the summons.
(a) Except as provided in subsection (c) of this Code section, in an
action for nonpayment of rent, the tenant shall be allowed to tender
to the landlord, within seven days of the day the tenant was served
with the summons pursuant to Code Section 44-7-51, all rents allegedly
owed plus the cost of the dispossessory warrant. Such a tender shall
be a complete defense to the action; provided, however, that a landlord
is required to accept such a tender from any individual tenant after
the issuance of a dispossessory summons only once in any 12 month period.
(b) If the court finds that the tenant is entitled to prevail on the
defense provided in subsection (a) of this Code section and the landlord
refused the tender as provided under subsection (a) of this Code section,
the court shall issue an order requiring the tenant to pay to the landlord
all rents which are owed by the tenant and the costs of the dispossessory
warrant within three days of said order. Upon failure of the tenant
to pay such sum, a writ of possession shall issue. Such payment shall
not count as a tender pursuant to subsection (a) of this Code section.
(c) For a tenant who is not a tenant under a residential rental agreement
as defined in Code Section 44-7-30, tender and acceptance of less than
all rents allegedly owed plus the cost of the dispossessory warrant
shall not be a bar nor a defense to an action brought under Code Section
44-7-50 but shall, upon proof of same, be considered by the trial court
when awarding damages.
(a) If the tenant fails to answer as provided in subsection (b) of Code
Section 44-7-51, the court shall issue a writ of possession instanter
notwithstanding Code Section 9-11-55 or Code Section 9-11-62; and the
plaintiff shall be entitled to a verdict and judgment by default for
all rents due, in open court or in chambers, as if every item and paragraph
of the affidavit provided for in Code Section 44-7-50 were supported
by proper evidence, without the intervention of a jury.
(b) If the tenant answers, a trial of the issues shall be had in accordance
with the procedure prescribed for civil actions in courts of record
except that if the action is tried in the magistrate court the trial
shall be had in accordance with the procedures prescribed for that court.
Every effort should be made by the trial court to expedite a trial of
the issues. The defendant shall be allowed to remain in possession of
the premises pending the final outcome of the litigation; provided,
however, that, at the time of his answer, the tenant must pay rent into
the registry of the court pursuant to Code Section 44-7-54.
(a) In any case where the issue of the right of possession cannot be
finally determined within two weeks from the date of service of the
copy of the summons and the copy of the affidavit, the tenant shall
be required to pay into the registry of the trial court:
(1) All rent and utility payments which are the responsibility of the
tenant payable to the landlord under terms of the lease which become
due after the issuance of the dispossessory warrant, said rent and utility
payments to be paid as such become due. If the landlord and the tenant
disagree as to the amount of rent, either or both of them may submit
to the court any written rental contract for the purpose of establishing
the amount of rent to be paid into the registry of the court. If the
amount of rent is in controversy and no written rental agreement exists
between the tenant and landlord, the court shall require the amount
of rent to be a sum equal to the last previous rental payment made by
the tenant and accepted by the landlord without written objection; and
(2) All rent and utility payments which are the responsibility of the
tenant payable to the landlord under terms of the lease allegedly owed
prior to the issuance of the dispossessory warrant; provided, however,
that, in lieu of such payment, the tenant shall be allowed to submit
to the court a receipt indicating that payment has been made to the
landlord. In the event that the amount of rent is in controversy, the
court shall determine the amount of rent to be paid into court in the
same manner as provided in paragraph (1) of this subsection.
(b) If the tenant should fail to make any payment as it becomes due
pursuant to paragraph (1) or (2) of subsection (a) of this Code section,
the court shall issue a writ of possession and the landlord shall be
placed in full possession of the premises by the sheriff, the deputy,
or the constable.
(c) The court shall order the clerk of the court to pay to the landlord
the payments claimed under the rental contracts paid into the registry
of the court as said payments are made; provided, however, that, if
the tenant claims that he or she is entitled to all or any part of the
funds and such claim is an issue of controversy in the litigation, the
court shall order the clerk to pay to the landlord without delay only
that portion of the funds to which the tenant has made no claim in the
proceedings or may make such other order as is appropriate under the
circumstances. That part of the funds which is a matter of controversy
in the litigation shall remain in the registry of the court until a
determination of the issues by the trial court. If either party appeals
the decision of the trial court, that part of the funds equal to any
sums found by the trial court to be due from the landlord to the tenant
shall remain in the registry of the court until a final determination
of the issues. The court shall order the clerk to pay to the landlord
without delay the remaining funds in court and all payments of future
rent made into court pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of
this Code section unless the tenant can show good cause that some or
all of such payments should remain in court pending a final determination
of the issues.
(a) If, on the trial of the case, the judgment is against the tenant,
judgment shall be entered against the tenant for all rents due and for
any other claim relating to the dispute. The court shall issue a writ
of possession, both of execution for the judgment amount and a writ
to be effective at the expiration of seven days after the date such
judgment was entered, except as otherwise provided in Code Section 44-7-56.
(b) If the judgment is for the tenant, he shall be entitled to remain
in the premises and the landlord shall be liable for all foreseeable
damages shown to have been caused by his wrongful conduct. Any funds
remaining in the registry of the court shall be distributed to the parties
in accordance with the judgment of the court.
(c) Any writ of possession issued pursuant to this article shall authorize
the removal of the tenant or his or her personal property or both from
the premises and permit the placement of such personal property on some
portion of the landlord´s property or on other property as may
be designated by the landlord and as may be approved by the executing
officer; provided, however, that the landlord shall not be a bailee
of such personal property and shall owe no duty to the tenant regarding
such personal property. After execution of the writ, such property shall
be regarded as abandoned.
Any judgment by the trial court shall be appealable pursuant to Chapters
2, 3, 6, and 7 of Title 5, provided that any such appeal shall be filed
within seven days of the date such judgment was entered and provided,
further, that, after the notice of appeal is filed with the clerk of
the trial court, the clerk shall immediately notify the trial judge
of the notice of appeal and the trial judge may, within 15 days, supplement
the record with findings of fact and conclusions of law which will be
considered as a part of the order of the judge in that case. If the
judgment of the trial court is against the tenant and the tenant appeals
this judgment, the court may upon motion of the landlord and upon good
cause shown order the tenant to pay into the registry of the court all
sums found by the trial court to be due for rent in order to remain
in possession of the premises. The tenant shall also be required to
pay all future rent as it becomes due into the registry of the trial
court pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of Code Section 44-7-54
until the issue has been finally determined on appeal.
This article shall apply to croppers and servants who continue to hold
possession of lands and tenements after their employment as croppers
or servants has terminated and in the same manner as it relates to tenants.
Anyone who, under oath or affirmation, knowingly and willingly makes
a false statement in an affidavit signed pursuant to Code Section 44-7-50
or in an answer filed pursuant to Code Section 44-7-51 shall be guilty
of a misdemeanor.
If the court issues a writ of possession to property upon which the
tenant has placed a manufactured home, mobile home, trailer, or other
type of transportable housing and the tenant does not move the same
within ten days after a final order is entered, the landlord shall be
entitled to have such transportable housing moved from the property
at the expense of the tenant by a motor common carrier licensed by the
Public Service Commission for the transportation of manufactured housing.
There shall be a lien upon such transportable housing to the extent
of moving fees and storage expenses in favor of the person performing
such services. Such lien may be claimed and foreclosed in the same manner
as special liens on personalty by mechanics under Code Sections 44-14-363
and 44-14-550, except that storage fees not to exceed $4.00 per day
shall be expressly allowed.
The landlord shall have power to distrain for rent as soon as the same
is due if the tenant is seeking to remove his property from the premises.
When rent is due or the tenant is seeking to remove his property, the
landlord, his agent, his attorney in fact, or his attorney at law may,
upon a statement of the facts under oath, apply for a distress warrant
before the judge of the superior court, the state court, the civil court,
or the magistrate court within the county where the tenant may reside
or where his property may be found.
When the affidavit provided for in Code Section 44-7-71 is made, the
judge of the superior court, the state court, the civil court, or the
magistrate court before whom it was made shall grant and issue a summons
to the marshal or the sheriff or his deputy of the county where the
tenant resides or where his property may be found. A copy of the summons
and the affidavit shall be personally served upon the defendant. If
an officer is unable to serve the defendant personally, service may
be given by delivering the summons and affidavit to any person who is
sui juris residing on the premises. The summons served on the defendant
pursuant to this Code section shall command and require the tenant to
appear at a hearing on a day certain not less than five nor more than
seven days from the date of actual service.
In an action for nonpayment of rent, the tenant shall be allowed to
tender to the landlord, within seven days of the day the tenant was
served with the summons pursuant to Code Section 44-7-72, all rents
allegedly owed plus the cost of the distress warrant. Such a tender
shall be a complete defense to the action.
(a) At or before the time of the hearing, the defendant may answer in
writing. The defendant may answer orally at the time of the hearing.
If the answer is oral, the substance thereof shall be endorsed upon
the affidavit. The answer may contain any legal or equitable defense
(b) If the tenant fails to answer, the court shall grant a distress
warrant; and the plaintiff shall be entitled to a verdict and judgment
by default for all rents due as if every item and paragraph of the affidavit
provided for in Code Section 44-7-71 were supported by proper evidence,
which verdict shall be in open court or chambers and without the intervention
of a jury.
(c) If the tenant answers, a trial of the issues shall be had in accordance
with the procedure prescribed for civil actions in courts of record
except that if the action is tried in the magistrate court the trial
shall be had in accordance with the procedures prescribed for that court.
Every effort shall be made by the trial court to expedite a trial of
the issues. The defendant shall be allowed to remain in possession of
the premises and his property pending the final outcome of the litigation,
provided that he complies with Code Section 44-7-75.
(a) At the time the tenant answers, the tenant shall pay into the registry
of the trial court all rent admittedly owed prior to the issuance of
the summons; provided, however, that, in lieu of such payment, the tenant
shall be allowed to submit to the court a receipt indicating that the
payment has been made to the landlord. In the event that the amount
of rent is in controversy, the court shall determine the amount of rent
to be paid into court in the same manner as provided in subsection (b)
of this Code section.
(b) The tenant shall pay into the registry of the trial court all rent
which becomes due after the issuance of the summons and shall pay said
rent as it becomes due. If the landlord and tenant disagree as to the
amount of rent, either or both of them may submit to the court any written
rental contract for the purpose of establishing the amount of the rent
to be paid into the registry of the court. If the amount of rent is
in controversy and no written rental agreement exists between the tenant
and the landlord, the court shall require the amount of rent to be a
sum equal to the last previous rental payment made by the tenant and
accepted by the landlord without written objection.
(c) If the landlord is also seeking a dispossessory warrant against
the tenant pursuant to Article 3 of this chapter, money paid into court
under Code Section 44-7-54 shall fully satisfy the requirements under
subsections (a) and (b) of this Code section.
(d) After the date of the service of the summons as provided in Code
Section 44-7-72, the tenant shall not transfer, convey, remove, or conceal
his property without either posting bond as provided in Code Section
44-7-76 or complying with subsections (a) and (b) of this Code section.
(e) If the tenant shall fail to comply with any of the provisions of
this Code section, the tenant shall not be entitled to retain possession
of his property pending a trial on the merits as provided by Code Section
44-7-74 unless he posts bond as provided by Code Section 44-7-76. Failure
to comply with any provision of this Code section shall in no way affect
the tenant´s ability to litigate the issues raised in his answer
but shall only affect the possession of the property pendente lite.
If judgment is against the tenant, the property involved shall be seized
by the marshal, the sheriff, or the deputy, as the case may be, and
held thereby for levy and sale after judgment as provided by Code Section
(f) The court shall order the clerk of the court to pay to the landlord
the amounts paid into the registry of the court as such payments are
made; provided, however, that, if the tenant claims that he is entitled
to all or a part of the funds and such claim is an issue of controversy
in the litigation, the court shall order the clerk to pay to the landlord
without delay only that portion of the funds to which the tenant has
made no claim in the proceedings. That part of the funds which is a
matter of controversy in the litigation shall remain in the registry
of the court until a final determination of the issues.
In all cases where the tenant may desire to transfer, remove, or convey
any of his property after the service of summons, the tenant shall post
bond with good security for a sum equal to the value of the property
or the amount of the rent alleged to be due, whichever is less, to be
estimated by the judge, for the delivery of the property at the time
and place of sale if the property shall be found subject to such rent.
Upon the approval of the bond by the judge, the tenant may convey, transfer,
or remove his property without restriction.
(a) If, on the trial of the case, the judgment is against the tenant,
the judgment shall be entered against the tenant for all rent due and
for any other claim relating to the dispute and the distress warrant
shall be granted.
(b) If the judgment is for the tenant, he shall be entitled to remain
in the premises and in possession of his property and the landlord shall
be liable for all foreseeable damages shown to have been caused by his
wrongful conduct. Any funds remaining in the registry of the court shall
be distributed to the parties in accordance with the judgment of the
court. If the tenant has been deprived of the possession of his property
pendente lite pursuant to subsection (e) of Code Section 44-7-75, the
court shall order that the property be returned immediately to the tenant.
Any judgment by the trial court shall be appealable to the appellate
court pursuant to Chapters 2, 3, 6, and 7 of Title 5. If the judgment
of the trial court is against the tenant and the tenant appeals this
judgment, the tenant shall remain in the premises and in possession
of his property; provided, however, that the tenant shall comply with
all provisions of Code Section 44-7-75 or 44-7-76 until the issue has
been finally determined on appeal.
Whenever a distress warrant is granted pursuant to this article, the
distress warrant may be levied by the marshal, the sheriff, or the deputy
on any property belonging to said tenant whether found on the premises
or elsewhere; and the marshal, the sheriff, or the deputy shall advertise
and sell the property in the same manner as in the case of levy and
sale under execution.
The landlord´s lien for his rent shall attach from the time that
the affidavit is made pursuant to Code Section 44-7-71; but it shall
take precedence over no lien of older date except as to the crop raised
on the premises.
A third person may make a claim to the distrained property by giving
the oath and the bond as is required in cases of other claims. Such
a claim shall be returned and tried as is provided by law for the trial
of the right of property levied upon by execution.
(a) As used in this Code section, the term 'mobile home' means a movable
or portable dwelling over 32 feet in length and over eight feet wide
which is constructed to be towed on its own chassis and to be connected
to utilities and is designed without a permanent foundation for year-round
occupancy. A mobile home may consist of one or more components that
can be retracted for towing purposes and subsequently expanded for additional
capacity or may consist of two or more units separately towable but
designed to be joined into one integral unit.
(b) A tenant´s mobile home, as defined in subsection (a) of this
Code section, shall be considered 'property,' as that term is used in
Where a person is employed to work for part of the crop, the relationship
of landlord and tenant does not arise. The title to the crop, subject
to the interest of the cropper therein, and the possession of the land
remain in the owner of the land.
Whenever the relationship of landlord and cropper exists, the title
to and right to control and possess the crops grown and raised upon
the lands of the landlord by the cropper shall be vested in the landlord
until the landlord has received his part of the crops so raised and
has been fully paid for all advances made to the cropper in the year
the crops were raised for the purpose of raising the crops.
In all cases where a cropper unlawfully sells or otherwise disposes
of any part of a crop or where the cropper seeks to take possession
of such crops or to exclude the landlord from the possession thereof
while the title thereto remains in the landlord, the landlord shall
have the right to repossess the crops by any process of law by which
the owner of the property can recover it under the laws of this state.
(a) Any cropper who sells or otherwise disposes of any part of the crop
grown by him without the consent of the landlord before the landlord
has received his part of the crop and payment in full for all advances
made to the cropper in the year the crop was raised for the purpose
of raising such crop shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
(b) Any landlord who fails or refuses, on demand, to deliver to the
cropper the part of the crop or its value to which the cropper is entitled
after payment for all advances made to him as provided in subsection
(a) of this Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
Compiled courtesy of Rentlist.net, Georgia's Directory of Residential
Property Managers. http://www.rentlist.net
Page updated as of Jan. 30, 2006