Georgia Security Deposit Law

Georgia landlords may charge tenants a security deposit of any amount.
Written by Caitlin McQuade
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Updated on Jun 01, 2022
landlords have no state limit on what they may charge for a security deposit. Landlords have up to one month to return security deposits to tenants after the lease ends or the date the tenant leaves the premises—whichever comes last.
Security deposits are payments made by tenants to landlords to hold their spot in their new rental. A tenant can usually expect to receive their security deposit back after their lease is over, as long as they do not damage the property or violate the terms of their lease.
You should always know the rules about security deposits in your state before you put one down. That’s why
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What is Georgia’s law on security deposits?

In Georgia, a security deposit is often required by a landlord for a tenant to hold their spot in their rental. This payment is made before moving in and is a separate payment from the first month’s rent. The security deposit is then held by the landlord and returned to the tenant once the lease has ended. 
The rules for security deposits are outlined in the Georgia Code, Title 44, Chapter 7, Sections 30-37, and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs’
Landlord-Tenant Handbook
If a landlord owns more than ten rental units or has a management company, they must store security deposits in a bank account that is solely for security deposits. 

What is the maximum security deposit a landlord can charge in Georgia? 

There is no limit on the amount of money a landlord can charge for a security deposit in Georgia.
While there is no limit, it is typical for landlords to charge between one and two months’ rent. Charging above that amount may make it difficult for landlords to find renters willing to pay such a steep fee.

How long does a landlord have to return a security deposit in Georgia?

After the tenant has returned their keys and vacated the property, a Georgia landlord has one month to return the security deposit.
The landlord is also required to provide the tenant with an itemized list of any deductions they make—they can’t simply deduct money without an explanation. The landlord must inspect the property and write this list within three days of the tenant vacating the property.
The tenant may then complete an inspection within five days of vacating the property to compare the landlord’s list to their inspection. If the tenant wishes to dispute any deductions, they may take their landlord to
Magistrate Court

What can a landlord withhold a security deposit for in Georgia?

In Georgia, a landlord may withhold some or all of the security deposit to cover costs from the following:
  • Unpaid rent
  • Penalties for paying rent late
  • Unpaid utility bills
  • Unpaid pet fees
  • Cleaning fees
  • Costs associated with the abandonment of the property
  • Damage beyond normal wear and tear
What qualifies as “damage beyond normal wear and tear”? This is mostly about larger damage that occurs as a result of either force or neglect. If a tenant or their guest creates a hole in the wall or breaks an appliance, they will probably have the cost deducted from the security deposit. 
Similarly, if there is a repair that needs to be made and the tenant does not inform their landlord, they could be charged for damage that results from this neglect. For instance, a tenant may be charged for water damage that occurs because they let a pipe leak for weeks before informing their landlord.
Key Takeaway There is no limit to what a landlord may charge for a security deposit in Georgia. The landlord must return the deposit within one month of moveout.

How to get your security deposit back in Georgia

The first step is to provide your landlord with a new address. Make sure to provide the address in a timely manner. If your landlord has made a good faith effort to reach you, but you do not provide a return address within 90 days of moveout, you forfeit your right to your security deposit.
Your landlord is required to send your security deposit within one month. If it has been over a month and you have not received your deposit, your first step should be to contact your landlord and request your deposit in writing.
If your landlord refuses to pay back your security deposit, you may take them to
Magistrate Court
, sometimes called small claims court.

How to save money on car and renters insurance in Georgia

As you navigate security deposit regulations, be sure to also take a look at renters insurance. Renters insurance is required by many landlords and protects your belongings in case of damage.
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