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By Lindsey Hoover
Updated on Jul 8, 2022
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff, Staff Editor.
Under Georgia law, a landlord has the right to increase your rent at any time and by however much they deem fit. However, a landlord can’t legally raise your rent if you’re under a rental contract, like a fixed-term lease.
Since 2021, states like Georgia have seen rental prices soar upwards of 20%—that’s well above the nation’s average, leaving many Peach State residents wondering what to expect next. If you call Georgia home, rent hikes may be hard to avoid, but staying informed on state-specific rental laws doesn’t have to be.
That’s where insurance super app Jerry comes in. Jerry is your ultra-talented insurance broker that makes finding great car, home, or renters insurance coverage quick and easy. Below we take you through the ins and outs of rent increases in Georgia so you can spend less time stressing and more time in the sun.
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How much can a landlord raise rent in Georgia?
In Georgia, a landlord has the legal right to raise your rent however much they desire.
Georgia is one of 25 states in the country that don’t have rent-control protection. There are also no laws in place preventing a landlord from raising your rent unless you’re under a rental contract.
If you’re under a fixed-term lease (i.e. a year-long lease) and you’re up for renewal, a landlord can legally increase your rent without notice. However, you won’t have to pay the increased amount unless you decide to stay and sign the new contract.
On the other hand, if your lease expires and your landlord allows you to continue occupying the property without a lease, you become a tenant-at-will—and your landlord can increase your rent by any amount with at least a 60-day written notice.
How much notice does a landlord need to give before they raise rent?
Georgia law doesn’t require a landlord to notify you of a rent increase. An exception to this law is if you’re a tenant-at-will or if you never signed a formal lease with your landlord.
If you signed a fixed-term lease in Georgia, your landlord can legally increase your rent once your lease expires. However, if your landlord attempts to hike up your rent before the term’s expiration date, you have the right to legally object to the increase.
That being said, not everyone is operating under a fixed-term lease. If you’re tenant-at-will or you never signed a formal lease, your landlord is required to do the following prior to the rent adjustment:
- For tenants-at-will, Georgia law requires a written notice of a rent increase at least 60 days in advance
- For tenants and landlords without a formal lease, Georgia law requires a written notice of a rent increase 60 days in advance
When is it illegal to raise rent in Georgia?
While it may be legal for landlords to raise the rent in Georgia by any amount, there are a few instances where increasing a tenant’s rent is illegal:
- As discrimination against someone of a “protected class”—protected classes include race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, and disability.
- As retaliation for a tenant exercising their legal rights (e.g., joining a tenant’s union, withholding rent due to uninhabitable rental unit)
- Before the expiration of a fixed-term lease
If you believe your landlord is increasing your rent for discriminatory reasons, you can file a claim with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
How to respond to a rent increase
If your landlord decides to increase your rent, you have several different ways to respond. Below we go through your options so that you can feel better prepared when/if the situation arises:
- If your landlord increases your rent prior to the expiration of your fixed-term lease, you speak with a lawyer about filing a lawsuit.
- If your landlord increases your rent, and you want to remain on the property, you can try to negotiate a lower rate or pay the new rate.
How to save money to deal with a rent hike
Whether you’re looking to rent a pad in bustling Atlanta or somewhere with a little more historic charm like Savannah, avoiding a rent increase may be hard to do. What shouldn’t be hard is finding the right renters insurance for your home.
Disaster can strike at any time and not having enough coverage may mean you're stuck footing the bill. By purchasing a renters insurance policy for a few dollars a month, you could potentially save thousands.
Whether you want to up your coverage or get a new renters insurance policy, Jerry has your back. Jerry is an insurance super app that makes it easy to upgrade your policy without breaking the bank. And if you ever have any questions about coverage, Jerry’s licensed agents are ready to help.
“Jerry is a great product with great customer service! The quote comparison found me lots of options being in Georgia.” —Gregory K.
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Can my landlord raise my rent during the pandemic?
Yes. Georgia law permits landlords to raise rent after your lease has ended, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you find yourself in a difficult situation, like struggling to pay your rent or utility bills, we suggest looking for a rental assistance program in your area.
What is the average rent increase per year in Georgia?
Since January 2021, Georgia rent prices have increased by about 22% per year. Georgia was ranked sixth in the nation for states with the highest rent increases.