Saturday, June 24, 2006

Recent updates to Landlord and Tenant law in Georgia

The most recent legislative session in Georgia saw a few updates to Landlord and tenant law, including changes to the laws affecting Deposits, Dispossessories (Georgia’s legal term for evictions), and appeals by Tenants in Dispossessory judgments.

SECURITY DEPOSITS - O.C.G.A. 44-7-31 was amended to slightly alter the requirement that tenants, “be informed in writing of the location … of the escrow account” where a security deposit is held by the Landlord. Prior to this 2006 change, the Landlord was required to also provide the account number, but is no longer required to do so. Note: There are many requirements in Georgia Law regulating Landlords’ retention and return of Security Deposits found in O.C.G.A. §§ 44-7-31 through 44-7-35. The legislature exempted certain landlords from these requirements in O.C.G.A. 44-7-36, particularly those with fewer than ten units and who do not pay a fee for management, including rent collection. A Landlord’s violation of these laws regulating security deposits can subject the Landlord to being liable to the tenant in the amount of three times the sum of the deposit improperly withheld plus reasonable attorney’s fees!

DISPOSSESSORIES - a single word was inserted into O.C.G.A. 44-7-50, clarifying that after a demand for possession has been made, a Landlord, or his agent or attorney, may “immediately” file an affidavit seeking a writ of possession. Under Georgia law, failure to properly “Demand possession” before filing an action for dispossessory is fatally flawed and will be dismissed. By inserting the word, “immediately” the Legislature makes it clear that the Landlord need not wait after making a demand, and is that the Landlord entitled to immediately turn to the Court for relief.

DISPOSSESSORY APPEALS - Regarding appeals from a dispossessory judgment, the Legislature made another change to the benefit of Landlords by requiring that a Tenant be required to pay into the registry of the court all sums found by the trial court to be due for rent, in order for the tenant to remain in possession of the premises during the appeal. Prior to the change, the law stated that the court could, upon motion for the Landlord, and for good cause shown, require the tenant to pay such rent into the registry of the court. Following the 2006 changes, the Landlord will no longer have to file a motion, nor show “good cause,” and the tenant will be required in any appeal to pay all past due rent, or lose possession of the premises pending appeal.

Trey Phillips is an attorney in Lawrenceville, Georgia whose practice of law includes extensive experience in Landlord and Tenant issues. Trey created the website, to provide Landlords with information regarding Landlord and Tenant law in Georgia. Trey represents Landlords all over the country that own land in Georgia, and may be reached by email at or by calling his office tollfree at 1-888-500-EVICT (3842).

Trey Phillips,
Attorney at Law
678-985-9402 (fax)

Friday, June 23, 2006

Welcome to Georgia Eviction Attorney Blog

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