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Bill created to protect tenants, landlords sweeps Georgia house

Landlord-tenant laws in Georgia don't cap security deposits. House Bill 404 could create a cap.

MACON, Ga. — Tenants often complain of their lack of protections for their rentals and with their landlords.

A new bill headed to the Georgia senate will expand some of those rights for tenants while also protecting landlords.

Often, lines get blurred when it comes to the rights of both tenants and landlords in Georgia, but House bill 404 is intended to find balance for both.

The legislation aims to improve living conditions of tenants, allowing them to live safely and securely in rental properties while protecting landlords' interest.

That caught the attention of legal counsel and tenant advocates like Ayanna Jones-Lightsy.

"Georgia is one of the few states that doesn't have this kind of protection for tenants, that if a landlord is renting a property that there is this understanding that it is for for human habitation so that's a big win," she said.

Landlord-tenant laws in Georgia don't cap security deposits, this is another thing that could change.

"There is a cap on the security deposit that can be charged which is really great because sometimes security deposit is the bar that someone cannot meet. They can pay their rent, but they can’t pay 6 months in advance," Jones-Lightsy said. 

Georgia tenants have to give the landlord 30 days notice if they plan to move out. However, if the landlord wants the tenant to move out, they currently have to give 60 days written notice of eviction. 

With HB 404, that would fall to three days.

"So the landlord needs to give the tenant now, well if the bill passes, three days notice prior to filing an eviction as opposed to just filing an eviction and not giving the tenant an opportunity to cure," Jones-Lightsy said.

Before it becomes law, the bill still needs to pass the state senate. But before then Jones-Lightsy encourages lobbying.

"Coming to the house, making your voice heard, letting your representatives know that tenants rights is important cause it’s good for everyone," she said.

The bill also would prohibit landlords from turning off a tenant's air conditioning before an eviction to force them out. 

If you’re a tenant or a landlord needing resources, you can contact Georgia Legal Services Program.

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