Significant Change to Landlord Tenant Law in Georgia
During the 2018 General Assembly the State of Georgia passed, and Governor Deal signed into law: § 44-7-23. Termination of residential lease after issuance of civil family violence order or criminal family violence order; notice; occupancy… This law took effect on July 1, 2018 and applies to all residential leases, or renewals, that take effect after that date. The entire language is copied below for your review. The primary clause which impacts landlords and property managers is “The tenant shall not be liable for any other fees, rent, or damages due to the early termination of the tenancy as provided for in this Code section”. If one of your tenants provides the notice as required in the law (in short, a copy of the court order and the police report establishing the tenant as a victim of domestic violence), then that tenant has the right to “terminate his or her residential rental or lease agreement”. The law does not say that only the victim is released, it says the lease is terminated. The lease being terminated means all parties are released from it, even if the abuser was also a party to the lease. Best Practice – if you receive such a notification from one of your tenants, and that tenant establishes the last day of residency not earlier than 30 days from the date of notice, then process their move out as if that is the last day of their lease per your lease document. There will be no penalty for failure to provide more notice, if your lease requires that, and there will be no penalty for terminating early. However the tenant is still liable for any damages to the property as a result of their abuse or neglect of the property (not normal wear & tear). Any additional parties to that lease are also released due to the fact that the “lease is terminated”. Now you need to determine whether you want to create a new lease with any of the adults that wish to remain in the property. If one of the parties that want to remain is the same one that committed the domestic abuse, then perhaps you do not want to keep them as tenants. If other adults that were on the prior lease express their desire to remain in the property, then you should re-qualify them as you would a new applicant to confirm that they have the financial capability of honoring the lease now that one of the other tenants has moved out. How will the departing tenant’s income effect the total income of the remaining tenants? Was the departing tenant the primary tenant, and their good credit is what got the applicants approved initially? Has the credit worthiness or employment status of any remaining tenant changed since they were initially approved? While “turning” a rental house is expensive, it will be a lot less expensive to handle the turn now rather than have to go through an eviction action with the remaining tenants later. Reminder – We have a lot of service members in Georgia. JAG Officers and service members are familiar with the Service Members Civil Relief Act which covers the entire U.S. However, Georgia law (O.C.G.A. 44-7-22) requires only a 30 day notice to vacate which is more restrictive than federal law and very similar to this new law under O.C.G.A. 44-7-23. Conclusion – Knowing the law and abiding by the law is much less painful and costly than having someone in a black robe explain the law to you. Need an Atlanta property manager? Click here to view our leasing and management services.
§ 44-7-23. Termination of residential lease after issuance of civil family violence order or criminal family violence order; notice; occupancy(a) As used in this Code section, the term: (1) “Civil family violence order” means: (A) Any protective order issued pursuant to Article 1 of Chapter 13 of Title 19, provided that the respondent was present or had notice of the hearing that resulted in the issuance of such order; or (B) Any ex parte temporary protective order issued pursuant to Article 1 of Chapter 13 of Title 19, provided that it is accompanied by a police report showing a basis for such order. (2) “Criminal family violence order” means: (A) Any order of pretrial release issued as a result of an arrest for an act of family violence; or (B) Any order for probation issued as a result of a conviction or plea of guilty, nolo contendere, or first offender to an act of family violence. (3) “Family violence” shall have the same meaning as set forth in Code Section 19-13-1. (b) A tenant may terminate his or her residential rental or lease agreement for real estate effective 30 days after providing the landlord with a written notice of termination when a civil family violence order or criminal family violence order has been issued: (1) Protecting such tenant or his or her minor child; or (2) Protecting such tenant when he or she is a joint tenant, or his or her minor child, even when such protected tenant had no obligation to pay rent to the landlord. (c) The notice to the landlord pursuant to subsection (b) of this Code section shall be accompanied by a copy of the applicable civil family violence order or criminal family violence order and a copy of the police report if such order was an ex parte temporary protective order. (d) Upon termination of a residential rental or lease agreement under this Code section, the tenant may occupy the real estate until the termination is effective. Such tenant shall be liable for the rent due under such agreement prorated to the effective date of the termination, payable at such time as would have otherwise been required by the terms of such agreement, and for any delinquent or unpaid rent or other sums owed to the landlord prior to the termination of such agreement. The tenant shall not be liable for any other fees, rent, or damages due to the early termination of the tenancy as provided for in this Code section. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, if a tenant terminates a residential rental or lease agreement pursuant to this Code section 14 or more days prior to occupancy, no damages or penalties of any kind will be assessable. (e) This Code section shall apply to all residential real estate rental or lease agreements entered into on or after July 1, 2018, and to any renewals, modifications, or extensions of such agreements in effect on such date. This Code section shall not be waived or modified by the agreement of the parties under any circumstances.
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Carrie Tegeder manages several properties for us. She is responsible, cheerful, professional and responsive. She also... gives good suggestions and is great to work with. Ivan Soto helps in managing the vendors to make sure the rentals are in great quality for the tenants. He is very thorough and responsible. The other team members I work with at Excalibur are all professional and knowledge. I'm so glad I made the switch from another property management company to Excalibur Homesread more
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We had a great experience in speaking with our property manager, Brooke Borders the other day about a issue that would... have prevented us from renewing our lease. She was extremely helpful and also returned our emails and phone calls right away. She was also very professional and knew the topic she was talking about. A wonderful experience. We also want to mention that the inspector, Alfredo who came out to look at our property was awesome also he was very professional and also listened to any issues that we had with our property. Great people and a great place that we are looking forward to continuing to rent in our 3rd year with Excalibur!read more
Kim Carr was the agent I worked with. She was quick to respond when I contacted her about a house for rent. She was... very knowledgeable and answered all of my questions. She was very helpful and I would definitely recommend her if you are looking for a home to rent or purchase. In addition to Kim, everyone else that I dealt with at Excalibur from the application process until me moved in were also very helpful. They responded immediately whenever I sent an email or left a voicemail. This company is great to work with! Kim Carr ROCKS!read more
3 Years with Excalibur, and they've been wonderful in managing my rental place. Debbie Hale is very thorough, and... ALWAYS communicates any news about my place and my tenant, so that there are no surprises! I highly recommend them for managing your properties. They've made the landlord process very easy for me. From getting my profit and loss statements, and tax statements, down to maintaining any maintenance concerns for the tenant.read more
I'm currently a tenant at one of the properties that is managed by Excalibur Homes. I have been at this resident for... several years now. I have been through one or two Property Manager at my place of residence and Debbie Hale is by far the best one of all. Just recently, I experienced a job lost and she has been working with me. Ms. Hale has always worked with me with all my needs and is very kind. Sometimes we don't recognize great people with our everyday life but today I will like to recognize her on a job well done. Thanks for Great Customer Serviceread more
This is probably the most rude and unprofessional organization I have ever dealt with. I’ve had 3 property managers... and I’ve only been in the home 5 months. The latest one, Brooke Borders is extremely rude, unprofessional, and down right ghetto. Flew off the handle and cuts you off so you can’t speak if you ask questions. Wouldn’t provide her supervisors real name. When I did talk to the supervisor, Laura Burr, it was very clearly she could care less. She was not rude, however she didn’t care what my experience was. Refused to reassign a different property manager and told me I’d be hearing from Brooke (who I just complained about) in a few days. I’ve waited since my move in date for a fob for the property amenities. I still don’t have it. Never got one and now I’m being told I’ll be charged $50 for a replacement. Never had late rent. I take great care of the property. I left a voicemail for Vice President Matt Nelson. I have my fingers crossed that I won’t get scolded again for having concerns and hope that they will actually just fix the problems and demonstrate some good customer service. I regret choosing a home with Excalibur!read more
I have to say that Excalibur Homes is an awesome company! The entire staff is not only professional but very nice and... hospitable. Debbie Hale, our property manager, has always gone out of her way to make us feel welcome in our home and help us with anything that comes up with a sense of urgency and complete satisfaction! A big thanks to her for being so kind and helping making the process such an enjoyable experience from the start. If you're in the market I'd sincerely recommend Excalibur Homes and working with Debbie!read more
Excalibur Homes is responsive and helpful! Their professionalism exceeded my expectations. My property manager is... Debbie Hale and she has been nothing short of excellent.She is a pleasure to work with!! Debbie is efficient, informative, patient and polite.I highly recommend Excalibur Homes.read more
Julie Pearson, an outstanding rental agent at Excalibur Homes, is a pleasure to work with. She helped us rent our... house--with her knowledge, warmth, genuineness, intelligence, work ethic, reliability, professionalism, and wonderfully positive personality--and was a tremendous support to us ! Even though one employee we've communicated with has not been as impressive, we are giving 5 stars for the business based on Ms. Pearson's excellence. We've also gotten terrific assistance from Matt and Zeke. In the end, everything in life is not about money, and these people have made me feel good because they appear to know this.read more