Under GA Law Perpetrators of Domestic Violence May Get to Terminate Their Lease without Penalty
During the 2018 General Session, Georgia legislators passed a new law, O.C.G.A. 44-7-23, which allows victims of domestic violence the option to terminate their lease contract without penalty. Unfortunately, the way GA house bill 834 is currently phrased, the lease is terminated for every tenant. Often the perpetrator of the domestic violence lives with the victim. So this new law is often allowing the perpetrator to be released from their lease without any penalty along with the victim.
Many landlords and property managers believe that GA house bill 834 has gone too far and needs to be amended. As summarized by Mike Nelson of Excalibur Homes, LLC, one of the largest managers of single-family houses in Metro Atlanta “We have no objection to the victim being released from the lease. But we strenuously object to the perpetrator also being released from any liability under the lease. Many legislators may not be aware that it often costs the owners of single-family rentals about 3 – 4 month’s rent to turn and re-rent their rental house. By the time the owner suffers a month’s vacancy, spends money to have the house cleaned, painted, and repaired, and then pays commissions to have the house re-rented, the landlord is out of pocket several thousand dollars due to an incident caused in many instances by one of their tenants.”
Organizations such as the Atlanta Chapter of the National Association of Property Managers (NARPM) are trying to encourage legislators to make some minor adjustments to GA house bill 834 so that the victim is released but the lease is not automatically cancelled.