Do you want to learn about the security deposit laws in Acworth, GA?
One of the essential clauses in every rental agreement is the security deposit. As a landlord, it’s very important to have the necessary proof that your tenants accept all their financial responsibilities.
Often enough, matters surrounding security deposits spark disputes. When both sides understand the main rules and regulations, the chance of tiring debates is greatly reduced.
Additionally, the first serious touchpoint with security deposit laws for landlords is the drafting of lease agreements. Anything related to security deposits in your contract should have proper legal grounds.
This article provides all the important things you should learn about security deposits in Acworth, Georgia.
What do security deposits cover in Georgia?
A security deposit is any dollar amount handed over by a tenant to the landlord that doesn’t constitute as part of a given month’s rent. These deposits may include advance rent deposits, damage deposits, and pet deposits.
At the same time, security deposits don’t cover nonrefundable fees and other payments that aren’t going to be returned to the renter. Also, this term doesn’t include payments of utilities or services that have been provided to the renter.
Returning a renter’s security deposit.
Landlords in Acworth are required to return the tenant’s security deposit within a month after the keys are returned and the property is vacated. The important prerequisite for returning the deposit is known as surrendering the rental unit.
The security deposit can become the property of the landlord. This is justified when the landlord is unable to locate the tenant within a 90-day period after sending a designated notice.
The notice has to sent via First Class mail to the renter’s last known address. In case the letter gets returned and reasonable effort on part of the landlord fails to find the tenant, the landlord has the right to keep the full amount.
Your tenant receives the full security deposit amount when the following requirements are met:
- The rent, utilities, late payment fees, and other legally justified expenses have been paid.
- Your rental property has no other damages besides normal wear and tear.
- There has been no property abandonment that would result in additional expenses.
The return period isn’t negotiable as per Georgia law.
Security deposit limits.
Landlords in Georgia can freely pick their security deposit amount. There is no state limit imposed on security deposits. Nevertheless, having reasonable security deposits is a way to stay competitive.
When your security deposit fees are high without reflecting the property’s value, finding tenants could become increasingly difficult. A high vacancy rate will hurt your rental property investment results.
What must be done before tendering a security deposit?
Prior to procuring a security deposit, you have to present the tenant with an exhaustive list of any property damage acquired. After doing so, your tenant has the right to inspect the property for ensuring that the list is accurate.
Following the voluntary inspection, you can both sign the checklist. However, this list is not regarded as conclusive to hidden defects.
The tenant may refuse to fully sign the list. In this case, they will state the items on the premises to which he or she chooses to dissent. Then they must sign a designated statement of dissent.
How can you store the security deposit in Georgia?
You have two options for storing your tenant’s security deposits: an escrow account or a surety bond.
- Escrow Account. You can store your tenant’s security deposit in an escrow account provided by a lending institution or bank regulated by the U.S. Government or the State of Georgia.
- Surety Bond. The second option is posting a surety bond. Ultimately, you can post a surety bond for whichever amount is less: the full amount of all total deposits from all your tenants or $50,000.
What is the proper basis for security deposit deductions?
As a landlord in Acworth, GA, you can keep a part or all of the tenant’s security deposit in the following scenarios:
- The tenant hasn’t paid rent, utility bills, or pet fees.
- There are unpaid cleaning, maintenance, or repair bills obtained by the tenant from third parties.
- The rental property has damages that are beyond ordinary wear and tear.
- Your tenant has overdue late rent payment fees.
- The renter has abandoned your property.
Deductable damage: normal wear and tear or not?
The subject of normal wear and tear vs deductible damage causes confusion. Here are some practical examples of the main differences:
- Pet urine stains
- Cigarette burns
- Missing hardware
- Cracked or missing tiles
- Torn or removed shades
Normal wear and tear:
- Sticky windows and doors
- Paint fading
- Limescale build-up in bathroom
- Dirty grout
- Carpets worn thin from regular foot traffic
Failing to return the deposit.
An illegal withholding of the security deposit in Acworth, Georgia has serious consequences. As a landlord, you could expect to pay back a sum up to three times more than the original security deposit amount.
Should it be proven that a portion of the deposit was accidentally withheld, the landlord only has to pay back an amount that was withheld by mistake.
What is the security deposit policy when selling a rental property?
When you sell your unit while tenants are renting it, you have to transfer all the security deposits to the new owner. The only alternative is to completely refund the security deposits to your renters.
The bottom line: Security Deposit Laws in Acworth, GA
Security deposits form an essential part of every rental agreement. The following are the two reasons why you should always incorporate security deposits in your rental agreement:
- There is a lower risk of late or missed payments and negligence.
- You have the financial protection against rent payment issues and property damage.
Additionally, here are the most important takeaways from the Acworth, GA security deposit law overview:
- No limit has been put to place for the security deposit amount.
- You need to return your tenant’s security deposit within one month after surrendering the property.
- There are two options available for storing the deposit: either an escrow account or a surety bond.
- Any damages that are part of normal wear and tear can’t be deducted.
- Prior to procuring a security deposit, you need to present the tenant with a complete list of prior damages.
If you have any questions regarding the aforementioned info, you can contact us at Haas Properties.
Disclaimer: This blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state. Laws frequently change, and this post might not be updated at the time of your reading. Please contact us for any questions you have in regards to this content or any other aspect of your property management needs.