Do I have to renew a Georgia lease with a bad tenant?
A lot of our business comes from Georgia investors that have tried to handle being the landlord themselves. When you ask our clients why they don’t want to take care of their own rental properties, there most common reply is that they hate dealing with bad tenants. Many Georgia landlords think tenants are the enemy. They want the bad tenant out but are afraid of the potential backlash. Here is how to handle renewing a bad tenant.
Georgia Landlords don’t have to renew a lease.
Depending on how your rental agreement is written, your business is concluded with the tenant when the lease is up. Neither landlords, nor tenants for that matter, have to give a reason the lease will not be renewed. You just have to give notice that the lease will not be renewed. Section 8 properties can be a little different. The Housing authority can have other regulations pertaining to non-renewal of leases. Check with the local Section 8 housing office before taking action.
Give your bad tenant plenty of notice
A good landlord does not have to give a reason they are not renewing the lease, but they do have to warn the tenants that the lease will not be renewed. Georgia landlord-tenant laws give a standard time frame for giving notice if your lease agreement does not already specify. Standard time to notify a tenant you are not renewing a lease is 60 days. A tenant that is not renewing a lease only has to give 30 days’ notice. Tenants that are not under a lease are afforded this same courtesy.
Have reasonable cause for not renewing your lease
Georgia Landlords do not need a reason for not renewing a lease. Once the lease is up for renewal, it should be written in the lease agreement that it is the property managers’ choice to renew. If your lease does not say that, you may need a new property manager.
Discrimination or retaliation are not legal reasons for denying a Georgia lease renewal. Property managers and self-managing landlords can get in big trouble under fair housing laws if the tenant proves their lease was not renewed for racial, religious, or other discriminating reasons. A good property manager should be able to refer to an infraction pertaining to the terms of the lease or Georgia state law.
What if the tenant keeps paying rent after the rental contract is expired?
As mentioned before, the property manager should have given 60 days’ notice to the tenant that the lease will not be renewed. With that, If the tenant tries to stay by simply sending in the rent, simply send it back with a notice reminder to vacate.
This is your first clue that the tenants don’t want to leave without a fight. Immediately go to the Georgia magistrate court and file a dispossessory. Georgia landlords can usually evict a tenant in 30 days (Except around Atlanta, where the courts are much busier).
If you need help with a portfolio of problem tenants, contact us.