Landlords and brokers in the City of Atlanta cannot refuse to rent based on someone’s source of legal income, which includes denying the acceptance of valid government vouchers.
The City of Atlanta is the first municipality in Georgia to pass such legislation. It was passed in 2020. The State of Georgia does not have a law against discrimination based on source of legal income.
Of course, the State of Georgia does prohibit discrimination based on a home seeker’s race, color, national origin, sex, religion, familial status, or disability. The City of Atlanta has added this additional layer to prohibited acts.
Security Deposits in Lease Transactions
Georgia law requires that the tenant, prior to tendering a security deposit, be presented with a comprehensive list of any existing damages to the premises. (F910, Move-In/Move-Out Condition Report)
O.C.G.A. 44-7-33. Per Seth Weissman in The Red Book on Real Estate Contracts in Georgia, some landlords and their agents try to comply with this section of the law by characterizing the security deposit as a refundable lease administration or application fee that is then converted into a security deposit upon the completion of the move-in inspection. Whether temporarily giving the security deposit a different name alters its character is unclear and has yet to be ruled on by an appellate court.
Adverse Action Letter Regarding Rental Application
If a landlord denies the prospective tenant’s rental application because of poor credit, the landlord is required, under Section 615(a) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act to provide a special notification to the prospective tenant that, among other things, provides the applicant with the name, address, and telephone number of the credit reporting agency; informs the applicant that the credit reporting agency did not make the adverse action and is unable to provide the applicant with the specific reasons why the adverse action was taken; and gives the tenant the right to obtain a free copy of her credit report from the credit reporting agency to dispute the accuracy or completeness of the credit report.
This type of notice must also be given if the landlord charges the tenant an extra amount as a result of having bad credit (such as an additional security deposit or extra rent). The notice does not need to state the specific information in the credit report that was of concern to the landlord. Instead, it merely needs to state that information in the credit report was a basis for the denial of the rental application.
NEW SPECIAL STIPULATIONS
The May 1, 2022 revisions to the GAR Forms have been released. There are 2 new Special Stipulations (SS) that should be of value to you. These can also be found in the GAR Special Stipulations.
SS 110 NO COMMISSION OWED BY THE BUYER
Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary contained in this Agreement, Broker shall not look for Buyer to pay any portion of Broker’s Commission pursuant to this Exclusive Buyer Brokerage Engagement Agreement.
2.CONTINGENCY FOR RECEIVING CONDOMINIUM QUESTIONNAIRE
As noted in a previous post, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have created additional conditions to the HOA Approval process since the terrible condominium collapse last year in Florida. Significant deferred maintenance at that condominium was a factor in the building collapse. Property management of condominiums will now be required to answer additional questions regarding deficiencies, defects, substantial damages and deferred maintenance, as well as other new questions. To protect a buyer’s earnest money, in the event that the approval process takes longer than the time limits of financing or appraisal contingencies, we recommend adding a Special Stipulation to all condominium purchase agreements that allows the buyer to terminate if the property cannot be qualified by FNMA or Freddie Mac. The following is a new SS released by GAR for this situation. Note that the SS calls for the buyer’s termination right based on a number of days from the binding date. The time period can, of course, be adjusted as the situation requires.
Real Estate News, Brokers Blog & More