65,000 people have moved to the Atlanta area in the past 12 months! All of those people are looking for new homes, and if you're a property owner, you need to get ready for tenants!
New property owners have a lot to learn. One of the simplest things to learn about is security deposits. We're here to talk all about a few important things you should know about security deposits in Atlanta.
Read on to learn more.
1. Security Deposits Help You and Your Tenants
One of the most important things to note about security deposits is that they're beneficial for all parties involved.
On your end, you're collecting an extra sum of money at the beginning of your tenant's stay at your property. This money must be tucked away and kept safe so you can return it in the future, so how does it help you?
If a tenant happens to violate their lease in a specific way or cause actual damage to the property, you're able to use that deposit to cover it.
On the tenant's end, they get to use that deposit to secure their spot in the rental unit. They know that they'll be receiving the deposit back at the end of their tenancy, so they can use it to put towards their next home.
If any accidental damage occurs, they can use the deposit instead of paying out-of-pocket.
2. There's No Official Limit
In the state of Georgia, there is no statutory limit on how expensive a security deposit can be. In other words, you can charge as much as you'd like.
With that in mind, there are some factors you need to consider.
Most landlords set their security deposits at or around the cost of one month's rent. This means that at the beginning of someone's tenancy, they're basically paying two months of rent upfront. For most tenants, this is feasible.
While you can charge more than that, you'll be restricting yourself to tenants with more disposable income than they'd need to pay rent. You're also making yourself less competitive in the rental market. Other landlords are charging lower deposits for equivalent units in Atlanta, so potential tenants can (and will) just go there.
You can raise or lower a deposit if you wish. Some landlords run specials when they're not getting enough interest in their units and they'll waive or lower deposits as a result.
3. In Most Cases, You Must Return Them
Atlanta security deposits are refundable in most cases. The landlord must return the deposit within one month. If they choose to keep some or all of the deposit, they must tell the tenant exactly why they're keeping it and show proof.
The tenant can take legal action if they believe that the landlord is wrongfully withholding their deposit.
The landlord can keep the deposit (or part of it) to cover damage that doesn't qualify as "normal wear and tear." This means that things like faded carpets, slightly chipped paint, aging appliances, and other "normal" consequences of someone living in a home do not qualify.
Are You Ready to Start Accepting Tenants?
Knowing about security deposits is only one part of the battle. There are so many things you have to do and know as a new landlord! Are you ready?
At HomeRiver Group, we help Atlanta landlords manage their properties. From figuring out a security deposit for rent to dealing with tenant troubles, we can help. Contact us so we can start working together today.