COVID-19 Legal FAQs for Renters in

This page has local legal information on residential (not commercial) renters’ issues during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is not legal advice, and you should check with your local legal aid and courts for current information. Your local city or county may have additional protections for renters.

This page was last updated on July 7, 2020. It was reviewed by our volunteer attorney experts.

Its information is taken from these sources:Judicial Council of GeorgiaGeorgia utility orderPrinceton Eviction Lab's COVID Policy ScorecardsColumbia Law School COVID-19 Eviction Moratoria analysisEnergy and Policy Institute Utility Disconnect Tracker

COVID-19 Legal FAQs for Renters in Georgia
Are there any special protections for Georgia renters during the emergency? How long do they last?

The Georgia Chief Justice has extended court deadlines, and told courts to focus on essential operations until June 12, 2020. There are no additional statewide protections for renters in Georgia. The Georgia Supreme Court has also advised local courts to conduct video proceedings whenever possible.

You may be covered by national protections, or by your local county and city. Read below to see if you are eligible for U.S. national protections, that may protect you through July 2020.

Also check with your local government to see if they provide any additional local protections.

What do the protections mean for Georgia renters?

If you do not qualify for national or local protections, then in Georgia:

  • Your landlord can still give you a notice to quit.
  • Your landlord can still file an eviction claim against you.
  • Hearings on eviction depend on local regulations, and the court may still hear an eviction case against you.
  • The court can still issue a new order, judgment, or writ of eviction against you.
  • Law enforcement can still enforce an existing eviction order against you, to remove you from your home.
Do I still have to pay rent during the emergency in Georgia?

Yes, your rent is still due in Georgia, and you can be evicted if you do not pay on time.

If you cannot pay rent, take steps to protect yourself:

  • Get written records of all communication: Keep copies of any letter or email you send, and any responses from the landlord. Keep receipts for any payments you make, that are signed and dated. If you make a payment plan or rent agreement, make sure to get it in writing.
  • Keep proof of COVID-19’s impact on you: Collect documents about your COVID-19-related employment problems, health care issues, or other issues that affect your ability to pay rent. This includes letters from your employer, doctor, insurance provider, child care provider, schools, etc.

Can my landlord evict me during the emergency?

Yes, you can still be evicted during the emergency in Georgia.

You may be covered by national protections against eviction, or by your local county and city. Read below to see if you are eligible for U.S. national protections.

Also check with your local government to see if they provide any additional local protections.

If you receive a notice to quit from your landlord, or an eviction lawsuit, reach out for legal help.

Can my utilities be shut off during the emergency?

Some Georgia renters may be protected against utility shutoffs during the emergency. It depends on where you live.

There are no statewide protections, but some utilities companies, including Georgia Power, have said they will not shut off utilities during the emergency.

Renters must still pay their utility bills. If you need financial assistance for utility costs, you may be able to get help.

Landlords are never allowed to shut off a renter's utilities in an attempt to force the renter out. This is illegal. Reach out to a lawyer for help if this happens to you.

Are you eligible for U.S. national protections against eviction?

Renters in 3 categories have special national protections against being evicted during the Emergency Period of March 27, 2020 to July 24 or 25, 2020. These national protections add onto any state and local protections you have.

Do you fit in any of these 3 categories?

Your home’s owner has a federally backed mortgage loan or other guarantee (like through Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae). Search if your home is covered.
You pay rent through a federal assistance program like the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher, Rural Development Voucher, or other 'covered housing' program.
You live in Public Housing, where the government is your landlord.

If you are a renter in one of these 3 categories, the federal CARES Act section 4024 gives you these protections. (Remember, these protections add onto any state and local protections you have)

  • Your landlord cannot file a new eviction lawsuit against you for not paying your rent during the Emergency Period. They can still evict you for other behavior, like drug abuse, other criminal activities, or other lease violations.
  • Your landlord cannot charge you new fees or penalties for not paying your rent during the Emergency Period.
  • After the Emergency Period ends, your landlord may not be able to evict you immediately.(Different states interpret the protections ending on July 24 or 25. Check with local lawyers to see about your state). If you have not paid your rent in full during the Emergency Period, your landlord must wait until the period ends before giving you a notice to vacate. For example, they may give you a notice on July 26, and you must be allowed until at least August 25 to leave the property.

For more help on these national protections, reach out for legal and financial help here. Also, use this tool to write a letter to your landlord if you are having issues with rent or eviction.

What if I need repairs?

Can I break my lease?

What do I do if my landlord tries to evict me?

Are eviction cases still proceeding through Georgia courts?

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