canada africa partner reservation Kemp signs tenant protection bill into law | City news

Kemp signs tenant protection bill into law | City news


A bill signed by Governor Brian Kemp on Monday, April 22, will provide more protections for renters. The new law, which takes effect July 1, requires rental properties to be fit for human habitation and gives tenants a three-day grace period after their rent is due before landlords can file for eviction.

HB 404, known as the “Safe at Home Act,” also prohibits landlords from requiring tenants to pay more than two months’ rent for a security deposit. The bill passed the Georgia House on a 168-1 vote on March 26 before heading to Kemp’s desk for signing.

With the passage of the bill, which was introduced by the Georgia Senate in 2023, Georgia joined the majority of states that require homes to be fit for human habitation. The law provides tenants with a way to hold landlords accountable in court for maintaining decent living conditions.

A 2022 investigation by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution inspired Representative Kasey Carpenter to sponsor the bill. The AJC series “Dangerous Dwellings” combed through government data and compiled a list of more than 250 apartment complexes with significant crime reports and unsafe conditions in the Atlanta area.

Access to affordable and stable housing has also been an issue in Athens-Clarke County. The average rent in ACC is $1,030, and according to the 2022 U.S. Census, 29.9% of people in ACC live in poverty. Activists pointed to a lack of legal protections for renters at the local or state level as part of the cause of Athens’ affordable housing crisis.

The Housing Justice League, an activist group that lobbied for the bill, supported the law as an improvement to tenants’ rights but said it still does not provide sufficient protections for tenants.

“We hope that HB404 is just the first step in passing stronger regulations to protect Georgia’s renters,” the HJL said in a statement on their website.