Dear Consumer Ed:
My landlord is raising my rent by $200 per month. Now he is telling me I also have to pay an additional $200 on my security deposit. Is he allowed to do that?
Consumer Ed says:
Landlords do not typically require an additional security deposit after the lease expires, but they may be permitted to do so based upon the terms of the lease. While most leases state that the rent and security deposit can only be increased at the end of the lease term, you should check your lease carefully to see if it states when and how often the landlord can increase these amounts.
If your lease expires, your landlord may insist that you immediately sign a new lease with new terms or leave. If you remain in the apartment without signing a new lease and your landlord refuses to accept any rent, you may be considered to be “holding over.” This means the landlord may charge you “holdover rent”, which is a premium of perhaps two to three times your prorated daily rental rate for each day you remain in the apartment. In addition, if you fail to leave, the landlord may evict you.
If you do not sign a new lease, and your landlord continues to accept the same monthly rent you were paying before your lease expired, the terms of the original lease still apply, except the landlord is required to give sixty (60) days’ notice before he/she can terminate the lease or change the terms, and you are required to give thirty (30) days’ notice before leaving. If your landlord tries to collect rent at the increased rate before 60 days are up, and you either refuse to pay the higher amount or stop paying altogether, your landlord may try to evict you. If that happens, you may have a valid defense and the right to contest the eviction by filing a response with the court within seven days after the Sheriff serves you with a copy of the proceeding. If you find yourself in this situation, you should consult with a lawyer to learn more about your rights.
For more information regarding your rights as a tenant, please reference the Georgia Landlord Tenant Handbook.
Submit your own question to Consumer Ed. Remember…we do not give legal advice. Always consult a lawyer about legal issues.