Before you sign the lease, thoroughly examine the property and make sure that you are inspecting the property that you will occupy. Do not look at one unit and have the landlord tell you your unit will be just like this one becuase they may not be the same - the amenities might be different, the location in the complex may not be the same and the neighbors may not be the same. Talk to the residents before you sign the lease to see how the landlord treats them.
Signing the Lease
When you sign the lease, read it over very carefully or have an attorney look at the lease for you. You need to understand the term of the lease, the rent amount, all the fees that will be due and you need to understand that in most instances, if you lose your job, you are still liable for the rent. Non payment of rent is not the only way a landlord can evict you. If you break the rules, bring in people who are not on the lease, bring in pets or break any other part of the lease, you can be evicted.
Pointers and Advice
Get renters insurance!!! It is not expensive and it will be well worth to protect your personal belongings.
Conduct a written move in inspection and get a copy of the inspection.
The landlords failure to repair does not excuse you from paying rent.
If you are having issues with the landlord, send written letters or e mails to document the issues. Consider contacting the board of health or the local authorities if there are sanitary, mold or health issues.
Do a final walk though when you vacate and get a copy of the final walk through list. Return the keys and get a receipt that you have done so.
Foreclosure of the Property
Recent changes to the law protect the tenant in the event the home they are renting is foreclosed. The tenant, for the most part, will get at least 90 days in the property, after the foreclosure and may have the right to stay for the remainder of the term, even if its more than 90 days. However, there are exceptions so if you are in this situation, you may want to contact an attorney. If the party that buys the house in foreclosure says you have to leave at once, be aware that you do not, and more importantly, Georgia does not allow any landlord to evict a residential tenant without filing a dispossessory.