My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: Georgia
(First of all, sorry for the long-winded post.)
I have some legal questions about a situation that I have run into with my landlord. I have been renting a room in a house located in Fulton County, Georgia since August 2009. When I moved in, my two roommates had previously signed a lease that went through July 2010. I moved in with the understanding that I was entering into a month-to-month agreement and that I could move out at any time so long as I gave 30 days notice. I was never added to the lease, and never signed any kind of written agreement. I informed my landlord on January 7 that I was giving my 30 days notice and intended to move out in February. I asked to confirm that I would receive my security deposit once I moved out, and he said that I would. I spoke to him again two days later and he claimed that since the lease with my roommates (which I never saw nor signed) was not up until July, he was really not obligated to give me back my security deposit until 30 days after then.
Does he have any legal standing here, considering I was never on that lease? I've done a bit of research about the state landlord/tenant laws and I don’t believe that he does. Since there was never a written agreement in my name, it my understanding that I am considered a "tenant-at-will" under § 44-7-6 of the Georgia code. Then, § 44-7-7 states that:
"Sixty days' notice from the landlord or 30 days' notice from the tenant is necessary to terminate a tenancy at will."
It is my understanding from reading the Georgia Tenant/Landlord Handbook that all other tenant/landlord laws with regards to security deposits, etc. still applies. § 44-7-34 of the Georgia code states that:
“Except as otherwise provided in this article, within one month after the termination of the residential lease or the surrender and acceptance of the premises, whichever occurs last, a landlord shall return to the tenant the full security deposit which was deposited with the landlord by the tenant.”
Since I do not have a lease of any kind, it is my understanding the he is legally required to return my security deposit within 30 days of moving out, so long as I have given proper notice. Is this correct?
I have since run into a second issue with my landlord. I got a call from one of my roommates today saying that he has spoken to the landlord and he says that in order to get my security deposit back, I would be required to pay the full month's rent for February, since I gave notice on January 7th. He claims that, by law, 30 days notice is supposed to be given on the first of the month. The aforementioned law (§ 44-7-7) says nothing about when the notice has to be given and I have not found anything that would indicate that that is the case. It is my understanding, then, that once I have given him 30 days notice, I am only financially liable for the rent for those 30 days. As I have already paid the full rent for January, I had intended to prorate the rent for February to cover those days that I would actually be living here. Legally speaking, am I in the clear to prorate the rent to cover those 7 days in February and expect my security deposit back, bearing in the mind that we do not have a written lease/agreement?
Thank you in advance for any advice on the situation.