Renter protections signed into Georgia law

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

A new Georgia law protects renters from being evicted for complaining about problems like mold, rats and bugs.

Gov. Brian Kemp signed the measure, House Bill 346, into law Wednesday.

Supporters say it empowers renters to remain in their homes and punishes landlords who don't fix housing problems.

Under the new law, landlords who wrongfully try to evict tenants are responsible for paying them one month’s rent, plus $500 and legal costs.

"This is giving people who are in the worst circumstances just a little bit of standing," said state Rep. Sharon Cooper, a Republican from Marietta who sponsored the bill. "It sends a message that we're not going to tolerate" unhealthy housing conditions.

Georgia joins 41 other states with similar laws against retaliatory evictions.