LISTEN: Georgia housing advocates from around the state are organizing to get more legal protections for tenants. GPB’s Amanda Andrews explains they’re starting with a town hall this Saturday.

As rent rises, a group of Georgia housing advocates are working to establish more legal protections for tenants facing eviction.

The event is called “Rent Control Now.” The Housing Justice League is co-hosting it with community leaders from Albany, Columbus, Savannah and Valdosta.

Tenants will share housing issues they’re seeing in their communities as well as solutions to fight displacement. League Executive Director Alison Johnson said their goal is to create a tenant's bill of rights advocating for rent control.

“Georgia must repeal the ban that it has on rent control,” she said. “So many of our families have been pushed out of the city because neighborhoods have been gentrified, development has happened and rents have just soared.”

A bill to remove Georgia’s long ban on rent control stalled in the state’s last legislative session but could return in 2024.

In addition to rent control, housing advocates are focused on three major tenant protections: access to counsel during eviction, establishing a dedicated tenant advocates office, and the right to cure. Johnson explains the right to cure would give renters notice and a chance to pay rent before eviction is filed.

“Right now, tenants only have like seven days after an eviction filing to basically cure or make good on the nonpayment of their rent,” Johnson said. “But most of them end up paying out like high court costs or administrative fees. And then they have like an eviction filing record that will follow them.”

The town hall will be hosted at Neighborhood Church this Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. More town hall meetings are planned in coming months including a statewide renters assembly Nov. 10 through Nov. 12 in Atlanta.