When you are done reading about the Georgia Eviction Process below, we recommend you purchase the corresponding Georgia Eviction Notice to be delivered to your Tenant.
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Georgia Eviction Laws
The foundation of the Georgia Landlord Tenant and Eviction Laws are found in the Title 44 Chapter 7 of the Georgia Code. If you are a Georgia Landlord, it is a good idea to review these laws and be familiar with them.
Grounds for Eviction in Georgia
In the State of Georgia, a tenant can be evicted for one of three reasons:
- Failure to Pay Rent
- Lease Violations
- Failure to Give Back the Property at the end of the lease term
Serving the Georgia Eviction Notice
The first step in the Georgia Eviction Process is serving the tenant with an Eviction Notice, called a Demand for Possession orNotice to Quit in Georgia. To evict a tenant for non-payment of rent, for lease violations, or for staying beyond the lease term, the Georgia Code does not give a specific notice period. It simply says that before the landlord can sue the tenant for possession of the property, the landlord must demand that the tenant immediately give up possession. This Demand for Possession is also called a Notice to Quit. It should be in writing and should be delivered to the tenant in a way that the landlord can prove it was actually delivered. If after demand for possession is made, and the tenant has not either surrendered possession or fixed the problem, the landlord must go to the local magistrate court and file a Dispossessory Affidavit.
The dispossessory affidavit is a document where the landlord swears under oath the facts of the case, and asks the court to help evict the tenant. The court that handles evictions for the landlord’s property will usually have dispossessory affidavit forms that the landlord can fill out and file. For example the Magistrate Court of Fulton County Georgia has an affidavit available for download on their website. There will be a filing fee associated with it. The affidavit states the name of the landlord and tenant, the reason for the eviction, that the landlord demanded possession of the property and that possession was refused, the amount of rent owed (if applicable). When the dispossessory affidavit is filed with the court, the court will issue what is called a summons.
Summons (Dispossessory Warrant)
Upon filing the affidavit the court will prepare a Summons (also called a dispossessory warrant) and direct the local sheriff to deliver the summons to the tenant. The summons will be either (1) hand delivered to the tenant, (2) delivered to an adult who resides at the home with the tenant, or (3) tacked to the door AND sent certified mail. The summons is what tells the tenant that they are being sued for eviction. It gives them 7 days to answer the summons and tells them where to answer it. If the eviction is for non-payment of rent, Georgia law allows the tenant to pay the rent plus late fees and court costs before the 7 days is up, and the case will be dismissed.
Default or Trial
If the tenant fails to answer the Summons, which is common, then the landlord wins by default. The court will issue the landlord a Writ of Possession, which will allow the sheriff to physically remove the tenant if necessary (see below). If the tenant answers the summons within the 7 day time period, then the court will set a trial date. While the trial is pending, the landlord can request the court to order the tenant to pay rent into the court registry. At the trial, the landlord needs to present all the evidence on why the tenant should be evicted. The landlord should bring documents and witnesses in order to prove their case. If the court rules for the landlord, a Writ of Possession will be issued. If the landlord has requested a Writ of Possession AND an award for back rent, it is important to note that the court will not issue an award of back rent if the Summons to the tenant was served by tacking it to the door and mailing it to the tenant.
Writ of Possession
The Writ of Possession says that the landlord is legally entitled to possession of the property. It gives the tenant 7 days to move out of the property, or else the sheriff will come over and physically remove them. During this 7 day period, the tenant can file an appeal from the trial court to a higher court. If this happens, the landlord can ask the court to order the tenant to pay rent into the court registry.
Next Step: We recommend you purchase the corresponding Georgia Eviction Notice to be delivered to your Tenant.
This site strives to have the most current information on state eviction laws and forms, however, legislatures and judges’ rulings are always changing the laws. The information on this site is to be used as a guide, and is not to be used as legal advice, or as a substitute for the advice of an attorney. If you believe any information on this site is incorrect or needs to be updated, please Contact Us immediately.