Landlords have the right to evict their tenants should the tenants fail to uphold the terms of the lease. Common lease violations in the state of Georgia include nonpayment of rent, failure to uphold the lease terms, and failure to move out after the end of their lease term.

Georgia, just like every other state, requires landlords follow the judicial eviction process under the landlord tenant laws. Meaning, it would be illegal for a landlord to shut down their tenant’s utilities, remove their belongings from the unit, or lock them out. In other words, a landlord cannot take an eviction into their own hands.

Understanding these laws is critical to the success of a Georgia landlord, which is why we at Liberty Real Estate has put together the following article. Covering everything a landlord need to know when it comes to the tenant eviction process in Georgia.

Step #1: Provide Legal Grounds

To start the Georgia eviction process, a landlord must have a legal reason to evict a tenant according to Georgia eviction laws. In other words, a landlord cannot arbitrarily decide their no longer want to rent to their tenant. Under Georgia law, legal justifications to evict a tenant include the following.

  • Failure by the tenant to pay rent on time.
  • Failure by the tenant to move out at the end of the lease term.
  • Violation of the terms of the lease by the tenant.

georgia eviction notice

Step #2: Terminate the Lease Agreement

According to Georgia law, once a landlord has the legal justification to remove their tenant, the next step in the eviction process is to terminate the lease. The only way to do this is by serving the tenant with an eviction notice.

Basically, an eviction notice tells a tenant what they must correct within a certain date to avoid a possible eviction. So, a landlord must serve them the proper notice, if they don’t, their tenant may use that as justification to delay their eviction.

Bare in mind, that if a landlord has charged their tenant a security deposit, they may have to resolve this once they have terminated the lease agreement.

The following are the legal reasons for eviction in Georgia and the appropriate written eviction notice to serve.

Nonpayment of Rent

Unlike most other states, Georgia law doesn’t specify how much written notice a tenant must be given if they fail to pay rent. However, it’s a common practice for landlords to provide their renters with at least a 3 days’ notice.

If the tenant pays the due rent within the 3 days, then a landlord must stop further Georgia eviction proceedings against them. However, if they don’t, then the landlord can move to court and file the eviction lawsuit.

Failure to Move Out

A tenant who stays longer than the term of the rental agreement is known as a “holdover” tenant. To evict such a tenant, a landlord must first terminate their tenancy by serving the tenant a written notice. For tenants paying rent on a monthly basis, the landlord must serve them a 60 days’ advance notice.

If they continue staying after the notice period, you, the landlord, can move to court and seek their help with the Georgia eviction process.

Violating the Rental Agreement

A landlord can also evict a tenant who violates a term of the rental agreement. In such cases, the state of Georgia doesn’t require landlords to allow tenants to correct the lease violation committed.

Even so, a landlord still must serve the tenant an advance notice prior to moving to court. A landlord is free to offer whatever written notice period they feel comfortable with, as the state is yet to legislate in this regard. Typical lease violations that fall under this category include excessive property damage, destruction of trees, and removal of permanent fixtures.

The following are the typical methods that landlords in Georgia use to serve eviction notices to their tenants.

  • Serving a copy of the notice to the tenant in person.
  • Leaving a copy with an adult occupant in the absence of the tenant.
  • Mailing a copy to the tenant via first class mail.
  • Leaving a copy in a conspicuous area on the property. For example, on the front door of the rental unit.

signing a lease agreement

Step #3: File An Eviction Lawsuit

If the notice period ends and the tenant hasn’t moved out, a landlord can move to court and file, what the courts refer to as a “dispossessory affidavit”. The fees for filing this document typically range between $60 and $75.

After successful filing, the court’s clerk will then hand over the summons and affidavit to a process server for onward service to the tenant. The service must be done in any of the following ways.

  • Giving a copy of the summons to the tenant in person.
  • Leaving a copy with an adult occupant in the absence of the tenant.
  • Posting a copy of the summons at a conspicuous area on the rental unit AND mailing another copy via first class mail.

Step #4: Awaiting an Eviction Hearing and Judgement

After being served with the summons, the tenant will have 7 days to offer a response. They can do so either verbally or in writing. If the tenant does so, the following are some defenses they may give the court.

  • The eviction was in retaliation to the tenant exercising their right. Such as, reporting you to a relevant government agency due to failure to make repairs to the unit.
  • The eviction was on the basis of the tenant’s color, race, religion, nationality, or any other protected class.
  • The eviction notice had errors.
  • The tenant corrected the violation but you still went on ahead to evict them.

If the tenant doesn’t appear for the hearing or fails to offer a response to the complaint, the court will issue a judgment in your favor. Meaning, the court will issue you, the landlord, with a writ of possession.
The tenant will have a maximum of 7 days to file an appeal.


Step #5: Remove the Tenant from the Property

The writ of possession is the tenant’s final notice to vacate the unit. It’s normally issued 7 days after a successful judgment against a tenant. It gives the sheriff the right to forcefully evict a tenant from a rental unit.

Bottom Line

Liberty Real Estate Services is a quality property management company in Hinesville. We can help you experience the benefits of owning an investment property, less the stress that is associated with managing it. If you have questions about rental laws, Georgia security deposit law, or if you need help evicting a tenant, we're here to help.

Disclaimer: This blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state. Laws change, and this post might not be updated at the time of your reading. Please contact us for any questions you have in regard to this content or any other aspect of your property management needs.