Landlords have the right to evict their tenants should the tenants fail to uphold the terms of the lease agreement. Common lease violations in the state of Georgia include nonpayment of rent, failure to uphold the 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 you to shut down your tenant’s utilities, remove their belongings from the unit, or lock them out. In other words, you cannot take an eviction into your 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 you need to know when it comes to the tenant eviction process in Georgia.

Step #1: Provide Legal Grounds

You must have a legal reason to evict a tenant in Georgia. In other words, you cannot arbitrarily decide you no longer want to rent to your tenant. Under Georgia law, legal grounds 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 agreement by the tenant.

georgia eviction notice

Step #2: Terminate the Lease Agreement

Once you have the legal justification to remove your tenant, the next step is to terminate the lease agreement. 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, you must serve them the correct notice, if you don’t, your tenant may use that as justification to delay their eviction.

Bare in mind, that if you have charged your tenant a security deposit, you may have to resolve this once you have terminated the lease agreement.

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

Nonpayment of Rent

Unlike most other states, Georgia doesn’t specify how much notice a tenant must be given. However, it’s a common practice for landlords to provide their tenants with at least a 3 days’ notice.

If the tenant pays the due rent within the 3 days, then you must stop further eviction proceedings against them. However, if they don’t, then you can move to court and file for their removal.

Failure to Move Out

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

If they continue staying after the notice period, you can move to court and seek their help.

Violating the Lease

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

Even so, you still must serve the tenant an advance notice prior to moving to court. You’re free to offer whatever notice period you 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 property.

signing a lease agreement

Step #3: File A Lawsuit

If the notice period ends and the tenant hasn’t moved out, you 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 property AND mailing another copy via first class mail.

Step #4: Awaiting 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 with a writ of possession.
The tenant will have a maximum of 7 days to file an appeal.

courtroom

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.

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.