Georgia Eviction Process

Georgia Eviction Process

Last Updated: August 19, 2022 by Elizabeth Souza

Steps of the eviction process in Georgia:

  1. Landlord serves tenant written notice.
  2. Landlord files complaint with court (if unresolved).
  3. Answer is filed.
  4. Court holds hearing and issues judgment.
  5. Writ of possession is issued.
  6. Possession of property is returned to landlord.

Evicting a tenant in Georgia can take around one to three months, depending on the type of eviction and whether tenants file an answer. If an appeal is filed, the process will take longer.

Questions? To chat with a Georgia eviction attorney, click here

Georgia Eviction Grounds on iPropertyManagement.com

Grounds for an Eviction in Georgia

In Georgia, a landlord cannot legally evict a tenant without cause. Legal grounds to evict include not paying rent on time, staying after the lease ends, violating lease terms or not upholding responsibilities under Georgia law. Even so, proper notice must first be given before ending the tenancy.

Grounds Notice Period Curable?
Nonpayment of Rent No Statute Maybe
End of / No Lease 60 Days No
Lease Violation No Statute Maybe

Eviction for Nonpayment of Rent

In Georgia, a landlord can evict a tenant for not paying rent on time. To do so, they must first provide verbal or written notice to vacate the premises.

Georgia law doesn’t specify how much notice must be given to the tenant; however, it’s common practice to provide the tenant with at least a 3 days’ notice.

However, a tenant can stop the eviction process if they pay rent in full (plus all late fees and court costs) within 7 days of receiving the eviction paperwork (i.e., summons) from the court.

Unless the lease states otherwise, rent is due at the beginning of each pay period and is considered late in Georgia the day immediately after its due date. So for example, if rent is due on the first of the month, it is considered late starting on the second of the month (if not paid in full). There is no right to a legal grace period (i.e., five days) or exceptions for weekends or court-observed holidays.

Once rent is past due, the landlord must provide verbal or written notice to the tenant prior to beginning an eviction action.

Eviction for No Lease or End of Lease

In Georgia, a landlord can evict a tenant without a lease or with a lease that has ended (known as a “holdover tenant” or “tenant at will”). To do so, they must first terminate the tenancy by giving proper notice to move out (60 days for tenants that pay month-to-month).

Once the tenancy ends, if the tenant remains on the property, the landlord can move forward and file an eviction lawsuit.

Eviction for Violation of Lease Terms or Responsibilities

In Georgia, a landlord can evict a tenant for violating the terms of their lease or not upholding their responsibilities under Georgia landlord-tenant law. Landlords are not required to allow tenants to correct a lease violation in these instances, but they must provide tenants with a written notice prior to beginning an eviction action.

A notice period is not specified at the state level; however, if the tenant remains on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.

Tenant responsibilities include:

  • Not damaging the property.
  • Not cutting or destroying growing trees.
  • Not removing permanent fixtures.

Typical lease violations under this category include:

  • Damaging the rental property.
  • Removing trees.
  • Removing fixtures.
warning

Illegal Evictions in Georgia

In Georgia, any of the below is illegal. If found liable, the landlord could be required to pay the tenant an amount equal to one month’s rent, plus $500, court costs, and reasonable attorneys’ fees.

“Self-Help” Evictions

No matter the situation, a landlord is not allowed to forcibly remove a tenant by:

  • Changing the locks.
  • Shutting off utilities.
  • Removing tenant belongings.

A tenant can only be legally removed with a court order obtained through the formal eviction process.

Retaliatory Evictions

It is illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant in response to exercising a legally protected right. These rights include:

  • Complaining about habitability issues to the landlord or governmental entity.
  • Filing a complaint to a government authority.
  • Joining a tenant’s union or organization.

Eviction notice posted on iPropertyManagement.com

Step 1: Landlord Serves Notice to Tenant

A landlord can begin the eviction process in Georgia by serving the tenant with written or verbal notice. Georgia law doesn’t specify how an eviction notice must be delivered at the state level; however, it’s common practice to provide the tenant with a written notice through one of the following methods:

  1. Giving a copy to the tenant in person.
  2. Leaving a copy at the tenant’s residence with an adult who lives there.
  3. Mailing a copy via first class mail.
  4. Posting a copy in a conspicuous place on the rental unit and mailing a copy via first class mail with a return receipt.

It is important for a landlord to always maintain a copy of the signed and served notice as proof of proper service of notice. 

Notice to Quit for Nonpayment of Rent

If a tenant is late on paying rent (full or partial) in Georgia, the landlord can serve them a Notice to Quit for Nonpayment of Rent. Georgia law doesn’t specify a notice period; however, it is common practice to give at least 3 days’ notice.

Note, if a tenant pays rent in full (plus late fees and court costs) within 7 calendar days after the court issues a summons, the eviction process will stop.

60-Day Notice to Quit

For a tenant with no lease or a month-to-month lease in Georgia, the landlord must serve them a 60-Day Notice to Quit to end the tenancy. This eviction notice allows the tenant 60 calendar days to move out.

For tenants that don’t pay monthly, notice is not required.

Notice to Quit for Non-Compliance

In Georgia, if a tenant commits a violation of the terms of their lease or legal responsibilities as a tenant, the landlord can serve them a Notice to Quit for Non-Compliance. Georgia law doesn’t specify a notice period; however, it is common practice to give at least 3 days’ notice.

Questions? To chat with a Georgia eviction attorney, click here

Eviction Complaint Filed on iPropertyManagement.com

Step 2: Landlord Files Lawsuit with Court

As the next step in the eviction process, Georgia landlords must file a dispossessory affidavit or warrant in the appropriate court. In the state of Georgia, the filing fees range from $60-$75.

A judge, clerk, deputy clerk of the magistrate court may issue the summons and affidavit. These documents must be served on the tenant by the Sheriff or process server; prior to the hearing through one of the following methods:

  1. Giving a copy to the tenant in person;
  2. Leaving a copy at the tenant’s residence with an adult who lives there; or
  3. After reasonable effort, it may be served by posting a copy in a conspicuous place on the rental unit AND mailing a copy via first class mail.

Tenants who are being evicted for nonpayment of rent will have 7 days after the date they received the summons to pay all past-due rent in full in order to avoid eviction.

Clock   on iPropertyManagement.com A few days to a few weeks. Georgia law doesn’t state how quickly the summons must be served on the tenant once the affidavit is filed with the court.

Eviction Answer Filed on iPropertyManagement.com

Step 3: Answer is Filed

Tenants in Georgia must respond to the summons and affidavit either in writing or verbally within 7 days of the date summons was issued. If a tenant gives a verbal response, it must be written down on a copy of the affidavit.

If the tenant does not respond to the affidavit, the court will issue a default judgment in favor of the landlord, and the tenant will not be allowed to go to a court hearing.

If the tenant does answer the affidavit, the court will schedule a hearing and the tenant will be allowed to explain why they feel they should not be evicted.

Clock   on iPropertyManagement.com7 days. Tenants have seven days after the date the summons is issued to file a written answer or give a verbal response to the affidavit.

Eviction Court Hearing on iPropertyManagement.com

Step 4: Court Holds Hearing & Issues Judgment

Georgia law doesn’t specify how soon an eviction hearing must be held after an affidavit is filed with the court or after a tenant’s response is received by the court. It will depend on how busy the trial court’s hearing schedule is.

If the tenant does not appear for the hearing, or does not respond to the complaint, the court will issue a default judgment in favor of the landlord and the tenant will be required to move out.

If the judicial officer rules in favor of the landlord at the eviction hearing, a writ of possession will be issued, and the eviction will proceed.

Tenants have 7 days to appeal the judgment in order to avoid eviction.

Clock   on iPropertyManagement.com A few days to a few weeks, depending on the court’s schedule and whether the ruling is appealed.

Eviction Writ of Possession on iPropertyManagement.com

Step 5: Writ of Possession Is Issued

The writ of possession is the tenant’s final notice to leave the rental unit and allows them the opportunity to remove their belongings before the sheriff returns to the property to forcibly remove them.

If the court has ruled in the landlord’s favor, the landlord will ask the court to issue a writ of possession. The writ will be issued 7 days after the judgment in favor of the landlord.

If the tenant remains in the rental unit after the writ is issued, possession of the rental unit will be forcibly returned to the landlord.

Clock   on iPropertyManagement.com7 days. The writ of possession will be issued seven days after the judgment in favor of the landlord.

Eviction property possession returned on iPropertyManagement.com

Step 6: Possession of Property is Returned

Georgia law doesn’t state how quickly a sheriff or constable is required to act on a writ of possession once it has been received from the court. It could take officers a few days to a few weeks to remove the tenant depending on how many other evictions are already scheduled.

Questions? To chat with a Georgia eviction attorney, click here

Georgia Eviction Process Timeline

In Georgia, an eviction can be completed in 1 to 3 months but can take longer depending on the reason for eviction, whether the eviction is contested, which days courts are (or aren’t) in session and other various possible delays.

Below are the parts of the Georgia eviction process outside the control of landlords for cases that go uncontested.

Step Estimated Time
Initial Notice Period ~60 Calendar Days
Court Issuing Summons ~3-21 Business Days
Court Serving Summons ~3-21 Business Days
Tenant Response Period 7 Business Days
Court Ruling ~3-21 Business Days
Court Serving Writ of Possession 7 Business Days
Final Notice Period ~3-21 Business Days

Flowchart of Georgia Eviction Process

Georgia Eviction Process Flowchart on iPropertyManagement.com

For additional questions about the eviction process in Georgia, please refer to the official legislation, Georgia Code §44-7-7, §44-7-18, and §44-7-50 to 44-7-55 for more information.

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