Landlords should familiarize themselves with the statewide rules and procedures that govern evictions in the state of Georgia and understand their responsibilities.
Quick Facts for Georgia
- Grounds for Eviction: Failure to pay rent, failure to vacate by lease end, lease violations
- Notice Required for Nonpayment of Rent: Notice to Pay Rent, effective as early as 1 day after rent is due
- Notice Required to Terminate without Cause: 60 Days’ Notice (for month-to-month tenant), none required for fixed-term agreements
- Notice Required for Lease Violations: Notice to Remedy, with length of time depending on landlord
- Fastest a Landlord Can Evict for Illegal Acts: Immediately (via Dispossessory Proceeding), in select cases
- Duration for Tenant to Appeal Eviction Ruling: Within 7 days of court decision
How Long Does it Take to Evict a Tenant in Georgia?
If you have experience dealing with eviction issues, you will quickly find that though there are many similarities between how an eviction progresses in the state of Georgia and in other states. However, you will also find that there are some clear differences. There are details that are not clearly defined in the laws regarding the eviction process in Georgia. Because landlords have more leeway in regards to the details surrounding eviction, in Georgia the process may run to completion more quickly than it tends to in many other states.
Despite the lack of clarity in some details surrounding eviction in the state of Georgia, the eviction process continues to be a multi-step process. Therefore, the time required to navigate the eviction process remains difficult to pinpoint. The amount of time it takes to evict a tenant may be extended if the tenant consistently opposes the landlord’s efforts to regain control of the rental property.
Reasons for Eviction in Georgia
In the state of Georgia, there are three basic reasons for a landlord to seek an eviction. These include:
- Failure to pay rent
- Failure to leave the property at the end of the lease
- Violation of the terms of the lease or rental agreement
Eviction for Failure to Pay Rent
In the state of Georgia, a landlord may present his/her tenant with notice to pay rent and informing of his/her intention to pursue an eviction as soon as the day after the unpaid rent is due. If the tenant refuses to pay the rent in full when requested by the landlord to do so, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process by filing a Dispossessory Proceeding with the court (G.C.A. 44-7-50).
Eviction if Rent has Been Paid
If there is no written lease, a landlord may seek to have a tenant removed regardless of whether or not rent is paid on time. However, the landlord is required to provide notice of his desire to have the tenant vacate the rental property before proceeding with the eviction process so long as there is a month-to-month rental agreement. If there is a fixed term tenancy agreement, the landlord may expect the tenant to remove themselves at the end of the established term with no notice.
Evicting a Tenant For Violation of Rental Agreement/Lease
When a tenant has violated a lease or rental agreement, in the state of Georgia, the landlord is required to provide the tenant notice to remedy the situation. However, the Georgia statutes provide no guidance as to the amount of time a landlord must provide for his/her tenant. The landlord is within his/her right to provide as little as 24 hours for the tenant to remedy the situation at hand or leave the property (G.C.A. 44-7-50).
Evicting a Tenant for Illegal Behavior
In the state of Georgia, evicting a tenant for illegal behavior is handled like any other violation of the lease or rental agreement. The landlord is required to provide the tenant with time to correct this issue at hand and/or leave the property.
The only time the landlord is allowed to begin the eviction process with no notice, in the state of Georgia, is when the tenant has failed to pay rent one time previously within the last 12 months or when the tenant has stayed beyond the end of a fixed-term rental agreement or lease. In these instances, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process immediately by filing a Dispossessory Proceeding with the court (G.C.A. 44-7-50).
The landlord may proceed with the eviction process within as little as 24 hours. At the end of the time indicated on the notice, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process by filing a Dispossessory Proceeding with the court (G.C.A. 44-7-50).
How Does a Landlord Evict a Tenant When There is no Lease?
When there is no lease in play, a landlord is required to provide 60-Day’s Notice to a month-to-month tenant (G.C.A. 44-7-7). If the tenant has a fixed-term agreement with their landlord, the landlord must wait until the end of the agreed upon term before he/she can expect the tenant to move. However, the landlord is required to provide no notice at the end of this term before proceeding with the eviction process. He/she may proceed with the eviction process by filing a Dispossessory Proceeding with the court (G.C.A. 44-7-50) as early as the day after the term has ended.
When Can a Tenant Not Be Evicted in Georgia?
In the state of Georgia, it is illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant based on his/her religion, gender, race, nation of origin, familial status, or disability status.
Once a Dispossessory Proceeding is Filed
A Dispossessory Affidavit is filed when the landlord, or his/her attorney, makes a request in the court for the return of possession of the rental property. The landlord may present the court with a written request for outstanding rent and the cost of filing the court action at the same time.
If eviction is sought for failure to pay rent, the tenant has seven days from the date he/she receives the court summons to pay all outstanding rent and the cost of filing. If the tenant makes good on the rent, the landlord is required to accept the payment unless this has already occurred within the past 12 months.
A law enforcement officer will serve the Dispossessory Affidavit. If the tenant isn’t available at the property, the officer may proceed with a process referred to as Tack and Mail Service. In this case, a copy of the affidavit is attached to the door of the property and a second copy is mailed to the last known address for the tenant. The Tack and Mail Service must be completed on the same day.
The tenant may respond to a summons in writing or by going to court. If the tenant responds within seven days, the court will schedule a court hearing. The hearing must occur within 10 days of the tenant’s response. If no response is made, the court will make a default ruling in favor of the landlord.
Once Eviction Occurs
If the court rules in favor of the landlord, the tenant has 10 days to vacate the rental property. Should the tenant continue to refuse to vacate the property, the sheriff may forcibly evict the tenant.
The losing party in an eviction proceeding may appeal a ruling within 7 days of the court’s decision. At this point, the case will be placed on the court calendar. If a jury trial is desired, by either party, the request must be made within 30 days of the appeal filing. If the tenant wishes to remain on the property while the appeal is in process, he/she will need to make payments to the court for the amount of rent owed as it comes due (G.C.A. 44-7-56).
After seven days, the county marshal’s department may be called upon to supervise the landlord in removing a tenant’s belongings that were left behind after an eviction. The state of Georgia has no requirements for the storage of property left at the rental unit after an eviction (G.C.A. 44-7-55). Therefore, the landlord has no responsibility for the care or disposal of the tenant’s remaining property.
Make sure to read the Ga. Code Ann. §§ 44-7-14.1, 44-7-50, 44-7-52, as well as the Georgia Landlord-Tenant Handbook before starting the eviction process. Landlords should make sure to educate themselves on their rights and responsibilities on this topic.