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Read further to learn more about the eviction process in Georgia and how many days’ notice are required in which situations.
What’s an Eviction Notice?
An eviction notice is a legal form of disclosure that lets a tenant know that they are in clear violation of their lease agreement, and either need to correct the issue or vacate the premises. If the tenant fails to take action after proper legal notice is given, the landlord may evict the tenant. When a landlord provides written legal notice to a tenant to correct a violation of the lease agreement, it is referred to as a “Notice to Quit.”
In Georgia, it’s important to have tenants that adhere to the letter of the lease agreement so that the landlord can have a smooth-running property. If a tenant has a tendency to be in violation of this agreement, then the owner has the option to pursue an eviction via legal proceedings. These are useful because they can allow a tenant to provide a remedy to the negative situation, and if this isn’t provided, then a more compliant renter can be obtained for the landlord.
The document needed to be filed is called a “Notice to Quit,” and by filing one, the renter will be required to attend a court date to resolve the issue. Some reasons that one of these may be filed can include the tenant not paying rent in a timely fashion or a tenant violating the terms of the lease by having a pet living in a non-pet-friendly property or causing disturbances on a regular basis. It’s critical to understand that once one of these notices goes out that the tenant can opt to cure the issue so that they will not be forced to leave the premises. That being said, if no remedy is provided, then the landlord may file a Writ of Possession to gain back possession of the property.
In the following sections, information will be presented to help landlords navigate the process of eviction in the state of Georgia. All steps will be outlined that will help a landlord begin the Notice to Quit process and progress all the way through to full eviction.
When is Rent Considered Late by the State of Georgia?
Like many other states, Georgia considers rent late after the date in which it is due. In most cases, this means that after the second day of the month, rent is late, but this can vary dependent on the date of the lease signing and the landlord’s needs. In the state of Georgia, it’s suggested that landlords don’t tack on a late fee until at least three days have passed, and late fees should be limited to less than five percent of the rent value.
Types of Eviction Notices
For those looking to evict, there are two types of Notice to Quit forms that can be filed in the state of Georgia. There’s the standard Immediate Day Notice to Quit (Non-Payment) and the 30-Day Month-to-Month Notice to Quit. Here’s a rundown of how each works:
An Immediate Day Notice to Quit (Non-Payment)
In many states, there are three and 10-day notices that you can file, but in Georgia, there is no set time frame for how long an owner must wait after serving an eviction notice. Having stated that, it’s common throughout the state for landlords to provide at least a three-day notice so that the tenant either complies or vacates the premises for good.
A Month-to-Month Notice to Quit
Not every tenant has a standard lease agreement with their landlord. Sometimes, they have a month-to-month lease. This is designed to grant the landlord and the tenant a little wiggle room when it comes to ending the lease without having to wait for a traditional lease term to expire. A Notice to Quit is designed to give the tenant a notice that the landlord doesn’t intend to renew the lease. In the state of Georgia, this type of notice must be provided 30 days before the proposed move out date.
If a landlord intends to move forward with the eviction process, then there are Georgia laws that they must always comply with. It’s also critical that a landlord ensures that they have read the lease thoroughly to ensure that the Notice to Quit complies with all of the termination terms that were established when the lease was written. After verifying that the eviction process is valid, the landlord will then need to provide either of the previously mentioned Notices to Quit.
In Georgia, there’s no need for a process server but an agent may be used to verify delivery. Once it’s received, the tenant will have the choice of correcting the behavior that violated the terms of the lease or vacating the premises. If the tenant does fail to respond, then the landlord can file a dispossessory action with the local magistrate court of the county in which the property rests.
Once the action has been filed, the landlord will also have to use a dispossessory affidavit. On the affidavit, the name and address of the tenant must be recorded. In addition to this, the reason that the landlord is seeking dispossession must also be demarcated. Finally, the landlord will have to certify that this notice has been provided to the tenant with the intent to have the tenant vacate.
Once this affidavit is complete, a dispossessory warrant will be served by the sheriff or another approved serving individual/agency. Once this has been served, the tenant will have seven days to respond with an answer form, which is the final chance for the tenant to correct the issues outlined in the Notice to Quit. Finally, if the tenant once again fails to respond, then the landlord may obtain a Writ of Possession, which will legally grant the landlord possession of the premises via the sheriff.
How to Write a Notice to Quit
When first creating a Notice to Quit, it’s absolutely essential that a landlord has everything covered so that the notice is in compliance with Georgia state law. This means that the notice will entail all of the pertinent info about the tenant and property with a high degree of accuracy. Here are a few steps to take:
Consult the Original Lease
Even for month-to-month leases, it’s critical to take a look at the original lease agreement to verify that the tenant has indeed run afoul of the original document. Next, a copy should be created of the lease so that all of the pertinent information is available. All of the pertinent information provided therein must be exactly the same on the notice.
A Clear Demarcation of the Recipient of the Notice
Using a blank line, the landlord will need to identify the recipient of the Notice to Quit. It’s essential that the name and contact information is transcribed exactly as it appears on the original lease agreement.
Establishment the Property Location
Utilizing three blank spaces, the landlord must next identify the property location. This includes the building number, street, apartment number, city, county, and the zip code where the property is located.
Define the Rental Agreement
A landlord should also provide information from the original lease so that there’s a visual record. This record will illustrate that the tenant is in violation of the original terms. It’s crucial that the signing date as well as the signature be easily readable as identifiers for the document.
Define the Reason for the Notice
This section is very important for a landlord. This establishes the reason for the Notice to Quit, and as a result, there should be four checkboxes that clearly demarcate this information. The first checkbox should say, “Nonpayment,” and following this, the document should state that the unpaid rent should be paid immediately as it is due immediately. Effectively, this section will give the tent the option to make the account current or quit the property immediately. In this section, the identity of any agent that is authorized to receive the undersigned amount may also be included.
The second checkbox is designed to be used for tenants that may be current with rent but have violated the terms of the lease in some other way. This can include threatening neighbors or building staff, keeping animals in a non-pet-friendly property, or smoking on non-smoking-friendly premises. This section can be named, “Noncompliance,” and the tenant will have the option to become compliant in some way before the need to vacate the premises.
The third and final checkboxes are for month-to-month renters. The third one is exclusively for the landlord, and is available if the owner is looking to terminate the lease. 30-day notice is required, and the date that the month-to-month agreement ends must be clearly stated. This section should immediately identify the lessor with text stating, “I am your landlord, and this is the tenants official notice that their lease shall be terminated on the…”
The next checkbox, which is the fourth, is for tenants that are looking to inform their landlord that they are vacating the premises. Similarly to the other checkbox, the termination date of the lease is required.
Finally, at the base of the form, the landlord must sign his or her name on a blank line. Additionally, an authorized agent of the landlord may also sign the document in the same way. For this section, the signature can include a proviso that states that the landlord is seeking the forfeiture of the lease if there is further noncompliance.