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A Guide to the Eviction Process in Atlanta, GA

A Guide to the Eviction Process in Atlanta, GA
eviction header Maintaining a good relationship with your tenants is important as satisfied tenants are more likely to stay in your property long-term. But when they do not perform their responsibilities, as tenants, properly it can create a huge problem for your rental business. Having to deal with problematic tenants and complaints is one of the things that landlords dread. Bad tenants are some who do not pay their rent on time and deliberately damage the rental unit. Sometimes, they also cause trouble with the neighbors and other tenants. When situations like this arise, evictions may be the inevitable option. That is why it’s essential to know the eviction laws in Georgia and the landlord-tenant laws, to help you handle the process smoothly.

What Is the Eviction Process in Georgia?

In Georgia, it can take an average of one to three months to evict a tenant. The duration of the eviction lawsuit depends on the type of eviction the landlord files. This can also vary depending on whether tenants file a counterappeal. If tenants choose to file this appeal, the Georgia eviction process may take longer than usual.

Notice for Lease Termination with Legal Cause

rent payments A Georgia landlord can evict a tenant for a variety of reasons, such as:
  • When the tenant fails to pay the rent.
  • When the tenant violates the rental agreement, including illegal activity.
  • When the tenant remains at the rental property even without a lease agreement or after the term of the lease has ended.
When the rent is past due, a written or verbal notice should be provided to a tenant that they may be evicted. The law doesn’t specify how many days the tenant should be given in the written eviction notice before starting the Georgia eviction proceedings. In Georgia, rent is considered past due if it remains unpaid the day after the due date. If a landlord provides a grace period, this should be indicated in the lease agreement. A Georgia landlord may begin the process if the tenant doesn't pay the rent by the end of the notice time period. If the reason for eviction is a violation of lease or rental agreement terms, Georgia landlords should provide written notice without allowing a tenant to correct the lease violation. As Georgia law does not specify how much time should be given to a tenant, you can begin with the Georgia eviction process if the property remains unvacated after the proper notice period expires. If the tenant stays in the rental property even after the lease has ended, the landlord may give notice to renters before the eviction. A landlord is required to provide at least 60 days’ notice to “at-will” or holdover tenants before starting the eviction process. The landlord may proceed with filing an eviction lawsuit if the tenant remains on the property after the notice period ends.

Serving a Tenant with an Eviction Notice in Georgia

In Georgia, a landlord should give a tenant a notice to quit before starting the eviction procedure. Georgia law does not specify the notice period for nonpayment of rent and violation of lease terms. But a landlord should provide “at-will” or a hold-over tenant with at least 60 days’ notice before the eviction process. Landlords are required to file a dispossessory warrant in the appropriate court—a filing fee ranging from $60 to $75 is charged. eviction process

Tenant Eviction Defenses in Georgia

If a landlord proceeds with an eviction process, a tenant will likely look to dispute it. A tenant may claim that:
  • The landlord doesn’t provide or stop providing essential amenities like electricity and water.
  • Their landlord changed the locks.
  • The eviction was due to discriminatory reasons and a breach of the Fair Housing Act, such as against the tenant’s race, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, or family status.
  • The eviction was retaliatory because the tenant requested necessary repairs, and the landlord failed to comply.
  • The landlord filed an eviction case within three months after the tenant joined a tenant organization.
All of which, are suitable legal defenses in an eviction lawsuit. Bear in mind, that in this case, you may need to resolve any issues with the security deposit.

Attending a Court Hearing in Georgia

Under Georgia law, there is no specific timeline on how soon an eviction hearing must be held after filing the warrant with the court. Typically, this schedule will depend on the hearing schedule of the trial court. A tenant’s failure to respond to the complaint or appear for the hearing means a default judgment will be issued by the court in favor of the landlord. This also means that the tenant will be required to move out. If the court rules in favor of the landlord at the eviction hearing, it will issue a writ of possession, and the eviction will begin. To avoid all this, a tenant can appeal the judgment within seven days. county court

Writ of Possession

If the landlord wins the eviction case, a writ of possession will be issued within seven days after the judgment. The writ of possession will serve as the tenant’s final notice to vacate the rental premises. This notice will allow them to remove their belongings and leave the property in peace.

The Eviction

If the tenant remains on the premises even after the writ is issued, the sheriff will forcibly remove them and the possession of the property will then be returned to the landlord. Georgia law doesn’t indicate how soon a constable or sheriff should act on a writ of possession after it has been issued by the court. The actual eviction could take a few days to a few weeks, depending on how busy the officers are with other evictions.

Bottom Line

Handling a troubled tenant is one of the major reasons why many real estate investors are scared to invest in rental properties. However, property owners can opt to hire a property management firm to handle an eviction process when needed. Working with a reliable property management company like us at Rent Appeal can help minimize the problems landlords have to face.