Evictions Georgia
Georgia Evictions

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FILING AN EVICTION - Georgia
As in most states, the basis for evicting a tenant in Georgia include:
  • Non-payment of rent,
  • Failure to surrender the premises at the end of the lease term, or
  • Breach of the lease, including any rules that are part of the lease, if the lease provides such breach entitles the landlord to terminate the lease.

The Georgia Eviction Process

Before contacting the court to initiate eviction proceedings, the landlord should read the lease and be familiar with its provisions and comply with its terms regarding notice and termination. Once the terms of the lease have been followed, Georgia law requires a landlord to go through court to remove a tenant.

First, before going to court, the landlord must demand that the tenant immediately give up possession and vacate. 

This demand is best made in writing. If the tenant refuses or fails to give up possession, the landlord or the landlord's agent or attorney must go to the magistrate court and file a dispossessory affidavit under oath. The affidavit states:
  • The name of the landlord,
  • The name of the tenant,
  • The grounds for the eviction,
  • Verifies that the landlord has demanded possession of the property and has been refused

  • The amount of rent or other money owed, if any.

The magistrate court will issue a summons to the sheriff where the property is located. There are three ways in which the summons can be served:

  • Delivered personally to the tenant at home;
  • If the tenant is not home, it will be delivered to an adult who resides at the home and understands the importance of the summons; or

  • The summons will be tacked on the door of the home and on the same day sent by first class mail to the tenant's address. This type of service is appropriate only if no one is at home when the sheriff attempts personal service.

The summons requires the tenant to answer either orally or in writing within seven (7) days from the date that the summons is served. If the seventh day is a Saturday, Sunday, or a legal holiday, the answer is required the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or a legal holiday. The summons should indicate the last day to file an answer and the court in which the answer should be filed.

If the tenant fails to respond at the end of the seventh day, as listed on the summons, the lawsuit is in default. The court can then grant the landlord a writ of possession and the sheriff can remove the tenant immediately.

If the tenant answers the summons, a trial of the issues will be held in accordance with the procedures of the appropriate court. The tenant is allowed to remain in possession of the premises. The landlord may request that the court order the tenant to pay rent into the registry of the court. If payment is ordered, non-payment of rent into the registry could result in the court issuing a writ of possession and the tenant becoming subject to eviction.

Once an answer has been filed, and a hearing has been held, the court will issue its decision. If the court rules for the landlord, the tenant will be ordered to move after ten days and may be ordered to pay the past due rent. After July 1, 1998, a tenant has only seven (7) days to move.

If the dispossessory warrant was served by tack and mail, and the tenant did not file an answer, the court may not award rent or other damages to the landlord. The court can still order the tenant to move.

Today I received a dispossessory affidavit because I failed to pay my rent the first of the month. I now have money to pay my rent. 

A tenant whose landlord has filed a dispossessory affidavit because of non-payment of rent may be able to avoid being evicted by paying all that the landlord alleges is due plus court costs. This amount should be stated on the dispossessory summons served on the tenant. The tenant must offer payment within seven (7) days of receiving the summons. The landlord is required to accept such payment from the tenant only once in a twelve month period.

If a landlord refuses to accept an offer of tender, the tenant should file an answer to the dispossessory affidavit stating that tender was offered, but refused. After July 1, 1998, if a court finds that a landlord refused a proper tender, the court can order the landlord to accept payment of rent, late fees and court costs and require that the landlord allow the tenant to remain in possession, if the payment is made within three days of the court's order. If the court finds that the landlord refused a proper tender and orders the landlord to accept payment, that payment will not count as use of the tender defense which can only be used once every twelve months.

Disclaimer: Eviction Laws in your state may change and there may be times when information on this web site may not be current. This information is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. This website is not a substitute for advice from an attorney. ADDITIONAL LAWS MAY APPLY IN YOUR JURISDICTION. FIND EVICTION LAWYERS IN YOUR STATE

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