Tenant Evictions in Georgia – Part 2: The Eviction Process
Welcome to Part Two of our blog series on evictions. In this particular blog, we will talk about the basic process in the state of Georgia when you’re filing an eviction. There are laws to follow when it comes to getting possession of a property. We can’t just kick the tenants out or turn off the utilities. The court process must be followed.
Three Day Letter
Follow the terms of your lease. Give your tenants notice that they must vacate within a certain amount of time. It doesn’t have to be in writing, but it should be. Send a Three Day Letter by mail or email. It demands possession of the property. You’re giving tenants the option to voluntarily give up the property. If they don’t give up the property, confirm they are still there and then file for possession through the court.
Dispossessory Filing under Oath
When you file in your local county court, you need to provide information about the property and why you are filing. Include any rent that is owed as well as the court fees. Then, the court will serve the tenant with a tack and mail. They post the notice on the door and mail what you have submitted. This is the court’s official notification that the eviction process is starting. The tenants then have seven days to respond. If they file an answer, we receive a court date. If they don’t file an answer, we have the right to file for a Writ of Possession. This is required in Georgia to get possession back, unless the tenant returns the keys to us. Without a response from the tenant, you can get possession quickly.
Appearing in Court
If the tenants do answer, you will get a court date. The tenant has the opportunity to be heard by the judge and explain why the lease shouldn’t terminate. You can wait for the judge’s decision, or you can sign a consent order. In this case, the tenant wants to stay and you can agree to accept the rent. You will lay out a payment plan with specific dates. This prevents the full formal eviction from going through, which is helpful for both parties.
Writ of Possession
If the judge rules in your favor in court, the tenant will have about seven days to leave the property. In those seven days, you can accept rent money and allow them to stay. Otherwise, you’ll go through with the eviction process. If the tenant doesn’t leave by the seventh day, you’ll have to file for a Writ of Possession, which will be signed by the judge. Then, it goes to the Marshall’s office. The Marshall will set out the tenant and any belongings that remain in the property. You cannot do this yourself. The Marshall will need to be there, and you’ll have to show up with a crew of four or six people, depending on the county.