What is the Eviction Process in Georgia
In the state of Georgia, landlords are allowed to evict tenants who are late in paying their rent. They may also be able to evict tenants that violate their lease in other ways as well. Landlords must give their tenant a notice that the rent is due before the eviction process can begin. The tenant must also refuse to pay the rent, or have an inability to pay rent, before a lawsuit to file for an eviction can be filed by the court.
When Is Rent Considered Due?
Georgia landlord/tenant law considers the first of the month as the due date for any rent. Landlords may stipulate other dates within the text of the lease. If no specific payment date is listed in the lease, the rent is considered due by the first. Whatever day the rent is due, if it remains unpaid by the end of the day, the landlord can issue a notice for payment due at the beginning of the day after the deadline. Unlike other states, Georgia has no set amount of time that a landlord must give a tenant in order to pay their rent or move out of the property. It's considered a legal best practice to wait at least 3 days before filing a lawsuit to show the court that the tenant has been given time to pay the rent or move out of the apartment, but legally this is not necessary. The lawsuit can be filed the day after the notice is given. This means rent that is missed on May 1, which gets a notice for late rent on May 2, can have an eviction lawsuit filed on May 3.
Eviction Notices Do Not Need to Be Written
Georgia does not require landlords to give their tenants a written notice of eviction. The landlord can simply tell their tenant that they will begin the eviction proceedings unless rent is paid or the tenant moves out. It is considered a legal best practice to provide a written notice, however, because it gives the landlord proof that they provided the tenant with some specific information about their actions which led to the eviction notice. This also prevents one tenant being notified of an eviction, but not other adult tenants, which could complicate the legal eviction process. Georgia landlords should put the name of all the tenants on any written notice and place the date the notice was served. It should also include the following information.
- The specific reason for the eviction.
- If the eviction is for overdue rent, it must include the specific amount that is past due, what late fees are also required, and where that amount should be paid.
- How the tenant can rectify the situation to remove the notice.
There should also be some sort of statement regarding how the tenant was notified of their lease violation. This would include a hand-delivered note plus a copy being sent via certified mail, through e-mail, or other delivery notices.
How Does a Tenant Need To Be Notified of an Eviction Notice?
Georgia does not require landlords to follow a specific set of guidelines when it comes to tenant communication regarding an eviction. It is generally just considered a best practice to deliver the notice in a method that can be proven in court if need be. This may include personal delivery, posting the notice in a place on the rental unit where it will be seen, or using certified or registered mail. In extreme cases, a process server may also be used to verify that the eviction notice was properly delivered. In return, tenants have a minimum of 7 days to rectify the notice, even though court proceedings may have already been initiated. If tenants pay overdue rent within 7 days of the notice, landlords are forced to stop all eviction proceedings immediately. If the tenant decides to move out instead, landlords are allowed under Georgia law to use the security deposit to cover unpaid rent. If the tenant does not move out and the court finds the eviction proceedings to be valid, then a court order will be issued for the eviction. Landlords cannot remove tenants without a court order. Changing locks or shutting off the utilities is an illegal action that will harm the eviction proceedings. Georgia is a unique state in that it does not have many rules outlined for landlords to follow when it comes to evicting a problematic tenant. As long as the best practices are followed and illegal eviction methods are not attempted, the process can be completed rather quickly
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