UPDATED: February 13, 2020
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Georgia landlords can evict any tenant so long as Georgia law is followed. There are three bases for eviction in Georgia: non-payment of rent, failure to give up the premises at the end of the lease, and breach of the lease or the rules in it (but only if the lease provides for termination in the event of such a breach). To evict a tenant, a landlord must go through Georgia procedures - he or she cannot force a tenant out without taking the proper measures.
Georgia Termination Notice
Before filing for eviction (dispossessory action), Georgia landlords must first demand that the tenant vacate the rental property. It is only when the tenant refuses to leave and refuses to remedy the situation that caused the breach that the landlord can file a dispossessory action.
If a landlord wishes to end a tenancy earlier than the lease allows, he or she may do so by serving the tenant with an appropriate notice. This notice is called "demand of possession" in Georgia. In many states, the landlord must give the tenant written notice, but in Georgia, the landlord can merely tell the tenant on the phone or to her face. If you have a tenancy-at-will, or month to month, you have to give your tenant 60 days notice to leave.
In Georgia, evictions are usually handled by the Magistrate Courts (they are the most accessible courts to people who do not have lawyers). Your local Magistrate Court can be found at the Georgia Council of Magistrate page. Some of the county sites may have forms available for you to fill out, but if not, they are available at the main Georgia civil forms site. A dispossessory action may also be filed with the municipal, civil, state or superior court. Remember that while it may seem simple to fill out a form and magically evict your problem tenant, sometimes events do not unfold as smoothly as you had hoped. If you are unsure of the termination and/or eviction process at any point, you may wish to hire or consult a Georgia landlord or tenant attorney. When choosing an attorney, make sure to refer to the Questions to Ask Your Georgia Evictions Lawyer below.
Self-Help Evictions in Georgia
Self-help eviction is not legal in Georgia. If a landlord so much as shuts off the utilities, the tenant may be able to sue for as much as $500 (O.C.G.A. ï¿½ 44-7-14.1).
Questions to Ask Your Georgia Evictions Lawyer
- How many evictions cases have you handled?
- How many were successful/unsuccessful?
- How long will the eviction process take?
- For tenants: How long do I have before I MUST move out?
- For landlords: Will I be able to get a judgment for back rent for the amount of time the tenant has been living in the rental property illegally?
- What do you charge?
- For landlords: If I hire you, will I be subject to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)?