Eviction Process and Laws in Georgia

by KC Hernandez ; Updated July 27, 2017

Few landlords and fewer tenants want to find themselves in eviction court. For Georgia landlords, it entails considerable time and expense to follow the state's strict, but relatively quick, eviction process. For renters, it means moving out or going to court to fight the eviction. Notices, judgments and time frames vary by case and your particular situation. Consult an attorney or other legal-aid resource for advice, and to further understand the eviction process and laws in Georgia.

State Eviction Process In A Nutshell

A landlord must give a Georgia tenant proper notice to move, also known as a notice to vacate, before initiating the eviction process. Landlords can ask tenants to move at the end of a rental agreement or for breaking a lease provision -- the most common being payment of rent. Should a tenant overstay the notice time frame -- usually 30, 60 or 90 days -- or fail to respond to the notice, the landlord can file an affidavit to initiate an eviction lawsuit. The eviction process in Georgia is also known as a dispossessory proceeding. The court then decides whether the eviction is valid and renders a decision in favor of the landlord or tenant.

Lawful Reasons for Eviction

A landlord generally doesn't need to provide a reason for asking a tenant to move out once a lease has expired or they provide the correct amount of notice. Committing a crime on the premises, such as drug-related activity, housing an unauthorized tenant or pet in the rental, or failing to pay rent on time more than one once in the past year are some reasons a landlord may lawfully ask a tenant to leave and pursue eviction during a lease.

Tips

  • A landlord can give as little as three days' notice to a tenant who has not paid rent.

Removing Tenants for the Wrong Reasons

Unlawful reasons for evicting a tenant include:

  • Discrimination per the federal Fair Housing Act and the Georgia Fair Housing Act. 
  • Locking a tenant out or shutting off utilities, or self-help methods
  • A tenant's requests for necessary repairs, especially repairs for damage not caused by the tenant that affect habitability

A tenant who fights and wins an illegal eviction case in court may remain in the rental unit and receive damages from the landlord.

Overstaying an Eviction

State law allows local officials to forcibly remove evicted tenants when they overstay an eviction order. A writ of possession specifies the amount of time a tenant has to move and remove possessions from the rental unit after eviction. Tenants can have between two and ten days to vacate, depending on whether they responded to the landlord's eviction summons.

About the Author

K.C. Hernandez has covered real estate topics since 2009. She is a licensed real estate salesperson in San Diego since 2004. Her articles have appeared in community newspapers but her work is mostly online. Hernandez has a Bachelor of Arts in English from UCLA and works as the real estate expert for Demand Media Studios.