As with most states, the eviction process in Georgia commences when one or all of the following conditions exist: the tenant ceases to make timely and complete rental payments, the lease is not renewed but the tenant refuses to depart the premises, or the tenant violates one or more of the lease provisions. Since any or all of these prerequisites are open to dispute, the Peach State codifies a procedure by which landlords must abide.
Removal of a tenant from the rental unit involves a sequence of actions, beginning with a Georgia note to vacate. This is the essential first step.
Notice of Termination with Cause
If the unit resident is withholding monthly remittances or otherwise defying the terms of the lease contract, the landlord or property administrator must alert the tenant with written notification of intent to evict. A component to this letter ordinarily sets the provisions for avoiding removal, i.e. tells the tenant how to resume compliance and avoid forced expulsion from the property. These could include payment of the amount in arrears, getting rid of an unauthorized pet or repairing damage that exceeds any deposit.
A deadline for compliance should also appear. It is advisable to send such notice by means of certified mail or direct delivery.
Notice of Termination without Cause
A tenant is also subject to eviction through no fault of his or her own. Within certain legal parameters, a property owner has the right to utilize the premises for self-interested purposes; this means that after a lease period expires, the landlord can ask, or tell, a tenant to leave. Legitimate reasons could be a plan to remodel the unit or a lessor's refusal to pay a higher rent under a new rental agreement. In this case, the property management should issue a 60-day notice to vacate the property well in advance of lease expiration.
The Georgia eviction notice template is widely available online at sites like eforms.com. Review the decision to evict without cause with an attorney in order to confirm no exposure to civil rights or fair housing law penalties.
Some residents may occupy units as tenants at will. This refers to a mutual decision by landlord and tenant that the latter will leave when either party sees fit to end the occupancy. Even in this instance, the property owner should send out a Georgia tenant at will 60-day notice of termination. Even though this measure is not required when a tenant is month-to-month, it benefits landlords if a tenant contests eviction on the grounds of insufficient warning.
Tenant Responses to Notification
A renter can choose to contest an eviction on a number of grounds so landlords should take pains to limit their legal exposure. Evictions on the basis of non-payment can be countered with a charge of inadequate maintenance or some form of discrimination. Property managers should be prepared to document their activities regarding any and all lease obligations. Tenants should also know their rights.
That said, a Georgia landlord must receive an explicit refusal to vacate by the tenant, orally or in writing, before initiating dispossession proceedings with the county magistrate court. Once the necessary affidavits are filed by the owner, the resident has seven calendar days to answer the court summons. At the scheduled hearing, the tenant can opt to challenge the action.
If the lessor chooses not to appear, the court would ordinarily rule in favor of the landlord. Following this decision, the county sheriff's department is charged with removing the resident from the premises.
Adam Luehrs is a writer during the day and a voracious reader at night. He focuses mostly on finance writing and has a passion for real estate, credit card deals, and investing.