It is a 6-step process and begins by providing notice to the tenant.
1) Notice is posted to correct the issue or vacate the property. Known as “Notice To Quit”
• You do need to include several pieces of information within that notice:
- Tenant’s full name and address of rental.
- The date the eviction notice was served to the renter.
- The reason for the eviction notice.
- The total amount of overdue rent.
- The specific period, so the amount of time, the tenant
must pay rent or eviction proceedings will commence (that timing is up to you and is not specified by Georgia law)
- A statement indicated how the eviction notice was served to the renter.
Most common reasons for eviction: Nonpayment of rent, Violation of lease terms, no lease or end of lease has come and gone. To clarify, rent is late the day after rent is due. If you have a grace period built into the lease, you’ll want to honor that. Additionally for tenants remaining after the lease ends, you must give 60 days’ notice prior to taking action.
2) If “uncured”, meaning the tenant neither resolves the issue, be it by paying rent in full, or remedying a violation, and they do not vacate, then the complaint is filed and served. If there is a lease violation, you do not HAVE to give the tenant the opportunity to fix that issue before evicting but you still must give the eviction notice. To file, you must go to the courthouse to file the appropriate paperwork. Notice will then be served either by the Sheriff or a process server.
3) Answer. Tenants must respond after being served within 7 days. If they DO NOT respond, the court will issue a default judgement in favor of the landlord and the tenant will not be allowed to go to a court hearing. If they DO answer the notice, the court will schedule a hearing and the tenant will be allowed to explain their side and why they shouldn’t be evicted.
4) Court hearing and judgement. The court will schedule the hearing based on how busy their schedule is. If the tenant does not appear, the court will issue that default judgement and they will be required to move out. If ruled in landlord’s favor, a writ of possession will be issued and the eviction will proceed. A tenant has 7 days to appeal the judgement in order to avoid eviction.
5) Writ of possession. If judgement is ruled in the landlord’s favor, this is the tenant’s final notice to vacate the rental, giving them an opportunity to remove their belongings voluntarily before they are forcibly removed by the Sheriff.
6) Possession is returned. Once writ of possession is received from the court, it can take the Sheriff’s office a few days, up to a few weeks to remove the tenant, depending on the Sheriff’s schedule.
The total eviction process can take anywhere from 1-3 months.
DO NOT attempt to evict the tenant on your own. That means, do not show up at the house with the intention of making them leave, not only can this be dangerous, it is illegal. Additionally, you cannot change the locks or shut off utilities in hoping to force them out. Use the court system that is at your disposal to property evict a tenant.
If you have any additional questions about property management services, please visit our website or give us a call today. I look forward to hearing from you.
*We are not attorneys and cannot provide legal advice. Always contact an attorney if you are unsure of how to proceed or you have additional questions regarding the eviction process.