• When the Sheriff Comes Calling: A Look at Evictions

    In many states a landlord has to follow specific procedures and meet precise deadlines before a tenant can be evicted for failing to pay the rent or for other violations of the lease.  

    Not so in Georgia.

    Georgia’s Landlord/Tenant Eviction Rules

    In Georgia, if you are a tenant, you had better make certain to pay your rent and to pay it on time.

    Because in Georgia, if a landlord wants to evict a tenant for nonpayment of rent, there is no specified time he must give the tenant before starting eviction proceedings. Similarly, when it comes to evicting tenants for nonpayment of rent, a Georgia landlord does not need to provide written notice of the failure to pay rent.

    What this means is that if, for example, a tenant is 1 day late in paying his rent, the landlord could simply give the tenant verbal notice of the failure to pay and of his intent to evict. Then, if the tenant refuses to pay or cannot pay, the landlord can have him evicted.

    To give you an idea how fast this could go, under Georgia law if no date is specified in the lease, rent is due on the 1st of each month. If, for example, a tenant did not pay rent on day 1, the landlord could call him up and give him notice of the overdue rent on day 2, and if the rent remained unpaid on day 3, the landlord could start eviction proceedings.

    Now, is that the way a landlord should handle the situation or the way most landlords do handle it?

    No, of course not.

    The best practice is for a landlord to give a delinquent tenant written notice, properly served on the tenant informing him that the rent is overdue, giving the tenant 3 days to pay rent or quit. Then, if after the 3 days has elapsed, the tenant still has not paid or gotten out, the landlord can start eviction proceedings.

    Bear in mind, however, that there are a number of other requirements that go into this. For example, before eviction proceedings can be brought, the tenant must refuse to pay or be unable to pay the rent after notice has been given. Also, a landlord must have a court order before he can evict a tenant from the premises.

    Another point to keep in mind if you are a tenant is that although Georgia law does not provide any specific rules the landlord must follow to properly serve a tenant with notice of eviction proceedings, the law gives a tenant  7 days in which to pay the rent after being given notice of eviction proceedings. Also, even if eviction proceedings have been started, if the tenant pays within that timeframe, the eviction cannot go forward.

    Georgia’s landlord/tenant laws are not like those in most of the other states in the nation. Which is why you should always consult with experienced Georgia real estate counsel if you have a legal issue in this area of law.

    Put Our Experience To Work for You.

    If you have a landlord/tenant or other real estate issue, contact us. With over 30 years’ of experience in real estate, we can help you with all your real estate needs. We serve clients in Atlanta, and in a number of counties throughout Georgia, including: Clayton County, Cobb County, Dekalb County, Douglas County, Fulton County, and Paulding County, among others.  To schedule your free phone consultation, call us at: 770-888-7707. Or you can contact us here.

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